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A Little Auto Care Goes a Long Way

Performing simple preventative maintenance on your vehicle will go a long way toward protecting your vehicle investment, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

“Buying a new car today comes with a hefty price tag when you add up the down payment, monthly car payments and higher insurance rates. Neglecting its care can mean even higher costs down the line in the form of more extensive repairs and lost resale value,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “By following a proactive auto care plan, the typical car should deliver at least 200,000 miles of safe, dependable, efficient and enjoyable performance.”

National Car Care Month in April is the perfect time of year to give your car some extra attention. The Car Care Council recommends following a vehicle service schedule, keeping a free copy of the council’s Car Care Guide in the glovebox and performing the most common routine maintenance procedures to keep your vehicle performing at its best.

  • Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  • Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
  • Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  • Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
  • Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and safety reasons, such as defrosting.
  • Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

“Be sure to fully inspect your vehicle annually, including performing a tune-up and wheel alignment,” continued White. “If you ever suspect there is a problem, it’s a good idea to address it quickly before minor repairs become more complicated, expensive 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 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 www.carcare.org.

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Source: Car Care

Basic Tire Maintenance for Every Driver

The tires are the only thing between the vehicle and the road. When they are properly inflated and in good condition, the handling, stability and safety of the vehicle will be maximized. Conversely, when the tires are under inflated, worn out or damaged, all of the safety systems on the vehicle cannot overcome the loss of control that comes with a blow-out or hydroplaning situation. Air pressure in a tire is like oil in an engine; when it is low, the resulting internal damage is unseen until it is too late. Tires naturally lose 1-2 psi per month, so ongoing neglect will eventually result in a tire that cannot support the weight of the vehicle and the occupants. When this happens, the resulting blow-out can result in the loss of control and an accident.

It’s also important to rotate the tires on the vehicle every 5-7,000 miles. Today’s front-wheel-drive vehicles cause the steer tires to wear at a much faster rate than the tires on the rear axle. By periodically rotating the front tires to the back and the back tires to the front, motorists can achieve even treadwear on all four tires and increase the mileage and performance. Failing to rotate the tires often results in the front tires wearing out faster while the rear tires develop irregular treadwear patterns that cause vibrations. The same can be said for alignments. When the vehicle is not properly aligned, the tires will wear out faster which leads to increased operating costs.

Finally, drivers should perform a visual inspection of their tires on a regular basis, especially after hitting a pothole, curb or any type of road debris. Bulges, cuts and other visible damage weaken the internal components of the tire, which can lead to a blow-out. Regular visual inspections will often identify any potential problems before they result in an accident. It’s also a good idea to have the tires inspected by a professional before any long road trips to ensure there are no obvious out-of-service conditions that must be addressed.

Written by: Kevin Rohlwing, Senior VP of Training, Tire Industry Association

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Source: Car Care

Trending Now: April is National Car Care Month

 Each spring, vehicle maintenance is a trending topic across the country because April is National Car Care Month. This year will be no exception as the non-profit Car Care Council shares the benefits of routine vehicle maintenance via its website and social media platforms.

“With more and more motorists turning to cell phones, mobile devices and the internet for auto care information, we’ve made it easier than ever to learn about vehicle service and repair by simply following the Car Care Council online,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “During National Car Care Month and throughout the year, we are constantly sharing information to help motorists keep their vehicles operating safely, dependably and efficiently, so be sure to check our website and social media platforms often.”

By following the Car Care Council on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest, motorists will receive quick car care tips and reminders. For more in-depth vehicle service information and videos, the Car Care Council website (www.carcare.org) is filled with useful information to help motorists navigate common maintenance procedures and better understand auto repair needs. Visitors can find learn about specific vehicle systems, sign up for the free custom service schedule, and order a copy of the popular 80-page Car Care Guide at no charge.

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 www.carcare.org.

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Source: Car Care

Invest Tax Refund in Auto Care and Earn Valuable Dividends

Although you may be thinking of ways to splurge with your tax refund, the Car Care Council recommends something more practical – invest some of that money in auto care and reap the financial benefits.

“According to the Internal Revenue Service, the average tax refund is over $3,100. By simply allocating a portion to vehicle maintenance and service, you will realize big dividends in the form of safety and dependability,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “The benefits of auto care don’t stop there. Your vehicle will perform more efficiently, saving money at the pump, and its useful life will be extended, postponing the major expense of purchasing a new car.”

With proper care, the typical vehicle should deliver at least 200,000 miles of safe, dependable performance. The most common routine maintenance procedures and repairs include checking the oil, filters and fluids, belts and hoses, brakes, tires and the HVAC system. The non-profit Car Care Council also recommends an annual tune-up and wheel alignment.

To help you get the most out of your vehicle investment and protect its long-term value, visit the Car Care Council’s website at www.carcare.org and sign up for the 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 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 www.carcare.org.

The post Invest Tax Refund in Auto Care and Earn Valuable Dividends appeared first on Be Car Care Aware.

