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I love TV commercials. I laugh at some and groan at others, but I study them to see the techniques companies use to ply their wares. One commercial in particular struck me recently. It advertises a website that claims it can save you money on car insurance. The actor says, if I recall correctly, that U.S. drivers overspend by $21 billion a year on insurance.

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The Volkswagen Atlas has the lowest starting price of any midsize three-row SUV. On top of that, it currently maintains a strong fourth place in Edmunds’ rankings thanks to its spacious interior, comfortable demeanor and quiet ride. Power and fuel economy with either available engine leave something to be desired, but overall the Atlas is good enough to overcome those flaws.

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In a wide-ranging keynote presentation that addressed everything from the practical to the fantastical — a single-seat drone aircraft was shown in a concept video — General Motors outlined its plans to accelerate the production of electric vehicles across a full spectrum of brands.

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Q: Tim, I think I’ve got a good idea. I’m re-roofing two of my barns with metal roofing. I was thinking of extending the roof past the walls 18 inches so dripping water falls farther away from the barn walls. Right now I’ve got gutters and I’m tired of them clogging up with leaves and debris. What is the best practice when it comes to gutters or no gutters? What about sizes for both gutters and downspouts? What would you do if you were me? —Carol K., Mio, Mich.

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The original Hummer and its offshoots, the H2 and H3, weren’t exactly eco-minded machines. That makes the new all-electric GMC Hummer EV a bit of a surprise. GMC promises that the Hummer EV will be plenty capable off-road without burning a single ounce of gasoline getting there and back thanks to its touted 350 miles of electric range.

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Have your roof and siding inspected and make any necessary repairs. Prevention could save you a lot of money in the long run.

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QUESTION: Mr. Tim, I’ve had three contractors over to my house and I’ve received three different answers about how my bathroom fan should exhaust. I’m beyond frustrated. How are we homeowners supposed to protect our largest investments, our homes, if maintenance advice is wrong? I’ve read online about serious mold and wood-rot problems caused by bath fans. I’m confident you’ll be able to give me the correct answer. I only wish you lived in my town so I might bump into you for advice at the grocery store from time to time! Sharon P., Evanston, IL

Broadcasting Events

"Heartland Docs, DVM," which follows the lives of Hartington veterinarians Erin and Ben Schroeder, premieres Saturday at 9 p.m. CST on the National Geographic Wild cable channel. In addition to nursing local critters back to health, the couple have restored a number of aging buildings in Hartington into showplaces.

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When they’re not worrying about the weight of their designs, auto engineers fuss over aerodynamics. Improvements to how your car cuts through the air bear fruit most at high speeds — highway miles. The most common way drivers hurt their aerodynamics, and thus mileage, is by putting items on the roof.

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