Archive for the ‘tires’ Tag

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/

Better Driving Habits Help Family Finances and the Environment

According to the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), motorists can help the environment and their own finances by incorporating a few good practices. Regular vehicle maintenance and better driving habits are two simple ways any car owner can go “green” — both for the environment and one’s own wallet.

Here are a few specific, easy-to-implement tips from ASE:

– Keep the engine running at its peak performance. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent. Replace filters and fluids as recommended in the manual. A well-tuned engine pollutes less and uses less. Moreover, neglected engine performance problems can cause costly repairs over time.

– If you do your own repairs, be a good steward of the environment. Dispose of engine fluids and batteries properly. A single quart of used motor oil can pollute thousands of gallons of water. Antifreeze poured on the ground can poison wildlife and household pets. Check around at local repair facilities to see if they accept used fluids and parts, or call your local government agencies for information on proper disposal and recycling.

– Keep tires properly inflated and aligned. If your air pressure is low, you force the engine to work harder and burn more gasoline. Tires that are misaligned also make your vehicle work harder. Consider, too, that poorly maintained tires wear out faster, which means more discards have to be scraped, recycled, or sent to the landfill.

– If weekend car tinkering is not your idea of fun, find a dependable ASE-certified technician. Ask friends for recommendations. Check the reputation of the repair shop with your local consumer group. Check out the technician’s specific credentials. ASE-certified auto technicians are tested for specific skills and knowledge in national exams, such as engine performance, brakes or suspension.

– Have your vehicle’s air conditioning system serviced only by a technician qualified to handle and recycle refrigerants. Older systems contain ozone-depleting chemicals, which could be released into the atmosphere through improper service. If you have used any over-the-counter remedies such as system sealants or self-service refrigerants, let the technician know prior to servicing the vehicle.

– Avoid speeding and sudden accelerations. Both habits guzzle gas and put extra wear-and-tear on your vehicle’s engine, transmission, steering and suspension system, and other components. Use cruise control and anticipate traffic patterns ahead. As a side benefit, your brakes will last longer, too.

– Consolidate daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. When waiting for friends or family, shut off the engine. Park in a central location at the shopping center, and walk from store to store, rather than drive from one end to the other.

– Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage. Remove that roof-top luggage carrier after vacations to reduce air drag.

While there is no single vehicle that’s ideal for every lifestyle, regular car care and gentler driving lets you maximize gas mileage for your particular make and model — saving you money and helping the environment.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) was founded in 1972 as a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive professionals. ASE-certified technicians wear blue and white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the ASE sign. Shops with a high percentage of ASE-certified technicians often participate in the Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition Program.

Read more at: http://www.ase.com/News-Events/Publications/Glove-Box-Tips/Better-Driving-Habits-Help-Family-Finances-and-the.aspx

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.

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/

Cool weather and tire pressure: Protect yourself

Proper inflation of your tires is essential during the cold winter months.

The cooler temperatures can cause the air in your vehicle’s tires to contract and thus make your tire pressure fluctuate. Tires need to have proper grip to the pavement so that you, as the driver, can control the vehicle.

A tire that is grossly underinflated can separate from the wheel rim, causing an accident. An underinflated tire creates friction that can cause the tread to separate and the tire to fail. Underinflated tires also wear more quickly and burn more gasoline.

You should check your tire pressure more often in the winter months. Less sunlight and colder ambient temperatures will reduce your tire pressure about 1 pound per square inch (PSI) for every 10-degree Fahrenheit change in the thermometer.

That is, if you last checked your tires on a 70-degree summer morning, they could lose 3 psi when the temperature drops to 40.
How to set tire pressures
The tires on your car should be set to the pressures listed in your owner’s manual or on the door edge.You may find recommended “cold” pressures; that means you should set the tire to this pressure before the car has been driven, which warms and expands the air inside the tire. You may also find maximum allowable pressures listed. An overinflated tire can lose grip and wear unevenly.

Vehicles built since 2007 include tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) as standard equipment, a safety feature required by the federal government. At minimum, your car should provide an alert if one or more of your tires falls below a minimum tire pressure. Some cars offer a real-time readout that displays the current tire pressures at each corner of the car.
TPMS is an important safety feature, but do not expect an insurance discount for cars so equipped. (See how your choice of car affects your car insurance and discounts.)
While TPMS alerts a driver to pressures that have fallen into a dangerous zone, you should check tires regularly even without a warning light. Tire pressure gauges are readily available and inexpensive; a digital or dial gauge will be more reliable and easier to read than an old-fashioned pen-style gauge. You’ll see these benefits:

A properly inflated tire improves gas mileage. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that underinflated tires waste 2 billion gallons of gasoline a year.
A properly inflated tire wears more slowly. If you see tires wearing on their edges but not at their centers, your tires are underinflated. Conversely, worn centers are a sign of overinflation.
A properly inflated tire is safer. Your car is putting more rubber on the pavement, which means handling is more secure and braking is more stable.

Many people tend to forget to check their spare tire as well; check the spare when you change your oil and you’ll avoid an expensive road-service claim.

As read on: http://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/content197.aspx