Archive for the ‘car care council’ Tag

Vehicle Checklist for Back-to-School Carpool Season

School carpool season is upon us and the non-profit Car Care Council reminds drivers to make sure their vehicles are kid-safe and road ready with a five-point checklist:

1. Check lights and wipers for visibility. With shorter days and inclement weather ahead, make sure lights and wipers function properly so that you can see and be seen. Check the exterior and interior lights and replace any that are dimming, rapidly blinking or not functioning. Check wiper blades for signs of wear and replace if necessary.

2. Get an annual brake inspection. The braking system is your car’s most important safety feature. Before carpool season gets in full swing, make sure that your brakes are functioning properly. Schedule a brake inspection and look for warning signs that your vehicle may need brake services, such as an illuminated brake light or screeching, grinding or clicking noises when applying the brakes.

3. Check tires for under inflation or excessive wear. Check tire pressure and refill underinflated tires, including the spare, and look for uneven wear and check tread depth. An easy way to do the latter is by placing a penny head-down in the tread groove. If the tread does not cover Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.

4. Make sure everyone is buckled up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website has important tips on seat belt fit and position. For the younger ones riding along, the site has information about how to install car seats as well as guidelines on selecting a car seat or booster based on your child’s age and size.

5. Consider a back-up detection device. Consider having a back-up detection device installed that provides rearview video or warning sounds when moving in reverse. While drivers should not rely solely on these devices, they can help to reduce the risk of backover incidents along with following other prevention tips from NHTSA.

“Back-to-school time is hectic for most families, but scheduling a complete vehicle inspection is time well spent,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Knowing your vehicle was checked by a professional technician will give you peace of mind and make all those trips to school and activities safer and less stressful.”

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

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/vehicle-checklist-back-school-carpool-season-2/

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Cold Facts About A/C Refrigerant

How did we ever get along without air conditioning in our cars? It”s a feature we take for granted until, suddenly, it”s blowing hot air.

In the past few years, many owners have discovered that fixing an inoperative air conditioner can cost a few hundred dollars or more, depending upon the make and model of vehicle. The reason is that the old standby R-12 refrigerant, trade named DuPont Freon, has been replaced by R-134a. Touted as being environmentally safer than its predecessor, R-134a has been standard since ’94.

If your older vehicle needs major repairs to the air conditioning system you can expect to replace refrigerant and the oil in the compressor in addition to the old components. You also may need to install a retrofit conversion. Do not allow anyone to mix refrigerants. They”re not inter-changeable. You cannot add R-134a to your older air conditioner without first flushing the system. Further, according to the Car Care Council, some substitutes are volatile mixtures of propane, butane and flammable hydrocarbons. Keep in mind the fact that if your vehicle is leaking refrigerant, you”re damaging the ozone layer.

An annual inspection of the vehicle, including the air conditioning system, may help forestall costly repairs. Many automotive service shops offer AC inspection specials when warm weather arrives. Otherwise, ask your service center to evaluate your system before those hot and humid days of summer.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/cold-facts-about-ac-refrigerant/

Roadside Emergency Kit a Perfect Gift for the College Bound

School is almost back in session and students across the country will soon be packing up their cars and heading off to college. If you are searching for that perfect gift for the college-bound kid in your life, the Car Care Council suggests putting together a roadside emergency kit.

“A roadside kit is easy to assemble, not too expensive and extremely useful, plus it could be a life saver in the event of an emergency,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “While it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected while on the road, the best option is to avoid breakdowns and car trouble wherever possible. Performing basic maintenance and observing a regular service schedule can help avoid unforeseen road emergencies.”

Roadside emergency items can fit into a small duffle bag or rubber storage tote and include the following:

– Jumper cables

– Emergency flares

– Flashlight with batteries

– Blankets and extra clothes

– Non-perishable snacks and bottled water

– First aid kit, including essential medications

– Portable USB charger to keep the cell phone running even if the car is not

– Ice scraper, snow brush and small shovel for winter driving

– The Car Care Guide, available free of charge at carcare.org

Visit the Car Care Council’s website to access a number of tips and resources for vehicle maintenance, including a free custom service schedule.

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.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/roadside-emergency-kit-perfect-gift-college-bound/

Feeling the Summer Heat? Your Car Battery is Too

If the heat of summer is wearing you down, it is likely taking its toll on your car battery too. Contrary to popular belief, summer highs rather than winter lows pose the greater threat to battery life, according to the non-profit Car Care Council.

Sooner or later all batteries have to be replaced. Excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, thus damaging the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate, leading to slow death for a battery.

