Posts Tagged ‘3M automotive’

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.

Heat, Not Cold, Shortens Battery Life

July 1, 2014

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.

Keep Your Wheels in Balance the Lead – Free Way

October 15, 2013

Most people know that proper tire pressure means better gas mileage and a more comfortable ride. But what about proper wheel balance?

Automobile manufacturers and tire retailers install a weight on the metal rim of each wheel when you purchase a vehicle or new tires. Traditionally made of lead, these small weights are designed to help provide a smoother ride, better gas mileage and more even tire wear.

However, there are several reasons why lead weights are becoming obsolete. As you know, lead is harmful to the environment. Lead weights are hammered into place on the rim, and can shake loose and fall off, leaving your wheels unbalanced. Rather than providing a custom fit, lead weights are only available in standard sizes; thus, the installer often has no way to precisely balance your wheels and you are left with a slightly under-balanced or over-balanced result. And over time, the use of a mechanically applied lead weight can result in unattractive corrosion and rust on your rims.

The latest products available for wheel balancing help correct these troubles. The new 3M™ Wheel Weight System is made of an advanced lead-free composite material that is designed to have less impact on the environment and is corrosion resistant so your wheel appearance is not compromised. The material is flexible and can be custom cut to the exact size required for precision-balanced wheels. And you can be confident that the weights will stay put for the long haul. They are attached with a proven 3M adhesive tape that has been used in the automotive industry for decades. Problem solved.

Next time you bring your vehicle in for wheel balancing, ask for the latest innovation from 3M and keep your wheels balanced the lead-free way.

For more information, click on http://www.3M.com/wheelweights, or call 800-328-1684.

“Cash for Clunkers” Deal is Peanuts Compared to Good Ol’ Vehicle Maintenance

August 9, 2009

Routine vehicle maintenance for an entire year costs a consumer less than a single monthly new car payment and would be significantly more successful in reducing gasoline use and pollution than the “Cash for Clunkers” program, according to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). Vehicle maintenance would save consumers $30 billion in gasoline a year vs. spending $3 billion in taxpayer dollars to buy new cars.

While the “Cash for Clunkers” program is estimated to save 72 million gallons of gasoline each year, simple vehicle maintenance would save more than 12 billion gallons of gasoline a year (equivalent to all of the gasoline used in Illinois, Michigan and Connecticut in one year). Additionally, vehicle maintenance does not require a dime of taxpayer money and doesn’t require destroying perfectly good used vehicles that could be sold or donated to people who cannot afford a new car, reports AAIA.

“Understandably the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program is wildly popular among new car dealers, car makers and those consumers who have the ability to buy a new vehicle. However, the majority of Americans cannot afford a new car payment today, but they probably can afford to trade up to a newer used vehicle or make their current vehicle more fuel-efficient,” said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO.

“Doesn’t it make more sense to give a tax credit or other incentive to the majority of Americans to improve the fuel efficiency, safety and dependability of their current vehicle, rather than taking their tax dollars to help a small minority of consumers and pump up new car dealer profits?” Schmatz said.

AAIA opposes the “Cash for Clunkers” program for the following reasons:

  • The program destroys many vehicles that are not even close to being defined as “clunkers” with years of remaining life and use.
  • Destroyed vehicles are removed from the market forever, depriving consumers who seek to purchase a used vehicle or charities in need of donated vehicles.
  • It hurts the aftermarket companies that manufacture, distribute, sell and install vehicle parts on used vehicles, and those who rebuild/remanufacture vehicle parts.
  • Resources and energy use is multiplied when a vehicle is destroyed and a new one is built to replace it.
  • The majority of vehicles being traded in are domestic, and the majority of new vehicles being sold are foreign.
  • The program entices consumers to purchase a new car that they might not be able to afford and certainly to go further in debt, reminiscent to the sub-prime home mortgage debacle.
  • The program is regressive since only those at higher income levels who can afford to purchase a new car will qualify for the $4,500 voucher, while destroying used cars that could be purchased by lower income families, most in need of assistance in obtaining transportation.

