Archive for the ‘Auto’ Category

Taking the Scare Out of Driving This Halloween

October 23, 2018

Driving on Halloween can be frightening for motorists, especially when little “ghouls” and “goblins” – out after dark and full of excitement – forget road safety rules or wear costumes or masks that limit their vision. To help ensure safety on a night reserved for fun, drive slowly, be extra careful when entering or exiting driveways or alleyways, and make sure your vehicle’s brake system works properly.

The vehicle’s brake system is its most critical safety item but brakes wear out and eventually need replacement. The factors that affect wear are driving habits, operating conditions, vehicle type and the quality of the brake lining material. Symptoms of brake problems include the following:

The car pulls to one side during braking;
The brake pedal pulsates when the brakes are applied;
The brake pedal feels “mushy;”
There is a noise when stepping on the brake pedal; and
There is a repeated need to add brake fluid to the master cylinder.
Drivers should also check the windshield wipers and windshield fluid, as well as the vehicle’s lights for maximum performance and visibility on Halloween.

Parents and adults should remind their trick-or-treaters to get out of cars on the curb side and not the traffic side, to stop at all corners and to use crosswalks. Children should look left, right and left again before crossing, stay on sidewalks, avoid crossing through yards and wear bright, reflective and flame retardant clothing.

“We can help keep young pedestrians safe on Halloween by checking the vehicle’s safety items, reminding children of basic safety rules and taking extra precautions when driving through neighborhoods.”

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.

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October is Fall Car Care Month

October 3, 2018

Fall Car Care Month is a great reminder to make sure that your vehicle is ready for winter and up-to-date on all maintenance and repair items.

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% of vehicles needed immediate service or parts.

Small steps that you take today can go a long way toward improving the safety and reliability of your vehicle. Regular car care can also help avoid costly repairs down the road, saving you both time and money.

In celebration of Fall Car Care month, many shops across the country will be holding free vehicle check-up events.

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. 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.

For more useful free content about vehicle maintenance, repair and enhancement visit the Car Care News Service website.

It’s Hot! Know Your A/C System to Stay Cool

August 6, 2018

When your car’s air conditioning fails, it can be more than a nuisance—it can become a health and safety matter. Most of us first notice an air conditioning problem when the car gets hot and muggy. But those with allergies can be quickly exposed to irritants when the windows are rolled down.

A cool passenger cabin has also been cited as a factor in keeping the driver alert.

Beyond just cooling the car, the vehicle’s air conditioning system is necessary for defogging the inside of the windows. Without it, the occupants can be at risk in bad weather.

The air conditioning system will give many hints that something isn’t right. Unusual noises, poor air flow, or blowing hot air instead of cold are all signs of a problem. Each problem could have different causes, perhaps a broken belt, a component failure, an electrical problem, or loss of the pressurized refrigerant.

It’s always best to take your car to a professional service provider who offers full system service and uses the proper tools to find the problem.

If the refrigerant is leaking, simply adding more won’t fix it! Refrigerant will continue to escape and the loss may cause other expensive damage as well. Why risk it? Additionally, today’s refrigerant (R-134a) is a potent greenhouse gas regulated by the U.S. EPA. Professional service shops are required to recover and recycle the chemical, and it is illegal for anyone to release it into the atmosphere.

The best refrigerant for any car is the one initially installed. It’s important to know that since 1995, no automaker has approved any refrigerant other than R-134a for use in their vehicles A/C systems. Newer cars and trucks use even less refrigerant in newer, more efficient systems. These systems require a precise amount of refrigerant and won’t tolerate mistakes during service. Too little gas in these systems will cause poor cooling and put other, expensive components at risk because there is not enough lubricant circulating. A more common error—overcharging—puts too much refrigerant into the system and risks damage from much higher internal pressures.

The days of just “topping off” a system are gone, and professional repair shops have the tools and the knowledge to diagnose, repair and recharge a failed system.

To learn more about your vehicle’s air conditioning system, visit the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide website at http://www.macsw.org

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

June 6, 2018

There are two types of Fathers…those who work on their own vehicles 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.

69% of male drivers work on their car, truck, minivan 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 own 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.