“When most motorists think of dead batteries that cause starting failure, they think of severe winter weather, but summer heat is the real culprit,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Many battery problems start long before the temperatures drop. Heat, more than cold, shortens battery life.”

Colder temperatures increase the thickness of the engine oil, making the engine harder to turn over, causing the battery to have to work more. These factors lead to harder starting.

To get the most life out of a battery, the Car Care Council suggests the following simple steps:

imageBe 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.

Battery Test By A TechnicianDriving habits such as frequent engine on/off cycles will cause more wear on the starter than a simple back and forth to work. Other factors include driving and weather conditions, mileage, vehicle age and excessive electrical draws like in-vehicle entertainment systems. Check the battery if you notice headlights and interior lights dim, accessories that fail to operate, or the “check engine” and/or battery light illuminated.

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

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/feeling-the-summer-heat-your-cars-battery-is-too/

Is Your Car Ready for a Road Trip?

If you are planning a road trip this summer, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t just put gas in your car and go, says the non-profit Car Care Council. A pre-trip vehicle check can determine how road-ready your vehicle is so you can take steps to have any problems fixed before heading out for vacation.

Before you hit the road, the Car Care Council recommends a vehicle check to help avoid the inconvenience, potential safety hazards and unplanned expense of breaking down miles away from home.

– Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, antifreeze/coolant, windshield washer and power steering, brake and transmission fluids. Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause the engine to lose power.

– Check the hoses and belts and replace if they 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 brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.

– Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Under inflated tires reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy and uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.

– Check the engine to make sure it is delivering the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.

– Check that the gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.

“With summer vacation season upon us, a thorough inspection of your vehicle will give you peace of mind and help make your road journey safer,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Taking a few minutes to ‘be car care aware’ will make for a less stressful and more fun adventure.”

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, which is now available electronically, or for more information, visit http://www.carcare.org.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2016/06/car-ready-road-trip/

It’s Pothole Season: You May Be In For A Bumpy Ride

As the weather gets warmer, motorists will see more potholes on the roadways and avoiding them can be a real challenge. If you hit a pothole, the non-profit Car Care Council recommends watching for three warning signs to determine if your vehicle has been damaged.

Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. The steering and suspension are key safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine your car’s ride and handling.

Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear, are symptoms of an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of tires and helps ensure safe handling.

Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the wheel rim will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible, as tires are the critical connection between your car and the road.

If you feel your vehicle has suffered damage from hitting a pothole, it is wise to have it inspected by a professional service technician. Potholes occur when water permeates the pavement – usually through a crack – and softens the soil beneath it, creating a depression in the surface of the street. Many potholes appear during winter and spring months because of freeze-thaw cycles. Potholes can also be prevalent in areas with excessive rainfall and flooding.

“Pothole season may last longer these days as many municipalities do not have the resources to fill potholes as fast as they should, leaving drivers to dodge them well into late spring and summer,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Because hitting a pothole can put a big dent in your wallet, making necessary repairs right away could save you from more costly ones down what could be a very bumpy road.”

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.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2016/03/pothole-season-may-bumpy-ride/

Car Care: Winter Maintenance Check

Heavy snow can be fun for some, but many drivers dread treacherous winter driving conditions. Being car care aware will help ensure your vehicle is ready for harsh winter weather encountered on the road, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

“Many drivers overlook auto care this time of year, even with inclement weather in the forecast,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Driving in snow, especially in heavy snowfall or a blizzard, takes patience and preparation. A vehicle that is properly prepared for the elements can help you avoid an unplanned road emergency when the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worse.”

To ensure that your vehicle is ready for winter driving, the Car Care Council recommends that motorists perform a winter maintenance check of areas that have direct impact on winter driving.

– Battery – Cold weather is hard on batteries, so it’s wise to check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Because batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail, it is advisable to replace batteries that are more than three years old.

– Antifreeze – Antifreeze (coolant) should be flushed and refilled at least every two years in most vehicles. As a reminder, do not add 100 percent antifreeze as full-strength antifreeze actually has a lower freeze point than when mixed with water.

– Brakes – Have the brake system checked. Brakes are critical to vehicle safety and particularly important when driving on icy or snow-covered roads.

– Tires – Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure, including the spare. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly as tires lose pressure when temperatures drop.

– Oil – Be diligent about changing the oil at recommended intervals and check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time. Consider changing to low-viscosity oil in winter, as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold. In sub-zero driving temperatures, drop oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.

– Lights & Wipers – Make sure all exterior and interior lights are working so you can see and be seen. Check the fluid level in the windshield washer reservoir and replace wiper blades that are torn, cracked or don’t properly clean your windshield.