Consumers interested in learning exactly how vehicle maintenance will save money should visit the Car Care Council Web site at www.carcare.org.

Cool Runnin’

August 3, 2009

Today’s Coolant Products are Formulated for Long Life and Winning Performance

TV ads for sports beverages that are formulated to keep your body properly hydrated, while restoring vitamins and minerals that you need to perform properly under hot and demanding conditions, should serve as a reminder that your car is much like the body of a world-class athlete. When sufficiently fueled and fortified with the proper fluids; your car, truck or SUV should get you from the starting block to the finish line…without working up a sweat or stopping for a breather along the way.

The next time you are cooling off with a sports drink after running or working out, take a few minutes to make sure your car’s engine is also properly hydrated. ( Caution: Attempting to remove radiator cap when system is hot can result in severe burns and other injury. Allow sufficient time for engine to cool after driving.)

1. Pop the hood

2. Find the coolant reservoir (usually a white, semi-clear plastic receptacle with black cap) and look to see if the coolant level is at or near the FULL COOL indicator line.

3. If the vehicle’s coolant system level is low, add a 50-50 mixture of antifreeze/coolant and clean water.

That’s it! This simple procedure can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars in engine repairs, along with helping to ensure that you and your passengers are not stranded in cold and unsafe conditions.

Global Antifreeze/Coolant Ends Confusion

To make it even easier to maintain your car’s cooling system, leading manufacturers have introduced advanced global formula products that can be used in any automobile, regardless of make, model, year or original antifreeze color – including GM DEX-COOL ® and new Ford and Chrysler coolants.

“If you can’t remember the last time you checked the antifreeze in each of your family vehicles, you should definitely take a few minutes to make sure they have a sufficient fill of antifreeze before winter weather arrives,” recommends Susan Sperling, brand manager for PEAK ® Performance Products, makers of PEAK ® Long Life Coolant/Antifreeze.

Designed with a phosphate-free and silicate-free formula that is compatible with all domestic, Asian and European OEM specifications, PEAK ® Long Life provides 150,000 miles or 5 years of maximum protection when a complete cooling system flush and fill is performed.

Available fully formulated, for complete flush and fill applications, or a 50/50 pre-diluted formula, PEAK features an amber color that will not change the current antifreeze color when used for topping off. “Instead of hesitating or spending time trying to sort out the confusing color codes that carmakers have come up with, consumers can now use a single extended life antifreeze/coolant with total confidence that it will perform well and keep their warranty intact,” said PEAK’s Sperling.

To Flush & Fill…or Top-Off

If you changed your antifreeze recently, but your system level is low, this may be an indication that you have a leaky hose or loose radiator hose clamp. Any hoses that show signs of wear, leakage, cracking or rotting should be replaced. After making necessary repairs, use an antifreeze ball tester (available at any auto parts store) to make sure that the antifreeze-to-water ratio is correct. Then, top-off with a “ready to use” mixture of antifreeze/water such as PEAK ® Long Life 50/50 Pre-Diluted Antifreeze & Coolant.

If your coolant system level is drastically low or the glycol-to-water ratio is not correct, you might consider flushing the system and then filling it with a fresh antifreeze and water mixture to bring it back within operating specifications. “ Flushing and filling a car’s cooling system with a fresh mixture of antifreeze and water is easier than most people think…and it’s one of the smartest things vehicle owners can do to protect their investment and help ensure uninterrupted performance,” said PEAK’s Sperling.

According to Sperling, the Flush and Fill process can be broken down into 10 Easy Steps:

Step 1: Clean the radiator
Step 2: Place a drain pan
Step 3: Remove the radiator pressure cap
Step 4: Inspect the pressure cap & hoses
Step 5: Drain the radiator
Step 6: Rinse the radiator
Step 7: Add the coolant and water mixture
Step 8: Bleed the system
Step 9: Replace the pressure cap
Step 10: Clean up

For details about these steps and the importance of maintaining your vehicle’s cooling system or to learn more about the advanced technology that goes into universal antifreeze/coolants such as PEAK Long Life, visit their website at www.peakantifreeze.com or call (800) 323-5440.

