Archive for the ‘car care council’ Tag

Don’t Be Spooked By Basic Car Care

While Halloween is a scary time of year, vehicle owners don’t need to be spooked about basic car care. The non-profit Car Care Council recommends motorists follow a preventative vehicle maintenance plan to help take away the fear of unexpected breakdowns and frightening repair costs.

“Getting an oil change should never be scary; having wipers replaced should not be horrifying; and asking a professional automotive technician questions should not make someone shake in fear,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “With a quick visit to http://www.carcare.org, motorists will find free online tools from the Car Care Council to help take the fear out of auto care.”

The Car Care Council’s online custom service schedule and email reminder service can help car owners be more responsible and remember to include auto care in their busy schedules. This easy-to-use resource is free-of-charge and can be personalized to help make auto care more convenient and economical. The council also has a general service schedule that can be printed and followed. Drivers should be sure to consult their vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations by the carmaker.

Motorists can order a free copy of the council’s Car Care Guide at http://www.carcare.org/car-care-guide. Available in English and Spanish, the popular guide uses easy-to-understand language and includes descriptions of major vehicle systems, questions to ask a professional technician, and a checklist to remind drivers what vehicle systems need to be maintained and when service or repair should be performed. Special sections on fuel economy and environmental awareness show drivers how to get better gas mileage and make their vehicle more environmentally friendly.

The Car Care Council’s video entitled “Auto Service and Repair: What to Expect” helps drivers become more comfortable with the auto service and repair process, providing valuable information on such topics as finding the right auto repair facility, what to expect at the shop and what questions to ask. The video also covers the real truth about consumer rights and the manufacturer’s warranty. View the video online at http://www.carcare.org/2012/01/auto-repair-shop-video/.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2015/10/dont-spooked-basic-car-care/

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Car Care with Kids

New drivers love their cars, but they typically don’t realize what it
takes to maintain them. The Car Care Council recommends having fun
teaching children about the importance of car care long before they can
drive so they know how routine maintenance impacts the safety and
dependability of their vehicle.

“Many children love learning how cars operate, however, they don’t
really understand the nuts and bolts of what it takes to properly
maintain a car,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.
“By taking the time to teach your children the basics of car care, they
will not only learn to appreciate the value of taking care of a car, but
they will be more informed and better prepared for the day they become a
car owner.”

There are many do-it-yourself service procedures that can be
performed by parents and children together. The Car Care Council
suggests starting with three easy and fun maintenance steps to give
children a general overview of car maintenance.

Check Lights and Wiper Blades – Explain to children the
importance of being able to see and be seen when driving. Show them how
to replace the wiper blades and work together to make sure all interior
and exterior lights work properly.

Wash the Car – Kids love to help wash the car. Ask them to
look for any dents, dings, scratches or cracked glass, as these
problems, when left unattended, can lead to more expensive repairs down
the line.

Check the Oil – Show children how to check the oil and explain
how periodic oil and filter changes help keep your car clean on the
inside of the engine. Also explain that other vehicle fluids, such as
windshield solvent, should be checked and refilled to keep the car
running properly.
To help understand and explain the importance of auto care, the Car
Care Council developed its popular Car Care Guide. Available in English
and Spanish, the 80-page guide can be ordered free-of-charge at www.carcare.org/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 copy of
the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2015/07/car-care-kids/

