Don’t Let Your Thanksgiving Weekend Road Trip be a Turkey

November 15, 2016

One way to ensure you will get to dinner in time for turkey on Thanksgiving weekend is by making sure that the vehicle you will be driving is running well. A 10-minute pre-trip check is small potatoes compared to a big helping of inconvenience if you break down many miles away from home, according to the Car Care Council.

“A Thanksgiving pre-trip inspection helps reduce the chance of costly and possibly dangerous on the road trouble. It also provides an opportunity to have repairs done by one’s own technician locally who knows the vehicle,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Especially important, it provides peace of mind. While no inspection can guarantee a car’s performance, it’s comforting to know proper precautions were taken to avoid a ‘turkey’ of a weekend.”

The Car Care Council suggests the following 10-minute checkup to help ensure vehicle safety and reliability on Thanksgiving, when millions of Americans take to the roads to visit family and friends:

• Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.

• Check the hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.

• Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.

• Check lighting to identify any problems with exterior and interior lighting as the chance of an accident increases if you can’t see or be seen.

• Check wipers. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months. Make sure the windshield wipers are working properly and keep the reservoir filled with solvent.

The Car Care Council also recommends that motorists restock their emergency kit. To save on fuel costs during the trip, the council suggests that motorists avoid aggressive driving, observe the speed limit and avoid excessive idling. Gas caps that are damaged, loose or missing should be replaced to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.

Daylight Savings Time Ends November 6th, Check Vehicle Lights

October 26, 2016

The end of Daylight Savings Time happens in most parts of the United States on Sunday, November 6th and creates unfamiliar driving conditions that can be hazardous without proper vehicle lighting. The Car Care Council recommends vehicle lights be checked before the clocks “fall back” to help ensure safe driving, especially during dusk and peak evening traffic hours.

A vehicle’s lighting system includes headlights (high and low beam), parking lights, turn signals/emergency flashers, brake lights, tail and marker lights, backup lights, interior lights and instrumentation lighting. Some vehicles are also equipped with fog lights.

Headlights should also be periodically cleaned of mud and muck, and properly aimed according to procedures outlined in the owner’s manual. Headlights can be knocked out of alignment by rough driving, and if not properly aimed, can be distracting to other drivers.

Vehicle inspections during National Car Care Month in the United States have shown lighting to be an often neglected maintenance item, with 8 percent of vehicles inspected needing work on at least one of their turn signals, and 6 percent having problems with at least one of their brake lights.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information or to receive a copy of the council’s new Car Care Guide for motorists, visit http://www.carcare.org.

Does Your Car Sound Haunted?

October 19, 2016

Halloween is the time of year for squeals, squeaks, screeches and things that go bump in the night, but when these eerie and haunted sounds come from your car, it’s time for maintenance. Noise is to the vehicle what pain is to the body: a warning. According to the Car Care Council, the following strange and scary noises are clues that trouble is brewing within your car and that it should be checked out by an automotive repair technician.

•Squeal: A sharp noise that usually means a problem with the brakes or the power steering, fan or air conditioning belt. The entire brake system should be checked every year, including brake linings, rotors and drums. Belts should be inspected every three months or 3,000/5,000 miles.

•Screech: A sound typically caused by brake wear indicators that tell you it’s time for maintenance. Brakes are a normal wear item for any car and eventually they’re going to need to be replaced for both performance and safety reasons.

•Squeaks: A number of things can cause squeaks, including belts, the water pump or alternator bearings or a pulley. Belts should be replaced when cracked, frayed, glazed or showing signs of excessive wear. And water pumps, tensioners, idlers and alternators all have bearings that can fail and “squeak,” all of which should be checked.

•Bang: A backfire, which can be caused by lean air/fuel ratio, an ignition malfunction and/or a mechanical failure.

•Grinding (a metal-on-metal grating noise): A sound that is related to the brake linings. The brake system is your car’s most important safety system and needed repairs should never be put off.

•Heavy knock: A pounding sound that is usually connecting rod or main bearing failures which are caused by excessive wear.

•Thump: A sound that usually means there’s a problem with the tires. To maximize tire life and safety, check tire condition and inflation pressure every three months or 3,000 miles, and have the tires rotated and balanced.

•Clang: Gears will make a “clanging” noise when there is excessive “lash” (movement generally describes as “play”). It’s the kind of noise that accompanies one component being allowed to move because of excessive play and the abrupt halt it comes to when encountering the resistance of the part that didn’t move when it was supposed to.

•Metallic ticking: Also often associated with excessive play in valve train components.

“These are just some of the many noises a vehicle makes when there’s a problem, but whenever there’s an unusual sound, it’s a good idea to have the car looked at to ensure safety and reliability and to help prevent costly repairs down the road,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information, visit http://www.carcare.org.

