Archive for the ‘car care’ Tag

Springtime Auto Tips

Spring is one of the prime times for auto maintenance. That first wash-n-wax on a warm Saturday afternoon is liberating. Winter’s gloom (to say nothing of grit and road salt) is literally washed away. Take out the snow shovel, the gloves, and heavy boots and store them ’til next season. Surely summer can’t be far away.

Some preparation now will help ensure that your summer driving plans go as smoothly as you envision then now. ASE offer the following tips on getting your vehicle ready for summer.

– Read the owner’s manual and follow the recommended service schedules.

– Have hard starts, rough idling, stalling, etc. corrected before hot weather sets in.

– Flush and refill the cooling system (radiator) according to the service manual’s recommendations. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically.

– If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, look for repair facilities that employ ASE-certified automotive technicians.

– The tightness and condition of belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a qualified auto technician.

– Have a marginally operating air conditioner system serviced by a qualified technician to reduce the likelihood of more costly repairs.

– Change the oil and oil filter as specified in owner’s manual. (Properly dispose of used oil.)

– Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended.

– Check the condition of tires, including the spare. Always check tire pressure when the tires are cold.

– Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs.

– Replace worn wiper blades and keep plenty of washer solvent on hand to combat summer’s dust and insects.

Read more at: http://www.ase.com/News-Events/Publications/Car-Care-Articles/Springtime-Auto-Care.aspx

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April is National Car Care Month: Time to Spring for Vehicle Maintenance

Spring is here and it is time to give your car some extra attention, says the non-profit Car Care Council. Results of vehicle inspections held at community car care events across the country during Car Care Months in April and October 2014 reveal that 84 percent of vehicles need service or parts, up 5 percent from the previous year.

“Neglected vehicle care almost always means much higher costs down the line in the form of more extensive repairs or lost resale value. These results show that the majority of vehicle owners could save money by being proactive in the maintenance of their second largest investment,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

When checking lubricants and fluids, the three top failure rates were: low washer fluid at 27 percent; low or dirty motor oil at 25 percent; and low, leaky or dirty coolant at 17 percent. Power steering, brake and transmission fluids were also checked, and had failure rates of 13 percent and below.

When checking under the hood, nearly one in five vehicles (18 percent) needed a new air filter and 13 percent had the “check engine” light on. At least one belt was reported as unsatisfactory in 17 percent of the vehicles inspected, and 8 percent required at least one new hose. Battery cables, clamps and terminals needed maintenance in 14 percent of the vehicles inspected, while 9 percent of the batteries were not properly held down.

Approximately 16 percent of vehicles had front windshield wiper failures, and at least 11 percent of vehicles needed lights replaced, including headlights, brake lights and license plate lights. Improperly inflated tires were found on 10 percent of the cars, and 14 percent had worn tread and were in need of replacement.

“Whether you do it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, National Car Care Month in April is the perfect time to focus on your vehicle’s maintenance needs to make sure it is ready for the upcoming spring and summer travel season,” said White. “Following a routine maintenance program, like the free personalized schedule and e-mail reminder service the Car Care Council offers, can 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 more information, visit http://www.carcare.org.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2015/03/april-is-national-car-care-monthspring-for-vehicle-maintenance/

5 spring cleaning tips for your car

Winter can do a number on your car.

Slush, salt and cold temperatures take a toll on everything from the tires to the wiper blades. So, with spring around the corner, it’s a good idea to give your car a thorough once-over to undo winter’s damage.

It won’t cost a lot. You can do the work yourself or visit a car wash and service department to get all these services permormed.

Here are five things you can do to shake off winter and get your car in shape for spring:

1. Wash the underbody

Wintertime driving will coat the bottom of your car with salt, sand and other grime that can cause corrosion. Corrosion can lead to rust problems, which can make your car much harder to resell or even dangerous to drive.

Spend a few extra dollars for the undercarriage power wash at the local car wash or spray the car’s bottom with your own hose. There’s no need to use soap or any other cleaner.

While you’re at it, open the hood and wipe down the engine with a soft mitt and soapy water. And remove all the leaves and debris that can find their way into the car. And remove any crusty white residue off the battery with a toothbrush, baking soda and water. The residue — caused by corrosion — can eventually prevent your car from starting. The cleaning also helps prepare the battery for the stress of warmer temperatures.

2. Scrub inside and out

Salt can damage the car’s paint. Give your car a thorough cleaning and wax it.

Scrub the bottoms of doors, which can get coated with grime. Clean the window channels, also apply a silicone spray, which repels dirt and lubricates the surfaces so the windows will operate smoothly.

Use a steam cleaner — you can rent one for $20 at Home Depot — or apply a rug-cleaning spray to remove all the salt from the car’s inside. Salt can break down some fabrics and cause rips or tears when feet grind against them.