If he’s a do-it-for-me, think about a gift certificate for 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.

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An Automotive Gift for Mother’s Day? You Bet!

May 7, 2018

It’s time to be seriously thinking about Mother’s Day. A great place to look for useful ideas is her driver’s seat, especially if Mom spends a lot of time behind the wheel.

Her vehicle is her home away from home and gifts that enhance her enjoyment of that second home are likely to be appreciated, suggests the Car Care Council. We tend to gravitate toward gifts like jewelry, a framed photo or flowers. But why not break from the traditional and dress up her car? Maybe she’s always wanted a sunroof or a cool sound system. Her wish could come true, with the help of your local auto specialty shop or service dealer.

Beyond the obvious gifts such as seat covers or floor mats, Mom might appreciate having her damaged steering wheel replaced with one that’s stylish, possibly even leather covered. A sun-damaged and faded dash could be repaired, replaced, or recovered to upgrade the interior. How about a GPS navigation system, remote starter, or satellite radio?

Security devices such as a remote keyless entry or alarm systems are also popular add-ons, as are custom wheels or wheel covers. Most women are interested in the safety and appearance accessories as opposed to those, which are performance related. Gifts can be inexpensive. Net shopping bags, that hook on the back of the driver’s seat, are great gift items too. Just look around.

Right on the heels of Mother’s Day, of course, is Father’s Day, with additional categories of gifts to consider: special tools, custom rims, window tinting, or sound system enhancements, to mention a few. Gifts for vehicles are always well received and the variety of innovative products never stops growing.

For more ideas and prices visit your auto supply store, service dealer, or specialty shop.

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

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April is National Car Care Month. Nationwide Inspections Show 80% Failure Rate

March 22, 2018

April is National Car Care Month. Vehicle inspection lanes, conducted throughout the United States by sponsoring organizations and businesses, are part of the automotive aftermarket industry’s ongoing public awareness campaign.

Volunteers across the country conduct these events each year, with a portion of them returning their vehicle inspection forms to the Car Care Council for analysis. The most recent campaign included results from a total of 860 vehicle inspections, nationwide.

National Car Care Month inspection campaign statistics continue to underscore the need for increased consumer education. The potential effects on highway safety, air quality, cost of operation, vehicle performance and vehicle dependability are self-evident from these results.

The vehicle failure rate for at least one part or system was 80%! This figure remained unchanged from the previous two years. This means that 8 out of every 10 vehicles failed at least one component of the vehicle inspection process.

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Happily Ever After With Your Car

February 12, 2018

If you want to add more years to the relationship between you and your car, give it a little extra attention this Valentine’s Day in the form of an oil change, tune-up or other loving services to make sure it runs happily ever after. Just a little extra care can lead to a longer life for your car.

There’s no debating the value of preventive maintenance to keep your car running efficiently.By giving your vehicle a little more attention now, you’ll avoid the heartbreak and unexpected expense of car trouble down the road.

The Car Care Council recommends you treat your car to regular care this Valentine’s Day and beyond.

  • Schedule a tune-up annually to optimize your car’s performance. A well-tuned engine delivers the best balance of power and fuel economy and produces the lowest level of emissions.
  • Change the oil and filter per the owner’s manual. Periodic oil and filter changes keep your engine clean on the inside.
  • Check the tire pressure monthly, including the spare. Your car’s tires affect its ride, handling, traction and safety.
  • Have the alignment checked annually. Potholes and other road conditions, as well as normal wear, can take their toll on your car’s steering and suspension. A wheel alignment reduces tire wear, improves fuel economy and handling, and increases driving enjoyment and safety.
  • Inspect the windshield wipers and lights on the car. Lights and wipers play a major role in safe driving, and they are normal wear items that need periodic replacement.

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 a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit http://www.carcare.org.

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8 Signs That Your Car Has Pothole Damage

January 26, 2018

A pothole can be your car’s worst enemy. These holes or pits on a road’s surface can seriously damage a vehicle’s ride control system.

If you do drive over a pothole, have your car’s shocks or struts checked to make sure they aren’t damaged.

Shocks and struts control how vehicles ride and handle. The shock absorbers or struts act as a cushion to dampen the bouncing action of a car’s springs. The springs absorb the road bumps; without them, the vehicle would continually bounce and bound down the road, making driving extremely difficult.