10 Tips On Getting The Best Possible Oil Change

October 7, 2016

Getting an oil change on your car according to the maintenance schedule specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual is probably the single best thing you can do to maintain its longevity. Otherwise, in a very short time, you may have to say ‘goodbye’ to what may be your second largest investment.

However, all oil changes are not alike. And whether you do it yourself or have it done for you by a professional, the same rules will apply.

So how can you make sure that your vehicle gets the best possible oil change? Simply follow the tips outlined below.

1. Allow your vehicle’s engine to warm up fully. Once an engine is warmed up completely, all the dirt particles and contaminants that settled at the bottom of the oil pan when the engine was off get churned up and suspended in the oil. This will ensure that most of the contaminants get removed when the oil is drained. In other words, they will be drained out with the old oil.

2. Make sure the vehicle is level when the oil is being drained. This enables the old, dirty oil to drain out as completely as possible.

3. Examine the waste oil as it is draining into the pan – look and feel. Look for signs of contamination such as water because with every drain, water will settle at the bottom of the pan. Also, feel for bits of metal which could suggest internal engine problems. You may not have noticed the last time you took your car in for an oil change but a good mechanic normally will run his fingers through the oil while it is draining to ‘feel’ for grit, metal and other contaminants that signal possible engine problems.

4. Remove and inspect the old filter carefully. Most modern cars use a spin-on oil filter. Spin-on oil filters were invented in 1955 by Purolator, today, the supplier of high quality oil, air, cabin air, fuel and transmission filters as well as PCV valves and breathers to the North American aftermarket and car manufacturers. http://www.purolatorautofilters.net. Most important, when removing the filter, make sure that the gasket sealing ring comes off with the filter. If it does not, use your fingernail to pry it loose and remove it.

5. Now choose your new filter carefully. Select one that has been manufactured by a company widely known for the quality and efficiency of its filtration products like Purolator for example. Purolator has been in the business for the last 90 years since it introduced the first automotive filter in 1923.

“The performance of a filter is determined by its efficiency in capturing contaminants and its capacity to hold that debris,” said Kevin O’Dowd, spokesman for MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters. Purolator’s premium grade PureONE oil filter, for example, is 99.9 percent efficient and can hold up to 13 grams of debris, the equivalent of 31 standard size paper clips. Purolator Classic oil filter, on the other hand, according to O’Dowd, features a multi-fiber high-density media that holds back engine-damaging dirt and pollutants and is 97.5 percent efficient in capturing contaminants. Where applicable, both filters also feature an anti-drainback valve that protects against engine dry stars.

6. Install the filter properly. Make sure to coat the sealing ring with fresh motor oil and install it hand tight only. Purolator PureONE’s unique 100 percent grip control feature keeps fingers from slipping and makes installation trouble-free at any angle. Additionally, its PTFE-treated sealing gasket makes removal and installation easy and problem-free. Purolator Classic features an internally lubricated Nitrile gasket that makes filter removal easier.

7. Choose the correct grade of new oil. Oil is the lifeblood of the engine and choosing the appropriate grade will ensure proper performance. Refer to your owner’s manual for the correct service designation. It will be specified as an API (American Petroleum Institute) rating. If you happen to be working on a vehicle with a diesel engine, then remember it requires oil that is specifically formulated for diesel service and has a separate API rating. While there are pros and cons to using synthetic oil versus conventional oil, you can’t go wrong if you follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual.

8. Choose the correct viscosity or thickness of oil. It will vary by make and model of car and the climate in which the vehicle is operating. The viscosity of the oil will be specified in the owner’s manual as an SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) number. For example, a typical multi-grade oil is the 5W30. Choosing the proper thickness of oil can affect cold starting, engine protection and fuel economy. For example, 5W-30 oil chemically ‘acts’ like fairly thin 5 weight oil in cold weather to all for easier engine starts, yet ‘acts’ like thicker 30 weight oil when it’s hot to afford more protection under conditions in which you’d expect oil to get thinner as it gets hotter.

9. Use exactly the right amount of oil. Too much or too little can endanger the life of the vehicle’s engine parts one way or another. Over-filling can cause oil leaks and can damage engine seals and gaskets; having too little oil can cause friction and shorten engine life.

10. Invest a few dollars in buying a magnetic oil pan drain plug that can capture most of the potentially damaging metal particles that may collect in the oil pan.

A seemingly simple procedure like an oil change can potentially have major consequences for your car’s driving performance and longevity. So follow the rules and you will enjoy thousands of miles of driving pleasure.

October is Fall Car Care Month

September 26, 2016

As autumn descends, the Car Care Council would like to remind motorists of the many benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair. October is Fall Car Care Month and a great opportunity to make sure that your vehicle is ready for winter and up-to-date on all maintenance.