Three Ps of Auto Care: Preventative, Proactive, Prepared

In recognition of National Preparedness Month in September, the non-profit Car Care Council reminds motorists of the importance of the three Ps of auto care to make sure their vehicle is ready for the unexpected.
1. Preventative – Reduce the chance of unplanned, costly car trouble by following a vehicle service schedule and performing routine maintenance. The Car Care Council’s free personalized schedule and email reminder service is a simple way to help you take better care of your vehicle.
2. Proactive: If you find your vehicle needs repairs, be sure to address them in a timely manner to avoid more extensive work down the road. Before traveling longer distances, perform a pre-trip inspection before your journey begins so you have an opportunity to have any repairs made by a trusted technician before hitting the road.
3Prepared: Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle in case an unexpected situation arises. The kit should include jumper cables, a road atlas, first-aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries, water, non-perishable food and blankets. Be sure your cell phone is fully charged and order a free copy of the Car Care Council’s Car Care Guide for your glove box.
“Emergencies and natural disasters come in a variety of forms. Being car care aware and taking proactive steps in advance will help ensure that your vehicle is in proper working order so you will be better prepared if you encounter a problem while on the road,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.
To learn about the American Public Health Association’s Get Ready program and how to stay safe behind the wheel when a disaster hits, visit http://www.getreadyforflu.org/DrivingDisasters.htm.
Being prepared for a disaster also means getting your car ready to go at a moment’s notice and restocking an emergency kit for the unexpected.  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 www.carcare.org.Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2015/09/national-preparedness-month-car-ready/

Are You a Severe Driver?

Things change, including the way we use our cars, how we drive them and the condition of our roads. Although normal driving is defined as steady driving in non-extreme weather or environments, for most motorists today, being a severe driver is more the rule than the exception, says the Car Care Council.

According to the council’s Car Care Guide, severe driving refers to:

Stop-and-go traffic
Short commutes
Heavier loads: cargo, passenger or towing a trailer
Rough or mountainous roads
Dusty or salty environments
Driving in extremely hot or cold weather

“According to definition, most driving is going to be considered ‘severe.’ However, there are easy steps you can take to limit the amount of wear and tear on your vehicle and improve fuel economy,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “By properly maintaining and repairing your vehicle, it will perform safely, dependably and efficiently for years to come, no matter the driving conditions.”

The Car Care Council recommends that motorists be car care aware and take actions to reduce the effects of severe driving, such as:

Follow the “severe” service schedule in your owner’s manual.
Check fluids, including oil, and filters more frequently.
Have certain components such as brakes and shocks inspected more regularly.
Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 mph.
Avoid quick starts and stops. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage.
Don’t haul unneeded items in the trunk as extra weight will reduce fuel economy.
Keep your car properly tuned to improve gas mileage.
Order a free copy of the 80-page Car Care Guide at http://www.carcare.org/car-care-resource/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.

As read on: http://www.carcare.org/2015/09/severe-driver/

Is Your Check Engine Light On? Don’t Ignore it.

One of the most vital signals of an improperly functioning vehicle is the check engine light and when illuminated, it alerts the driver to a variety of existing potential problems. Vehicle check-ups during community car care events throughout the country reveal that the check engine light is on in nearly one out of ten vehicles, says the Car Care Council.

“When the check engine light comes on, it means that a vehicle system, such as the ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating properly, even if the vehicle appears to be running normally,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A glowing check engine light doesn”t mean you have to immediately pull the car 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 result in costly repairs. At the very least, the light could alert you to an engine problem that is negatively impacting fuel economy.”

Some common malfunctions that can cause the check engine light to illuminate include a faulty oxygen sensor, mass air flow sensor, or spark plugs and wires. If the light flashes, the condition is more critical and must be checked immediately to prevent severe damage, which may include catalytic converter damage.

When scheduling service, make sure the automotive shop that examines your vehicle has professional technicians who are trained and certified in OBDII diagnosis and repair. The technician will connect your vehicle”s computer system to a diagnostic scan tool, which will provide trouble codes indicating why the check engine light was activated.

While the diagnostic tool is connected, the technician can analyze data streams such as the idle speed, throttle response, engine temperature, fuel system pressure, manifold vacuum, exhaust emission levels and many other key indicators. Once the problem is fixed, the car”s computer is reset to initiate the computer’s release process. The technician should then advise the customer of the proper course of action, potential warranty coverage, further testing if necessary and recommended repairs.