Shocks and struts also control spring and suspension movement to keep the tires in contact with the road. This affects steering, stability and braking. A broken shock or strut could alter the steering and handling of a vehicle and create driving dangers. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs that your vehicle’s shocks or struts may need to be replaced.

  1. The vehicle rolls or sways on turns.
  2. The vehicle’s front-end dives when braking.
  3. The vehicle’s rear end squats when accelerating.
  4. The vehicle bounces or slides sideways on a winding, rough road.
  5. The vehicle “bottoms out” or thumps on bumps.
  6. The vehicle sits lower in the front or rear.
  7. The vehicle is leaking or has signs of physical damage, such as rusting or dents.
  8. There’s a loss of directional control during sudden stops of the vehicle.

Many components affect a vehicle’s handling. Having your car inspected, if you experience any of the above signs, is good preventive maintenance and can help its parts wear less and last longer.

“If you think you may have a worn out or broken shock or strut, don’t wait,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “Whether you replace it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, this situation should be taken care of right away.” The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign, educating consumers about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair. To see the Car Care Council’s free service interval schedule, visit http://www.carcare.org.

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How to Shop For a Battery

January 17, 2018

If your car battery is dead or even weak, you’re not going anywhere. It is the leading cause of starting trouble, whether because of lights left on, a charging system problem or other cause.

Sometimes it is just that the battery has outlived its usefulness. But even at best, a healthy battery in 80-degree weather has only half of its output when the thermometer dips to zero.

When shopping, remember that a battery is rated by cold cranking amps (CCA), indicating its power and the reserve capacity rating (RC), which indicates how long your car’s accessories can run and still have enough power to start the engine.

Since starting a car in cold weather can take up to twice as much current to turn over a cold engine, cars in colder climates would benefit from a higher CCA rating. Check your owner’s manual for the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) minimum requirements needed for your car and select the battery adequate for you needs. Buying one with an excessive CCA rating may be a waste of money.

In every situation, more RC (reserve) is better, like a little extra in the checking account. The size and number of plates in a battery determine how many amps it can deliver. By having more and/or large plates, you can increase the normal life of the battery. This is what distinguishes a three-year from a five-year warranty battery.

Battery manufacturers build their products to an internationally adopted Battery Council International (BCI) group number based on the physical size, terminal placement (where you connect the cables to the battery) and terminal polarity. BCI and the battery manufacturers offer application guidelines that contain the OEM cranking amperage requirements and group number replacement recommendations by make, model and year of car and battery size, CCA and RC specifications.

Five Tips For Staying Cool on the Road

May 31, 2017

Temperatures over 90 degrees and high humidity can challenge your vehicle’s air conditioning system. Here are some easy tips to keep you and your passengers cool on the road.

1.If possible, leave the windows down slightly on hot days to reduce heat build-up. An A/C system works by removing heat, so the cooler the interior is to start with, the easier and faster the A/C will do its job.

2.When you get in the car, open all the windows completely, or even open the doors, for a moment to vent the hot interior air quickly.

3.When you first turn the A/C on, set the controls to MAX or REC and use highest blower speed. This moves the greatest volume of air and re-circulates it for even faster cool-down. As soon as you are comfortable, switch the system to NORM or OUTSIDE or FRESH, and select a lower fan speed. The lower blower speed produces colder the air from the system.

4.Does your cool air have a bad odor, perhaps like “dirty socks” or a gym locker? Remember to set the system to the OUTSIDE air mode (not REC) frequently to help prevent or lessen this problem.

5.Automatic Temperature Control systems operate differently than manual systems. Read your owner’s manual to gain understanding of exactly how your system works. With most automatic systems, the quickest cool-down comes by setting the temperature as low as it will go at first, then adjusting it later to occupant comfort.

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide wants everyone to get the most comfort from their vehicle’s air conditioning system and be able to recognize problems when they occur.

Air conditioning problems should diagnosed by a professional service facility with the proper tools, training, and certified technicians.

To learn more about your vehicle’s air conditioning system, visit the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide website at http://www.macsw.org and http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/609

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