Taking time out to check on your vehicle’s condition is an important part of taking care of your second largest investment. Results of vehicle check-ups at community car care events across the country last year revealed that 80 percent of vehicles need service or parts.

“Small steps that motorists take today can go a long way toward improving the safety and reliability of their vehicles,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Regular car care can also help avoid costly repairs down the road, saving both time and money.”

In celebration of Fall Car Care month, many shops across the country will be holding free vehicle check-up events. To see if an event is being held near you, visit the Event Finder on the Car Care Council’s Web site at http://www.carcare.org/find-an-event.

Another way to celebrate Fall Car Care Month without even leaving home is to visit the Car Care Council’s free Car Care Guide online at http://www.carcare.org/car-care-guide. The guide includes information on service interval schedules, questions to ask your technician and how to increase your vehicle’s fuel economy to save money on gas.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information or to receive a copy of the council’s new Car Care Guide for motorists, visit http://www.carcare.org.

Happy Fall! Time to Think About Your Coolant

September 12, 2016

It’s the beginning of fall, and time to consider your coolant.

This is a good time to think about your engine cooling system. Regular inspections and pressure tests of your cooling system are of utmost importance, as is good maintenance by following the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended coolant change intervals.

As time passes, the protective anti-corrosive additives in the antifreeze break down and lose their effectiveness. But antifreeze has two other very important jobs as well:

• It is used to decrease the temperature at which the coolant freezes.

• It is used to raise the temperature at which the coolant will begin to boil.

It is also very important that the proper ratio of water to antifreeze is always maintained. Unless specified otherwise by the vehicle manufacturer, the coolant in most vehicles should consist of a mixture of 50% water and 50% antifreeze before being added to the cooling system. This 50/50 solution not only prevents freezing, but also preserves proper cooling properties.

Also concerning the antifreeze to water mixture ratio: adding more antifreeze to the mix (once again, unless otherwise specified by the vehicle manufacturer) to increase its percentage in the mixture is not better. Generally speaking, after the ratio exceeds more than about 65% antifreeze to 35% water, freeze protection can actually diminish, but even worse, heat dissipation can radically decrease, since the water is the primary substance used for this purpose. Antifreeze itself actually has fairly poor heat transfer characteristics. Having too much antifreeze in the mixture can actually cause engine overheating.

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org or visit http://bit.ly/cf7az8 to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society repair shop in your area. Visit http://bit.ly/9FxwTh to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Keep Your Cool in Hot Summer Cars

July 29, 2016

When it’s hot outside, one of the last places you want to be is sitting in traffic without a properly functioning air conditioning (A/C) system. To help avoid this uncomfortable situation, the Car Care Council recommends having your A/C system checked annually to make sure it is functioning at its peak performance level when the temperatures are soaring.

“Making sure your A/C system is working properly will give you the peace of mind knowing that your vehicle will keep you cool and safe when you hit the road this summer,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Not only are high temperatures harmful to the body with prolonged exposure, but they can provide unnecessary wear and tear on a vehicle.”

A vehicle’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning system (HVAC) keeps the interior cabin comfortable in any season by providing the right temperature and humidity level. Typical A/C service consists of the following steps:

•Service technician visually inspects hoses, lines, seals and other components for leaks as well as inspect the drive belt for cracks or damage.

•Technician checks pressures to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures.

•If the system is found to be low on refrigerant, a leak test is performed to find the source of the leak. Keep in mind that if your vehicle is leaking refrigerant, it is damaging the ozone layer.

•Refrigerant may be added if necessary to “top off” the system, although some states do not allow “topping off.”

•A technician may also check for evidence of refrigerant cross-contamination, which is the mixing of refrigerants.

•A/C service should also include a check of the compressor’s drive belt and tension.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information, visit http://www.carcare.org.

CDC Reports Asthma Cases On The Rise; Your Vehicle’s Cabin Air Filter Can Help

July 6, 2016

A study released recently by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the number of asthma cases in the U.S. is on the rise. Nearly ten percent of children and eight percent of the U.S. population at large are suffering from this potentially life-threatening disease. For those among us who confront this challenge on a daily basis, a clean and dust-free environment is imperative – whether it is in our homes, our offices … or even our cars.

While there are filters that purify the air inside homes and office buildings, many are surprised to learn that there are cabin air filters that are designed to keep the air inside our vehicles clean and fresh. With some two and a half million asthma sufferers, and millions more enduring allergy symptoms at this time of year, car owners and drivers should be aware that it’s very likely that their vehicle came factory-equipped with a filter that can remove allergens and particulates from the air that is being breathed in by the occupants.

