Archive for the ‘Auto’ Category

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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A Clean Mass Air Flow Sensor Tells No Lies

May 15, 2017

Every sensor on or in a computer-controlled car or truck talks to the “on-board PC” in a kind of language you’ve never heard or seen. All of the inputs are in a voltage-speak and are all numbers. All of these signals to and from the PC travel in and out at up to 300 times per second. That is some party line!

Your PC knows the amount of air going into or being inhaled by the engine. It knows the temperature of the air, the barometric pressure, the outside temperature, if it’s raining and if the engine is pinging. It knows if the engine has too much fuel or too little fuel being delivered to it. It knows the temperature of the coolant and the catalytic converter, and it knows how cold it is inside the car and how that compares to the temperature you are requesting.

Most of the voltages start at zero and have a high end of 5, 8 or 12 volts. For instance, 1.0v means low and 5.0v means high. Or 1.0 means cold and 5.0 means hot, hot, hot.

But most scanners convert these numbers to a range we can understand, like 20 grams or 212F or 45% throttle.

The mass air flow sensor (MAF) tells the PC how much air is flowing into the engine; we read that data in grams. So a little air means no foot on the throttle and lots of air means foot to the floor. Think of the mass air flow sensor as a goal post with a filament across the top arms. It actually looks like the filament inside a clear light bulb.

The PC sends voltage to the filament and then monitors the electricity needed to keep it warm or hot. The MAF starts lying when this filament gets covered with trash, bugs and dirt. Pretend you are in a tunnel and naked. You could easily tell how much air is flowing thru this tunnel and what the temperature is. How good of a job could you do if I covered you with 5 layers of clothing, gloves, hats and full face coverings? That is exactly what happens to your MAF: it gets covered up and starts lying about its environment.

We want to see about 5-10 grams depending on the size of the engine. This gram number determines fuel trim. A dirty MAF won’t see all the air, so it tells the PC to trim the fuel down. 1 gram at idle is a problem.

So if you want to save yourself from $45 to over $100, go to the auto parts store. Ask them to point out where the MAF is located on your car, and ask them to show you what it looks like. You may need special tools. Then buy some CRC Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner. The CRC product was developed specifically for cleaning this very delicate sensor.

Pull the negative battery cable. Remove the MAF sensor. DO NOT touch the filament. DO NOT get your wife’s toothbrush out and scrub it. If you damage it, you just cost yourself hundreds of dollars. Just spray it off like you would spray a small painted wire with carburetor cleaner when you only want to remove the paint. Do it maybe 3-4 times and once every 30-40,000 miles.

Let it dry, reinstall, connect the battery and drive away. It will take the PC just a few hours to reset those parameters that just changed because the MAF is now cleaner and working more precisely.

For more content like this visit http://www.carcarenewsservice.org

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

May 1, 2017

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 Rich White, spokesperson for the Car Care Council. “We tend to gravitate toward gifts like jewelry, a framed photo or flowers,” he says. “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.”

White suggests that, 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,” says White, “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 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” adds White.

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

April is National Car Care Month. Focus on Your Vehicle Investment.

March 16, 2017

National Car Care Month, in April, is the perfect time for motorists to learn more about the very real economic benefits of performing regular vehicle maintenance, according to the Car Care Council.

Each year, community car care events routinely identify that consumers are not taking proper care of their vehicles. Neglected vehicle care almost always means much higher costs down the line, either in the form of more extensive repairs or lost resale value.

Results of free community car care inspection events throughout the US last year showed that consumers are neglecting their cars. 8 out of 10 vehicles failed at least one component of the vehicle inspection process. Even with an estimated 20% more vehicles inspected last year, the overall failure rate remained unchanged.

Of the vehicles checked, 27% were found to have low, overfull, or dirty engine oil, which affects vehicle performance and damages internal parts. Low, leaky, or dirty coolant in the radiator or surge tank was identified in 26% of the inspected vehicles. Cooling system protects against damage by keeping the engine operating within the correct temperature range.

51% of all belts, in the vehicles inspected, were reported as unsatisfactory. 10% of the vehicles required at least one new hose. Roadside breakdowns can be avoided by checking belts and hoses and replacing them when worn.

These results show that the majority of vehicle owners could save money by being proactive in the maintenance of their second largest investment. Whether you do it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, National Car Care Month in April is the perfect time to focus on your vehicle’s maintenance needs to make sure it is ready for the upcoming spring and summer travel season.