Balancing Wheels and Peace of Mind

July 29, 2009

Properly balanced wheels have long been recognized to help provide improved ride quality, better gas mileage and reduced tire wear, making wheel balancing an important part of car care and maintenance.

For decades wheel weights have largely consisted of chunks of lead clamped to the wheel rim. Lead has traditionally been used to make wheel weights because it is cheap and heavy, allowing the use of relatively small weights to balance wheels. However, the highly toxic metal can cause brain damage and other nervous-system disorders in people.

Each year an estimated 70,000 tons of lead are used globally to manufacture wheel weights. (Source: Lead Free Wheels, a project of the Ecology Center) Banned by the European Union in 2005, lead weights are being phased out in Japan and South Korea, and will be phased out in California during 2009, with more states to follow. Zinc wheel weights also are being scrutinized, and a ban on these weights has been proposed in Washington State.

An Effective Alternative
3M, a producer of lead-free wheel weights and one of the first manufacturers of composite-based weights, offers a system that is specially designed to have less impact on the environment than lead wheel weights. It is also corrosion resistant so it doesn’t leave rust and stains on the wheel.

The material is flexible and can be custom cut to the exact weight required for precision-balanced wheels, which can help improve gas mileage and provide a smoother ride. The weights are attached with proven 3M™ Automotive Attachment Tape that has been used in the automotive industry for decades, building confidence that the weights will stay put for the long haul.

Next time you bring your vehicle in for wheel balancing, ask for the latest innovation from 3M and keep your wheels balanced the lead-free way.

For more information, click on www.3M.com/wheelweights, or call 800-328-1684.

Changing Your Vehicle’s Filters Is A Great DIY Opportunity.

July 24, 2009

While the increasing complexity of today’s cars, light trucks, and SUVs has put many tasks beyond the capabilities of light do-it-yourselfers (DIYers), filter changes can still be easily handled by most DIYers. In fact, the opportunity for car owners to change their own filters is actually growing, thanks to a design change in newer vehicles that includes never-before-used filters that clean the air you breathe.

“You can indeed change your vehicle’s filters,” said Ramon Nuñez, spokesman for Purolator Filters, which invented the very first automotive oil filter (“Pure Oil Later”) and also the first spin-on oil filter, and is one of the world’s largest suppliers of filtration products for cars, trucks, and other vehicles.

Oil Filters
The physical act of changing an oil filter has not changed much in recent years, explains Purolator’s Nuñez. Most cars and light trucks today continue to use a spin-on oil filter, so it doesn’t take much more than knowing where it’s located and having a good oil filter wrench on hand. However there are three areas where you need to be up-to-date in order to do a quality and responsible job.

First, said Nuñez, be advised that the old oil filter you remove will contain a fair amount of oil, so the filter should be handled in an environmentally responsible manner. At the very least you should let the old filter drain overnight before discarding it in order to allow most of the old oil to drain out. Then, if local regulations permit, you can put it out with the trash. Bear in mind, however, that the parts store or retailer where you buy your oil and filter may well be a center for recycling used oil and, may be likely to accept your old oil filter for recycling as well. In any event, be sure to dispose of your used oil and filter in a responsible manner.

Of course you’ll also have to pay particular attention to the oil you buy, since car manufacturers are now being very specific about the grade and viscosity of the oil you should use, as well as specifying whether you should use conventional or synthetic oil. You should always check your owner’s manual for the manufactures recommended oil.

Beyond your choice of oil and using proper disposal methods for used oil, the other consideration is your choice of oil filters. This is especially critical today, with engines built to more exacting tolerances, and motorists more inclined to maintain than trade in their car. As a result, more and more DIY’ers are selecting Purolator’s top-of-the-line PureONE oil filters as motorists opt for a filter that will remove the smallest particles and protect the life of their engine. Purolator PureONE oil filters provide 99.9% efficiency and a textured grip control for easier installation and removal.