“A cabin air filter is a simple device that fulfills an important function, especially when driving with the windows rolled up when the A/C or heating is turned on,” said Kevin O’Dowd, Director of Marketing & Communications for MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters, manufacturer and supplier of automotive filters to the North American aftermarket. “A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can actually cause the air inside the vehicle’s interior to be six times more polluted than the air outside.”

According to O’Dowd, “Replacing your vehicle’s cabin air filter regularly provides you with one more condition that can be controlled, especially when someone’s health is compromised. We are trying to educate motorists so they know their car has such a filter and remember to change it once each year.”

Changing the cabin air filter regularly in order to properly clean the air in the passenger compartment is especially important now that pollen is at its worst and motorists are increasingly driving with windows closed and the air conditioning on.

Marketed under the BreatheEasy brand, a new Purolator cabin air filter can capture and hold particles as small as a micron. A micron is a millionth of a meter. By way of comparison, a strand of human hair measures 30-200 microns, a grain of salt is 40-100 microns, bacteria is 0.2-20 microns, pollen is 10-80 microns and soot is 0.02-0.7 microns. Purolator BreatheEasy cabin air filters are electrostatically charged so they capture and retain small particles from entering your car. Consumers should look for this feature to ensure they are getting the most benefit for the filter

“A quality replacement cabin air filter can capture dirt, dust, pollen, fungus, bacteria, pet dander, mold spores, and more,” said O’Dowd. “All these are potentially unhealthy, even for people who are not allergic or asthmatic. Nobody wants to breathe these things, and automakers have designed systems to safely capture them. All the motorist need do is replace the filter every 12,000 to 18,000 miles or as recommended in the vehicle owner’s manual.”

Replacement filters are inexpensive and, in most cases, easily changed by the vehicle owner – even by those who are not mechanically inclined. In some cases, cabin air filters can be replaced in as little as five minutes. Cabin air filters are often located under or behind the vehicle’s glove box, usually with easy access. Most BreatheEasy cabin air filters include well-illustrated, vehicle-specific, step-by-step instructions for replacement. Even before purchasing a replacement filter, motorists can check the procedure for their specific vehicle by visiting http://www.BreatheEasyCabinFilters.com. This Web site also includes a series of informative videos that demonstrate the importance and ease of replacing cabin air filters.

“While breathing unhealthy air is simply inconvenient for some, it can be far more hazardous to the two and a half million asthma sufferers in the U.S,” said O’Dowd. “Fortunately safe and secure protection is both available and affordable.”

Also, available to everyone are the Purolator PROs—a team of experts who will answer any filter-related question from anyone, free of charge, via personal e-mail. Purolator PROs can be contacted through the Purolator Web site at http://www.purolatorautofilters.net. The Web site also includes a wealth of information on every type of automotive filter, including online part number look up, as well special deals and promotions.

For additional articles like this go to the Car Care News Service website.

Dad’s “Automotive Type” Helps Decide Father’s Day Gift

June 9, 2016

There are two types of fathers, those who work on their cars and those who don’t. Whether your dad is a do-it-yourselfer (DIY) or a Do-It-For-Me type (DIFM), consider an automotive gift for dad this Father’s Day.

Sixty-nine percent of male drivers work on their car, truck, mini van or SUV, according to the Car Care Council. Whether it’s light maintenance, like changing the oil and replacing the wiper blades, or heavier projects, such as replacing brakes, most dads enjoy taking care of their vehicles. Automotive accessories, tools, parts and products make ideal Father’s Day gifts.

“If Dad’s a do-it-yourselfer, a gift certificate from the local auto parts store would be appropriate,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “If he’s a do-it-for me, think about a gift certificate for an oil change or other service at his favorite repair shop.”

Everyone loves a clean car, so offer to clean and polish Dad’s vehicle yourself. Remember to use automotive washes and waxes, not dishwashing detergent from under the kitchen sink. This can harm the vehicle’s finish.

Visit http://www.carcarenewsservice.org for more content like this.

Heat, Not Cold, Shortens Battery Life

June 1, 2016

Here’s a hot tip about car batteries: Warm weather is the time for major car-battery problems. Heat, not cold, shortens battery life, says the Car Care Council. The average life of a battery is three and a half years, and even shorter in warmer climates.

Excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which damages the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate. That can mean a slow death for a battery.

Statistics from the National Car Care Month inspection campaign show battery cables, clamps and terminals needed maintenance in 13 percent of the vehicles and seven percent of the batteries were not properly held down.

To get the most life out of a battery, the Car Care Council suggests the following:
•Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.

•If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly, especially in hot weather. Add distilled water when necessary.

•Always replace a battery with one that’s rated at least as high as the one originally specified.

•Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers.

You can get a free service interval schedule at http://www.carcare.org.

Learn more at http://www.carcarenewsservice.org