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/2013/07/is-your-check-engine-light-on-dont-ignore-it/

Is Your Car Making Your Allergies Worse?

Summer is in the air and with it comes pollen, dust and pollutants that are drawn inside vehicles through air conditioning and ventilation systems.

Cabin air filters clean the incoming air, removing allergens, and should be replaced regularly, says the Car Care Council.

“A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can cause contaminants to become so concentrated in the cabin that passengers actually breathe in more fumes and particles when riding in the car than when walking down the street,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “With allergy season quickly approaching, replacing the cabin air filter is a simple way for you and your passengers to breathe easier while driving.”

A restricted cabin air filter can cause musty odors in the vehicle and impair airflow in the HVAC system, possibly causing interior heating and cooling problems. Over time, the heater and air conditioner may also become damaged by corrosion. In addition to trapping pollen, bacteria, dust and exhaust gases, the cabin air filter prevents leaves, bugs and other debris from entering the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system.

Cabin air filters should not be cleaned and reinstalled. Instead, they should be replaced every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, or per the owner’s manual. Most filters are accessible through an access panel in the HVAC housing, which may be under the hood or in the interior of the car. An automotive service technician can help locate the cabin filter and replace it according to the vehicle’s owner manual. Some filters require basic hand tools to remove and install the replacement filter while others just require your hands.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2014/03/is-your-car-making-your-allergies-worse/

Four Symptoms of a Sick Cooling System

With the hot summer temperatures on the rise, knowing the symptoms of a sick cooling system are critical to your summer driving plans, since cooling system failure is a leading cause of vehicle breakdowns. The most noticeable symptoms are overheating, leaks, a sweet smell of antifreeze and repeatedly needing to add coolant, according to the Car Care Council.

“Neglecting your cooling system can result in serious damage and even complete engine failure, which would put a sudden end to your summer road trip,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “If the
cooling system doesn’t receive regular maintenance, it’s not a question of whether it will fail, but rather when it will fail. Performing regular checkups of belts, hoses, the water pump and fluids will ensure your car remains properly cooled and healthy for many miles down the road.”

The primary job of the engine’s cooling system is to remove the heat that is generated during the combustion process. The coolant temperature can be well over 200 degrees and that heat has to go somewhere, otherwise engine components are going to start failing. The key parts of the cooling system remove the heat from the engine and automatic transmission and dispel it to the air outside. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine. The coolant absorbs heat and returns it to the radiator where heat is dissipated. The thermostat regulates the coolant temperature to keep it consistent for efficient engine operation.

A major factor that affects the replacement of cooling system parts is the frequency of regular maintenance, such as coolant changes. Motorists should consult their owner’s manual for specific recommendations about how often to change antifreeze and flush the coolant system. A coolant flush and fill is basic to cooling system maintenance as new antifreeze helps the engine run cooler and a flush removes dirt or sediment that could damage other cooling system parts.

The coolant level should be checked regularly at the reservoir and motorists are reminded to NEVER open a hot radiator cap. If the coolant is low, a 50/50 mix of approved antifreeze and distilled water should be added.

Motorists can also do a visual inspection of hoses, belts and the radiator to help identify cooling system problems before they escalate. Radiator leaks, bulging hoses or frayed and cracked belts are clues that the cooling system is in need of maintenance.

Additional signs of cooling system problems include the vehicle temperature gauge rising near the danger zone, coolant leaks, steam or hissing sounds under the hood or the district smell of an engine that’s running hot.

The Car Care Council’s free personalized schedule and email reminder service is a simple way to help you take better care of your vehicle this summer and throughout the year. It is an easy-to-use resource designed to help you drive smart, save money and make informed decisions.

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/2014/06/four-symptoms-of-a-sick-cooling-system/

A/C Service: Keep Your Car Cool When Things Heat Up

Sitting in traffic when temperatures soar without a properly functioning air conditioning (A/C) system is the last place most drivers want to be. To help avoid this uncomfortable situation, the non-profit Car Care Council recommends that motorists be car care aware and have their A/C system checked annually to make sure it is working at peak performance when they need it most.