Air Filters
There have been some changes in air filters in recent years, but in most cases, these filters are still easily changed by a DIYer. The biggest changes are in the shape and location of air filters, explains Purolator’s Nuñez. “Long gone are the days when most air filters were rings sitting under a lid and wing nut. Most cars today use a panel-type air filter located in a plastic housing in the engine compartment. Car manufacturers usually provide clips or snaps for easy access to the air filter, and once the access panel is removed the filter usually just lifts out. Normally, your parts professional or service technician will be happy to show you how to access your air filter. And, as with oil filters, Purolator PureONE premium air filters are a favorite of motorists striving to afford their engine the greatest possible protection.

Cabin Air Filters
Increased concern about air quality and airborne germs and particulates has resulted in a new technology in late model cars. Most vehicles built in the recent past are equipped with a cabin air filter so the air we breathe in our cars is clean and healthy. But, surprisingly, many motorists are not even aware that their car has such a filter. The good news is that we’re able to breathe cleaner, healthier air, and the filters that keep the air that way are fairly inexpensive and easy to change. These filters should be thought of in a similar fashion as your home furnace filter and replaced regularly.

“Because so many people are unaware that such a filter exists in their vehicle, there’s a good chance that yours has never been changed,” notes Nuñez. “We offer cabin air filters for nearly every vehicle on the road that has one,” he adds, “and most every cabin air filter we sell includes vehicle-specific instructions, complete with detailed illustrations, to make it easy for DIYers to replace theirs, usually in just a few minutes. In addition, we are in the process of adding these vehicle-specific instructions to our web site, http://www.purolatorautofilters.net, so DIYers will be able to review and even print out the instructions before they even purchase a new cabin air filter. This way they’ll know exactly what the job entails before they even start.”

Continues our expert, “Purolator offers two types of cabin air filters for most applications. Of course we offer a direct replacement for the factory filter. But we also offer one that has the capability of removing odors to make motoring even more pleasant. Both styles of filters are installed in the same manner, and we’re finding that many DIYers are seeing this extra feature as an inexpensive way to keep the cockpit of their car pleasant as well as healthy.”

Fuel Filters
While fuel filter replacement is a bit more involved than it used to be, many DIYers are up to the task. And that’s a good thing since fuel filter replacement is more critical with today’s fuel-injected engines, which are less tolerant of contaminants than their carbureted predecessors. Fuel injectors have very small, very precise passages that can be clogged with particles that used to pass harmlessly through a carburetor. Clogged injectors can hamper fuel economy, compromise performance and, in some cases, lead to illumination of the dreaded ‘Check Engine’ light. So regular fuel filter changes are economical and highly recommended, either by the car owner or by the service provider.

In most cases fuel filters are located under the vehicle, with threaded fasteners that must be unscrewed and, often, a bracket bolted to the underside of the car. You should consult a service manual for the proper installation procedures, paying attention to cautions about supporting a raised vehicle, as well as for relieving any pressure in the fuel line and capturing fuel that may drip during filter replacement.

DIY work can be rewarding and money-saving, and filter replacement is a service operation that can still be done easily by many DIYers. Oil and filter change intervals are typically specified in owner’s manuals and the rule of changing your oil and filter every 3,000 miles is still a good one. Engine air, cabin air, and fuel filter replacement once a year is a safe guideline unless your driving conditions are severe or your miles driven are greater than average. Spending a little time and money on filter replacement can keep both you and your engine happy and healthy.

What is Your Check Engine Light Telling You?

July 17, 2009

One of the most vital components to a properly functioning vehicle is the ‘Check Engine’ light. It alerts the driver to a variety of potential problems based on the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic system. When the ‘Check Engine’ light comes on, it means that some system in your vehicle, including ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating at peak performance, even if your vehicle appears to you to be running normally.

According to the Car Care Council, a glowing ‘Check Engine’ light doesn’t mean you have to immediately pull the car over to the side of the road, but it does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible. Ignoring the warning light could severely damage engine components and incur additional repair expenses.

