Posts Tagged ‘car care council’

Avoid “Turkey” of a Thanksgiving with a 10-Minute Pre-Trip Vehicle Check

November 14, 2018

One way to avoid a turkey of a Thanksgiving road trip is to make sure 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 pre-trip vehicle check provides peace of mind, helping reduce the chance of costly car trouble and providing an opportunity to have any repairs performed by one’s own trusted technician before hitting the road,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “While no inspection can guarantee a car’s performance, it’s comforting to know proper precautions were taken to ensure a stress-free Thanksgiving road trip.”

The Car Care Council suggests the following 10-minute vehicle check to help ensure safety and reliability on the road:

  • 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 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 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.

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.

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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Is Your Vehicle Safe for Memorial Day Travel?

May 21, 2018

With the Memorial Day Holiday weekend upon us and the summer vacation season fast approaching; there is no better time to “Be Car Care Aware” about your vehicle. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of 13,000 Americans are killed between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. A portion of these deaths can be directly attributed to unperformed vehicle maintenance as each year neglected maintenance leads to over 2,600 deaths, nearly 100,000 disabling injuries and more than $2 billion in lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.

“Proper car care is important at all times, but is particularly critical during the holiday travel seasons,” says Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “When vehicle maintenance is put off too long, you’re potentially putting your safety, as well as the safety of your passengers and other drivers, in jeopardy.”

With American drivers spending 11% more time on the road this year, according to a study from the Surface Transportation Policy Project, having a safe car and driving safely are both high priorities as we head into summer. Car trouble, usually due to neglected maintenance, brings an abrupt end to vacation plans and can also lead to dangerous results.

This scenario usually can be avoided with a pre-vacation inspection. This “physical” for your automobile should address the following systems:

Cooling
Braking
Emission
Steering/suspension
Fuel
Electrical and ignition
In addition, an evaluation of the following should be performed: engine performance, tires/wheels, A.C./heater/defroster, instruments/gages, windshield wipers, horns/lights/mirrors, seat belts and the car’s body, inside and out.

Not only can a pre-trip inspection help reduce chances of costly and possibly dangerous road trouble, it also provides an opportunity to have repairs made at home, with one’s own technician who knows the vehicle.

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

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.

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

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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4C’s of Winter Driving

February 22, 2018

Check:

Lights – Headlights, taillights, turn signals, reverse lights and horn.Antifreeze/ Coolant – Check level and if it’s still good with simple test strips.
Tire Wear – Not just if the no tread but also any sign of uneven wear. It may mean a suspension or alignment problem.
Tire Pressure – Check for the proper pressures in your owners manual or door placard (not the numbers on the side wall). Don’t forget to check your spare tire too! For every 10ºF of outside temperature change – you will lose 1 pound of pressure!
Leaks – Check under the hood and where you park your car for any signs of leaks. These should be repaired as soon as you notice them.
Battery – If you are having trouble starting your car – it may be the battery – have it checked.
Brakes – Does your brake pedal seem a little soft? Is it taking longer to stop your vehicle? Have your brake fluid and brake system checked by a professional. Now is the time – not when it is too late!
Oil Change – Every 3-5000 miles. Check your maintenance section of the owner’s manual. Be sure to get a good quality, name brand oil and oil filter. Check your oil once per month. If it looks dark brown – change it.
Air Filter – Change air filters every 12,000 miles or every 6 months. It’s easy to do it yourself! Be sure to get a quality name brand filter. This will give you better fuel economy and performance.
Squeaks – If your doors or car squeaks, have a professional check it out. It may be something simple like a door hinge and a little needed lubricant.
Tune-up – If your gas mileage seems like it less than it was and your car is running rough – now is the time to have a check up. We recommend using Platinum tipped sparks plugs.

Change:

Winter Wiper Blades – The protective sleeve will help keep the blade on your windshield.
Winter Washer Fluid – De-Icer washer fluid will make your life easier on those real bad days. It has a yellowish color instead of the blue stuff.
Snow tires – Even if you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, winter tires are your safest way to travel in bad weather. They are designed for cold weather driving. All season tires are just that, all seasons in average weather, when the snow is deep and the roads are slippery, winter tires make a real safe difference.

Carry:

Carry these items in your trunk in a box or duffel bag.

Jumper cables – (Jump it- self contained battery and jumper cables) – The safest choice!
Tires Chains – A great item to carry if the roads get icy or the weather gets out of control.
Flashlight with new batteries
Tire inflator
First aid kit
Flare and safety triangle
Protein bars – In case you are stuck and waiting for help.
Bottled water
Snowbrush with ice scraper – Get the best one you can find.
Blanket for every passenger
Cell phone – Inexpensive emergency plans are available.
Road service card – Especially good if you travel out of town.
Maps
Paper towels
Glass cleaner
Extra washer fluid
Work Gloves
Basic tools

Clean:

Clean your vehicle and undercarriage to protect your investment.
Clean and wax your vehicle frequently!
Windshields, back window and side windows, headlights and taillights.
Wiper blades and snow from the top and hood of your car.

The SECRET To A Safe Winter – See and be seen!

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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.

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

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.

For additional free content about vehicle maintenance, repair, or enhancement you can share, visit http://www.carcarenewsservice.org