And don’t forget to take bags of salt and ice scrapers out of the trunk.

3. Replace wiper blades

Wiper blades get a workout during the winter months. Changing them each spring and fall insures you have good working blades when you need them.

4. Check tires

Check your tire pressure and rotate and align them when neccessary based on your maintenace schedule and how hard the roads were on them over the winter. Cold weather can cause tires to be underinflated and the onset of warm weather can overinflate them. Also, visually inspect your tires to make sure they’re wearing evenly and have plenty of tread for the rainy spring weather ahead.

Driving on properly inflated tires can save you money. It can cost anywhere from $50 to $250 to replace a blown tire, depending on the kind of tire you need. Your vehicle is also more fuel efficient when you drive on properly inflated tires.

5. Check your fluids

Winter weather can deplete some fluids — especially windshield wiper fluid — more quickly, so top them off yourself if they’re too low. A service station can also do the job. You should change your oil around based on your vehicles maintenance schedule regardless of season. Brake and transmission fluids should be checked as well.

Avoid a Breakdown with a Belt Check

BETHESDA, Md., Feb. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — You may not see them, or know much about them, but engine belts are always working to keep your vehicle moving. Losing a belt can mean immediate trouble for the engine and a breakdown for you. The Car Car Council recommends motorists “be car care aware” and review the owner’s manual to ensure that belts are inspected and replaced at the proper intervals.

A vehicle’s belts are essential to the cooling, air conditioning and charging systems of the engine. Serpentine belts are used to turn the water pump, alternator, power steering and air-conditioning compressor. Older cars use V-belts for various accessories and failure of this belt could strand a driver.

“You don’t want to be stranded because of a bad belt that could have been diagnosed with simple preventative maintenance,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “If the serpentine belt fails or breaks, the engine will fail to run and you may be stuck. The Car Care Council recommends replacing belts at specified intervals to save you from the hassle of a breakdown.”

Results of vehicle inspection events conducted around the country during National Car Care Month in April and Fall Car Care Month in October revealed that 12 percent of vehicles had belts in need of replacement.

Always check serpentine and V-belts for looseness and their overall condition. Replace V-belts when cracked, frayed, glazed or showing signs of excessive wear. Noise in the belt system is a sign of wear and the smell of burnt rubber can indicate a slipping belt. When changing a serpentine belt, it is important to check all the components in the serpentine system as tensioners and pulleys wear at the same rate as the belt and should be inspected.

Typical serpentine belt replacement is 60,000 to 90,000 miles. Typical V-belt replacement is 40,000 to 50,000 miles. Replace the timing belt per interval specified in the owner’s manual.

The non-profit Car Care Council has a free 80-page Car Care Guide for motorists that features several pages of information on the functionality of belts and when to replace them. Available in English and Spanish, the popular guide uses easy-to-understand everyday language rather than technical automotive jargon, fits easily in a glove box and can be ordered by visiting http://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 free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit http://www.carcare.org.

SOURCE Car Care Council

Read more at: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/avoid-a-breakdown-with-a-belt-check-300030056.html

To Idle or Not to Idle, That is the Question

It is that time of the year when many motorists let their vehicle “warm up” or idle before driving. In fact, today’s modern cars are ready to drive in cold temperatures without excessive idling, says the Car Care Council.

“Unless you are trying to defrost the windshield or warm the interior of your car, idling is not required for today’s vehicles,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “In most cases, idling longer than 30 seconds is unnecessary. The best way to warm up your car’s engine is to drive gently at the start. Remember, a vehicle gets zero miles per gallon when idling and the result is lower fuel economy and wasted money.”

The idea of idling before driving dates back to when cars were built with carburetors. With new fuel-injection technology, complex computer systems and thinner synthetic oils, drivers don’t need to warm up their cars before hitting the road.

Winter Car Care Tips- Warming UpAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “When a car idles for more than 30 seconds, it has several negative effects, such as increasing air pollution unnecessarily, wasting fuel and money, and causing excessive wear or even damaging a car’s engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs, and the exhaust system. Contrary to popular belief, idling isn’t an effective way to warm up most car engines.”

The non-profit Car Care Council has a free 80-page Car Care Guide for motorists that features several pages of fuel economy and environmental awareness tips. Available in English and Spanish, the popular guide uses easy-to-understand everyday language rather than technical automotive jargon, fits easily in a glove box and can be ordered by visiting http://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 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/2015/01/idle-idle-question/

Six Quick Tips for Sub-Zero Winter Driving

When it comes to winter car care, many motorists think of antifreeze and batteries, but vehicles need extra attention when temperatures drop below zero. The non-profit Car Care Council offers six quick tips to help your vehicle perform at its best during cold weather months.