If your ‘Check Engine’ light comes on, first check the gas cap to make sure it wasn’t left loose after refueling. Sometimes this can trigger the ‘Check Engine’ light. If the cap was loose, the light should go out after a few short trips.

If the gas cap wasn’t the problem and the light remains on steady, have the system checked out as soon as possible. A light that flashes requires more prompt attention, indicating a more severe condition that must be checked out immediately to prevent damage to the catalytic converter. When you experience a flashing light, minimize driving at high speeds or under heavy loads.

When scheduling service, make sure the automotive shop that diagnoses your car has professional technicians who are properly trained and certified for OBDII diagnosis and repair. The technician will connect your vehicle’s computer to a diagnostic computer, which will provide a “trouble” code indicating why the ‘Check Engine’ light was activated.

While the diagnostic computer is connected to your car, the technician can check the idle speed, throttle response, engine temperature, fuel system pressure, manifold vacuum, exhaust emission levels and many other key indicators. Once the problem is diagnosed and fixed, your car’s computer makes sure everything is back to normal, and then turns off the ‘Check Engine’ light.

The Car Care Council recommends reading your vehicle owner’s manual and familiarizing yourself with the purpose of the ‘Check Engine’ light and every other gauge and warning indicator on your dashboard.

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 www.carcare.org.

When Only the Best Is Good Enough.

July 14, 2009

“My customer asked me how much he’d have to spend for a pair of shocks,” said a repair shop owner. “I told him there are ‘good, better and best’ prices, but I install only the good and, preferably, the best. Labor is the same.”

His customer agreed that the minimal cost difference did not justify opting for less than the best. What price is peace of mind? It’s a factor that plays a big part when investing in auto repairs. Once a component is installed you’re likely never to see it unless it fails.

Because most of the approximately 32,800 parts in a typical automobile carry no seal of approval, per se, selection becomes a matter of personal knowledge, experience or your technician’s preference. Each of these may be derived from brand faith based on verified performance.

Seldom does a consumer product enjoy more testing than those listed among the NASCAR Performance brand. The early testing is done, of course, not by NASCAR, but by the companies’ engineers. Once proven by manufacturers to withstand the rigors demanded by NASCAR, the affiliation begins.

“Consider this,” suggests Odis Lloyd, managing director of NASCAR’s automotive licensing division, “there is no more stringent proving ground for an automotive product than the race track, no one better qualified to evaluate its performance than the NASCAR crews, owners and drivers. They have a lot at stake.”

Top race car mechanics and repair shop technicians agree, adding that whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or someone who leaves the work to a professional, you don’t want to jeopardize the job with a substandard component. After all, why save money asking for cheaper, off-brand parts when labor for installation is the same as the first line product?

How did an automobile racing organization become affiliated with auto parts and equipment manufacturers?

“It was an affiliation that was destined to happen,” says Lloyd. “Stock car racing is the nation’s most popular spectator sport and people can identify these race cars with their own vehicles. It goes beyond brand recognition, it becomes an implied endorsement.”

NASCAR emphasizes that relationships with many of their performance partners go back to the early days of racing, when products suffered the punishment of the rough and rutted beach at Daytona, where fine sand and deep ruts challenged drivers and mechanics. In fact, these conditions resulted in the development of advancements in filtration and ride control on today’s vehicles. Now more than ever, parts factory engineers work side by side with race mechanics, learning as they go and improving the products as they learn.

How does a motorist benefit from this?

First and foremost, it simplifies the selection of components when investing in vehicle maintenance. With the complexity of our vehicles’ various interacting computerized components, a sub-standard part can be the weakest link in a critical chain. This compromises safety, fuel economy and emissions.

Further, since you get what your pay for, and the labor costs don’t change from the budget priced component to the best available, you certainly can expect to get more for your money by reaching for top quality.

Tire Tips: Do You Think You”re Under Pressure?

July 12, 2009

bridgestone_image2 (2)

Hundreds more informative stories, illustrations, photos, videos, and audios at the Car Care News Service web site http://bit.ly/p8w9G