In addition, the council recommends a thorough vehicle inspection by a trusted professional service technician as winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling. Drivers should keep their vehicle’s gas tank at least half-full to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2016/01/car-care-winter-maintenance-check/

Driving in Winter Wonderland Takes Preparation

After two of the worst winters ever in many parts of the country, the Car Care Council suggests that motorists take a little extra time now to make sure their vehicles are prepared for the unexpected when weather arrives.

Winter Driving Tips

“The last two winters brought record-setting snowfall. That may sound like a winter wonderland, but many motorists experienced breakdowns because they did not take preventative measures to make sure their vehicles were ready for the elements,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Taking the time now to have your vehicle checked will help you avoid getting stranded in sub-zero temperatures and facing a costly repair bill.”

The non-profit Car Care Council recommends checking the following areas of your vehicle so it is road ready when severe winter weather strikes.

– Check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
– Check the antifreeze. As a general rule of thumb, clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system every two years.
– Check that heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid.
– Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
– Check the oil and filter and be diligent about changing them at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
– Check engine performance before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
– Check the brakes. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
– Check the exhaust system for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
– Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.

During winter, drivers should keep their vehicle’s gas tank at least half-full to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Motorists should also check the tire pressure of the spare in the trunk and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

To learn more about winterizing your vehicle, view the council’s Car Care Minute video and visit http://www.carcare.org to order a free copy of the 80-page Car Care Guide.

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

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2015/12/driving-in-winter-wonderland-takes-preparation/

Be Car Care Aware Before Your Holiday Road Trip

The holidays are stressful enough without having to worry about your vehicle making it over the river and through the woods in time for dinner at grandma’s house. The Car Care Council recommends that before hitting the road for the holidays, you take a little time to have your vehicle thoroughly inspected to make sure it is road ready.

“The last thing anyone wants during the holiday season is to break down miles from home in the middle of nowhere,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “It’s always a wise idea to have your vehicle checked out before you leave home to identify any potential problems that can be serviced before your holiday journey.”

The non-profit Car Care Council suggests a pre-trip check of the following items on your vehicle to help ensure a safe holiday road trip: tires and tire pressure, brakes, hoses and belts, air filters, wipers, exterior and interior lighting, and fluid levels, including engine oil, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.

“A pre-trip inspection will not only make sure your vehicle is running right, but it will also help make the trip a lot less stressful,” continued White. “Whether you do it yourself or visit a trusted neighborhood technician, being car care aware before you leave home will help you relax and enjoy the ride to your holiday destination without the worry of unexpected, costly car trouble.”

As a precaution, the Car Care Council recommends that drivers keep important telephone numbers in their cell phone or glove box in case of a travel emergency. Vehicles should have a roadside emergency kit that includes items such as a first aid kit, tire-changing jack, tire pressure gauge, jumper cables, flashlight and blankets. A copy of the council’s 80-page Car Care Guide should be kept in the glove box as a reference and can be ordered free-of-charge at http://www.carcare.org/car-care-guide.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2015/11/be-car-care-aware-holiday-road-trip/

Lights Out? Check Vehicle Lighting

Fall is here and its arrival means fewer hours of daylight and upcoming holiday travel. Before hitting the road, it is a wise idea to make sure your vehicle’s lights are in proper working order, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

“Lights play a critical role in safe driving, as the chance of an accident increases if you can’t see or be seen,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “From the driver’s seat you may not notice a light that isn’t working, so inspect all of your car’s lights and replace those that are out.”

Lights are normal wear items that require periodic inspection and replacement. The vehicle lighting system provides nighttime visibility; signals and alerts other drivers; and supplies light for viewing instruments and the vehicle’s interior. In addition to replacing dimming, rapidly blinking and non-functioning lights, the following tips can help keep you safe:

Keep headlights, tail lights and signal lights clean. External dirt and debris can dim operational lights from being seen by others.

Make sure that your headlights are properly aimed. Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.

If there is any doubt on whether or not your headlights should be on, turn them on. Lights not only help you see better in early twilight, they also make it easier for other drivers to see you.

Don’t overdrive your headlights; you should be able to stop inside the illuminated area, otherwise you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.

“Some states have laws that require the headlights to be on with the wipers,” said White. “Keeping your vehicle’s lights properly cared for and replacing wiper blades periodically will help ensure a safer ride, keeping the road ahead well-lit and giving you a clear view.”

For more information on vehicle lighting, service interval schedules, questions to ask a technician and tips to drive smart and save money, view the Car Care Council’s free digital Car Care Guide online at http://www.carcare.org/car-care-guide.

The non-profit 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 free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit http://www.carcare.org.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2015/10/lights-check-vehicle-lighting/