1) Keep the gas tank at least half full; this decreases the chance of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.

2) Check the tire pressure, including the spare, as tires can lose pressure when temperatures drop. Consider special tires if snow and ice are a problem in your area.

3) Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.

4) Allow your car a little more time to warm up when temperatures are below freezing so that the oil in the engine and transmission circulate and get warm.

5) Change to low-viscosity oil in winter as it will flow more easily between moving parts when it is cold. Drivers in sub-zero temperatures should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.

6) Consider using cold weather washer fluid and special winter windshield blades if you live in a place with especially harsh winter conditions.

“Sub-zero temperatures can have a real impact on your vehicle,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance and rough idling, and very cold temperatures reduce battery power. If you haven’t had your vehicle checked recently, a thorough vehicle inspection is a good idea so you can avoid the aggravation and unexpected cost of a breakdown in freezing weather.”

As a precaution, motorists should be sure their vehicle is stocked with an emergency kit containing an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

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.

As read on: http://www.carcare.org/2015/01/six-quick-tips-sub-zero-winter-driving/

September is National Preparedness Month: Make Sure Your Car is Ready if Disaster Hits

Would your car be ready if you had to leave at a moment’s notice? If you were stranded in your car, would you be prepared? During National Preparedness Month in September, the non-profit Car Care Council is reminding drivers of the importance of regular maintenance and do-it-yourself checks, as well as a stocked emergency kit.

“Emergencies and natural disasters come in a variety of forms, and you don’t always have time to prepare,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “It is important and gives you peace of mind to know that your vehicle is always ready for the task.”

The Car Care Council recommends checking the following to make sure your car is ready for the unexpected:

Tire Tread: Tire tread helps your car grip the road. Having low tire tread is especially dangerous when driving in wet, flood-like, snowy or icy conditions. Check your tread easily with a penny.

Tire pressure: Pressure that is too low or too high can affect gas mileage, tread wear and vehicle performance. Check your tires once a month when they are still cold, using the PSI (pounds per square inch) number located on the driver door or in the owner’s manual.

Fluids Check: Check your car’s fluids once a month or take a peek when you fill the gas tank. Top off fluids, such as your oil and coolant, and visit a technician if you suspect a leak.

Belts: A broken engine belt can literally stop you in your tracks. Look for signs of excessive wear or looseness.

Brakes: Your vehicle’s brakes are very important for safety; make sure they are ready in any condition. Have your brakes inspected by a technician once a year, and be aware of any signs of brake trouble, including noise, pulling and vibration while braking.

Battery: Even in a non-emergency, it is stressful when your car does not start. Extreme temperatures, such as summer and winter, can wear the battery. A technician can test that the battery is charging at the correct rate. If your battery is three years or older, it may need to be replaced.

Emergency Kit: A vehicle emergency kit should include jumper cables, a road atlas, first-aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries, water, non-perishable food and blankets. Keep a copy of the Car Care Council’s new Car Care Guide in your glove box for information on vehicle systems and maintenance. Order your free copy online at http://www.carcare.org/car-care-guide.

For more information on how to stay safe behind the wheel when a disaster hits, download the information sheet from the American Public Health Association’s Get Ready program: http://www.getreadyforflu.org/facts/DrivingDisastersWeb.pdf.

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/2014/09/september-national-preparedness-month-make-sure-car-ready-disaster-hits/

Is Your Car Road Ready?

If your vacation plans include a road trip, the last thing you want is to have unexpected car trouble to leave you stranded at the side of the road, ruining all the fun. A pre-trip vehicle check is the best way to be car care aware and ensure that your car is ready to get you to your destination, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

The Car Care Council recommends the following pre-trip checklist before hitting the road this summer:

–         Check the brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.

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

–         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 the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Underinflated 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 that the gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2014/05/is-your-car-road-ready-for-summer/

9 Ways to Prepare Your Car for Winter Weather

Winterizing your vehicle is a wise idea, says the Car Care Council.  An investment of an hour or two to have your vehicle checked is all it takes to have peace of mind and help avoid the cost and hassle of a breakdown during severe weather.

“The last thing any driver needs is a vehicle that breaks down in cold, harsh winter weather,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A vehicle check before the temperatures drop is a sensible way to avoid the inconvenience of being stranded out in the cold and with the unexpected expense of emergency repairs.”

The Car Care Council recommends the following nine steps for winterizing your vehicle.

  1. Have the battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
  2. Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
  3. Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  4. 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.
  5. Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
  6. If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
  7. Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
  8. Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
  9. Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.

Watch the Winter Car Care Minute video here!

Motorists should also keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Drivers should check the tire pressure of the spare in the trunk and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

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.