A vehicle’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning system (HVAC) keeps the interior cabin comfortable in any season by providing the right temperature and humidity level. Typical A/C service consists of the following steps:

– Service technician visually inspects hoses, lines, seals and other components for leaks as well as inspect the drive belt for cracks or damage.

– Technician checks pressures to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures.

– If the system is found to be low on refrigerant, a leak test is performed to find the source of the leak.

– Keep in mind that if your vehicle is leaking refrigerant, it is damaging the ozone layer.

– Refrigerant may be added if necessary to “top off” the system, although some states do not allow “topping off.”

– A technician may also check for evidence of refrigerant cross-contamination, which is the mixing of refrigerants.

– A/C service should also include a check of the compressor’s drive belt and tension.

– The Car Care Council also recommends that when having a vehicle’s HVAC system inspected, the cabin air filter be checked to make sure air is flowing properly into the car.

“Making sure your A/C system is working properly will keep you cool and safe when you hit the road this summer,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

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/2015/06/ac-service-keep-your-car-cool/

Seven Signs Your Brakes Need to be Inspected

The Car Care Council reminds motorists that routine brake inspections are essential to safe driving and maintaining your vehicle.

“When it comes to vehicle safety, the brake system is at the top of the list, so have your brakes checked by an auto service professional at least once a year,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Knowing the key warning signs that your brakes may need maintenance will go a long way toward keeping you and others safe on the road.”

The Car Care Council recommends that motorists watch for seven signs that their brakes need to be inspected:

1. Noise: screeching, grinding or clicking noises when applying the brakes.

2. Pulling: vehicle pulls to one side while braking.

3. Low Pedal:brake pedal nearly touches the floor before engaging.

4. Hard Pedal: must apply extreme pressure to the pedal before brakes engage.

5. Grabbing: brakes grab at the slightest touch to the pedal.

6. Vibration: brake pedal vibrates or pulses, even under normal braking conditions.

7. Light: brake light is illuminated on your vehicle’s dashboard.

Brakes are a normal wear item on any vehicle and they will eventually need to be replaced. Factors that can affect brake wear include driving habits, operating conditions, vehicle type and the quality of the brake lining material.

Using the Car Care Council’s free personalized schedule and email reminder service is a simple way to help you remember to have your brakes inspected and take better care of your vehicle. It is an easy-to-use resource designed to help you drive smart, save money and make informed decisions.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2014/08/seven-signs-your-brakes-need-to-be-inspected/

Driving in the “Cone Zone” Can be Tough on Vehicles

It’s bound to happen – that moment when you enter into the “cone zone,” road construction where you will likely hit a bump or two, or come across loose stones and other hazards. These rough road conditions can be tough on a vehicle’s steering and suspension system and can throw out the alignment, while loose stones have the potential to damage the vehicle’s exterior or windshield, according to the Car Care Council.

“Even the most careful driver, who is traveling slowly and carefully through road construction, can hit an unexpected bump or other road hazards,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “The key is to pay attention to your car and if you think there’s a problem, have it taken care of as soon as possible.”

The symptoms of steering and suspension or wheel alignment problems are uneven tire wear, pulling to one side, noise and vibration while cornering or loss of control. The main parts of the systems are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/box, bearings, seals or hub units and tie rod ends.

The council recommends that motorists have their vehicles checked out immediately if any of these symptoms exist, as steering and suspension systems are key safety-related components and largely determine the car’s ride and handling. Regardless of road conditions, these systems should be checked annually and a wheel alignment should be performed at the same time.

Motorists also should do frequent visual checks of their vehicle’s exterior and windshield to identify any chips, dings or cracks. These are small problems that can become costly repairs and safety hazards if they aren’t taken care of immediately.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2011/05/driving-in-the-cone-zone-can-be-tough-on-vehicles/