Archive for the ‘check tires’ Tag

Six Ways You Could be Killing Your Car

Owning a car can be a dream or a nightmare depending on how well you take care of your vehicle, says the non-profit Car Care Council. The following are six things that many motorists do that can harm their car and their wallet.

1. Ignoring the check engine light. Ignoring an illuminated check engine light can result in serious engine trouble and costly repairs. At the very least, this warning light could alert you to an engine problem that is negatively impacting fuel economy.

2. Failing to change fluids and filters. Many fluids are required for the operation and protection of vehicle systems and components. Checking fluid levels regularly, along with the filters, helps ensure that your vehicle runs dependably and extends vehicle life.

3. Neglecting your tires. Your vehicle’s tires should be checked frequently for inflation and tread depth. Underinflated tires can wear out more quickly, needing to be replaced sooner, and can negatively impact safety, gas mileage and performance.

4. Not following a service schedule. Because many car parts and components wear out or become damaged over time, vehicles need to be routinely serviced in order to perform optimally. Routine inspections and timely repairs will help keep your car running efficiently and will help you avoid more expensive repairs down the road.

5. Keeping a dirty car. Allowing your car to go too long without a wash leads to buildup of damaging chemicals and dirt, increases the potential for rust from road salt and interferes with proper visibility needed for safe driving.

6. Being a severe driver. Whether it’s stop-and-go traffic, extreme weather, rough roads or heavy loads, it can sometimes be difficult to limit severe driving conditions. However, you can drive smart and improve fuel economy by observing the speed limit; avoiding aggressive driving, including quick starts and stops; not hauling unnecessary items; and keeping your vehicle properly tuned.

“Because auto care isn’t always a top priority for car owners, they might not realize they are doing things that adversely affect the performance, safety and value of their car,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Routine maintenance can go a long way toward saving money, avoiding headaches and protecting your vehicle investment.”

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 the latest car care news, visit the council’s online media room at http://media.carcare.org. To order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit the council’s consumer education website at http://www.carcare.org.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/six-ways-killing-car/

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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/

5 Winter Car Care Tips

Sometimes, it may be easy to forget about giving your car the tender loving care it needs to stay healthy. But with the heavy snow, icy roads and cold weather that winter can bring, now is the time to make sure to care for your vehicle.

Cold weather makes pliable material stiffer and more brittle and can make fluids thicker. If you live an area with severe winter weather, you know how dangerous the roads can get and the unique problems winter weather can create for your car.

So, take a look through our list of top five winter car care tips:


1. Take your car in for a tune-up.

If you haven’t taken your car to the shop for a while, now is the time to do so. A tune-up will help keep your car running longer and may save you money by detecting potential problems early.


2. Check your tires.

On slippery or icy roads, your tires are extremely important to giving you stability and controlled handling. So, make sure to check your tires’ pressure and wear. You can place a penny on its edge in a tread groove to test a tire’s tread. If you can see the top of his hair or any of the tires background, it is time to replace your tires. Do this in several spots because tires don’t wear evenly. You should also take your tires in to get rotated and properly balanced. If you’re in an area with particularly severe winter weather, you should consider purchasing a set of snow tires, which are made specifically for snowy and icy surfaces.


3. Check your fluids levels.

Make sure you check that the transmission, brake, power steering and windshield washer fluids and coolants are filled to proper levels. You should use de-icer windshield washer fluid which will help clear light ice and frost while preventing re-freezing.


4. Make a winter emergency kit.

In addition to the emergency road kit you should already have in your car, it is a good idea to have a special winter car kit. This kit should include things like cat litter or sand for tire traction on snow and ice, an ice scraper and de-icing liquid.


5. Check your air filters.

During the summer and fall, contaminants can get caught in your air filters and will eventually get caught inside your vehicle and cause problems. If you see any debris caught on the filter, it’s a good idea to get the filter replaced.

Read more at: http://blog.allstate.com/5-winter-car-care-tips/

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.

Winterizing Your Car

Winter is right around the corner. Depending on where you live, colder weather and shorter days will bring some driving challenges. Don’t wait to winterize your car if you haven’t done so yet. This is also a good time to prepare yourself for the need to change your driving habits with the change of seasons. A little preparation now can give you added confidence when things get slippery. For folks that know “winter is coming”, here is some advice on what you need to do right now for safe winter driving.

Winterizing Your Car Starts With This

An inspection. It’s a good idea to give your car a thorough inspection once or twice a year. There is no better time to do this than in the fall, before the cold weather sets in. Even if you live in a more moderate climate, the days are shorter in the winter months, so you will likely use your lights more often. That’s why looking over things like headlights and signal lights are a good idea. Many automotive service centers will do a comprehensive check for free. But even if it costs you a small fee, the safety value is priceless.

3

Check Antifreeze

Starting with the obvious, you need to make sure that your antifreeze has adequate freeze-protection for the climate. Properly mixed antifreeze also adds an important measure of corrosion protection to the car’s cooling system. The normal 50/50 ratio between water and antifreeze can get watered down if you’ve kept adding water when topping it off. Also, antifreeze should be changed periodically as needed (check your owner’s manual). A mechanic can use a simple antifreeze/coolant testing tool to quickly measure whether the concentration of antifreeze is adequate to protect your engine. If the recommendation is for a “flush and fill”, this is money well spent. It just might save your engine block from cracking due to water freezing inside.

Check Belts and Hoses

Also take a look at the belts and hoses, as a failure there can leave you stranded without warning. Look for any signs of cracking.

Check Tires

The next obvious thing is the tires. If you live in a region that requires it, a snow tire may need to be fitted for the season. If you live in the mountains, you may need to keep a set of tire-chains in your trunk. If not, you should make sure you have sufficient tread of the correct design for your climate.

Less Obvious Things to Check

Now for the not so obvious. When you are checking the cooling system, make sure the engine thermostat is working as designed. A malfunctioning thermostat can make a car overheat, but a lesser known problem in the winter is that it will take the car longer to warm up, making it uncomfortable to drive and causing a reduction in fuel economy.

While you are at it, make sure the defroster works. You never know how much you need a defroster until you miss it. Something that is easily overlooked is the windshield washer fluid. Properly mixed, it will not freeze, and it can be a vital aid for clearing the windshield.

With these things out of the way, a cursory check of the brakes, suspension, and lights is always a good idea. If your wipers are no longer up to the task, or you can’t remember the last time you changed them, go ahead and do it now. Better safe than sorry.

Winter Safety Tips: What to Keep in Your Trunk

It’s a good time to get some basic winter-related safety items in the trunk. This is another thing that varies by the driving conditions you may encounter, a basic list of winter safety items could include:

Flares

Blanket

Sand bag(s)

Shovel

Flashlight

Drinking water (leave room for freezing)

Non-perishable snacks

Ice scraper

First Aid Kit

Jumper cables

More Car Winterizing Tips

Here a few simple tips to make your winter driving easier:

A little smear of petroleum jelly on the door weatherstrips will help keep your doors from freezing shut.

A small shot of WD40 keeps door locks from freezing.
If your door lock does freeze, heat the metal key with a cigarette lighter before putting it in the lock to help thaw it out. Never force the key.

Pull your visors down to a vertical position when you run your defroster to help trap the warm air against the windshield.

Your floor mats can be a traction aid in an emergency. Place them in front of the drive wheels and slowly try and pull out, it works more often than not.

Read more at: http://www.carfax.com/blog/winterizing-your-car/