Source: Car Care

Recognizing the Signs of Vehicle Engine Damage

It’s not always easy to recognize when your vehicle is suffering from engine damage as symptoms can be overlooked and seen as “normal.” While not all sounds and smells may threaten the life of your engine, there are some obvious warning signs that require a vehicle inspection right away, according to the Car Care Council.

“Early diagnosis of engine damage can most likely be treated, but it is important to be aware of potentially damaging symptoms and have the vehicle inspected if something doesn’t seem right,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “By acting quickly and making necessary repairs as soon as possible, you could be saving yourself from the cost and hassle of breaking down along the road.”

One of the signs of engine trouble is an illuminated check engine light. This light indicates 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. Ignoring the check engine light can negatively impact your fuel economy or cause damage resulting in more costly repairs.

Many motorists are familiar with the noises their vehicles make on a daily basis. However, any noise that is new, different or suspicious may indicate a problem, including a high-pitched squeal, grinding or thumping. Sounds under the hood, such as hissing, can also indicate that your vehicle is in need of attention.

Although all cars burn fossil fuels that create undesired emissions, these odors should remain outside of the car. Unusual smells that could signal engine damage include: burnt rubber, hot oil, gasoline, sweet smell of syrup, burning carpet and rotten eggs. When you smell any peculiar odor, you should not ignore it.

Another symptom of engine damage is excessive amounts of smoke or steam. Although some smoke is normal, excessive amounts of dark smoke in particular indicates that oil is leaking into the combustion chamber and is being burned along with the gasoline.

To help you stay on track with essential auto care intervals, sign up for the Car Care Council 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 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 www.carcare.org.

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Source: Car Care

Valentine’s Day TLC for the One You Love: Your Car

TLCinfluencerYour car doesn’t ask for much. It’s always there for you, getting you where you need to go. A little extra care this Valentine’s Day in the form of an oil change, tune-up and basic service is the perfect gift for the one who keeps you going.

“Don’t let your car break your heart by neglecting to take care of it,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Being car care aware can add years of useful life to your relationship with your vehicle and keep you from being stranded because of an unexpected breakdown.”

The non-profit Car Care Council recommends a little tender loving auto care this Valentine’s Day and beyond.

  • Schedule a tune-up annually to optimize your car’s performance. A well-tuned engine delivers the best balance of power and fuel economy and produces the lowest level of emissions.
  • Change the oil and filter per the owner’s manual. Periodic oil and filter changes keep your engine clean on the inside.
  • Check the tire pressure monthly, including the spare. Your car’s tires affect its ride, handling, traction and safety.
  • Have the alignment checked annually. Potholes and other road conditions, as well as normal wear, can take their toll on your car’s steering and suspension. A wheel alignment reduces tire wear, improves fuel economy and handling, and increases driving enjoyment and safety.
  • Inspect the windshield wipers and lights on the car. Lights and wipers play a major role in safe driving, and they are normal wear items that need periodic replacement.

The Car Care Council has a free custom service schedule to help make vehicle ownership more enjoyable, economical and convenient so you can keep your relationship with your car on track.

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.

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Source: Car Care

As New Car Prices Rise, Maintaining Current Vehicle Makes Financial Sense

As New Car Prices Rise, Maintaining Current Vehicle Makes Financial SenseWith the cost of a new vehicle on the rise, the non-profit Car Care Council reminds drivers that maintaining their current vehicle makes more economic sense than purchasing a new one.

The average price of a new passenger vehicle is nearly $34,000, according to Kelley Blue Book, while IHS Markit reports that average vehicle age has risen to 11.5 years.

“In the early 1970s, the average new vehicle cost only about $3,900,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “While the price of a new vehicle has skyrocketed over the years, the good news is that today’s cars are lasting longer than ever before. Keeping your current vehicle, and maintaining it at recommended intervals, protects its trade-in value and postpones the sting of new-car prices.”

Regular Maintenance is Key. The best way to ensure a vehicle’s longevity is to observe a regular service schedule. Keep up with fluid and filter changes, tire checks and other routine maintenance. Over time, some car parts and components wear out or become damaged, so the smart investment is to replace these typical wear items before long-term damage ensues. In addition to the maintenance schedule outlined in the owner’s manual, the Car Care Council offers a free custom service schedule to help remind motorists of essential auto care intervals.

Heed the Warning Signs. Vehicles have ways of communicating that trouble may be on the horizon. Illuminated dashboard warning lights, such as the check engine light, indicate that key vehicle systems need inspection as soon as possible. Pay attention to any new or unusual vehicle sounds, such as squealing, thumping, hissing or grinding as they can indicate a problem. Unusual smells, such as burnt rubber, hot oil, gasoline, rotten eggs, burning carpet or the sweet smell of syrup can also indicate a serious problem.

Keep It Clean. Washing and waxing a vehicle on a regular basis protects its value. A thorough cleaning inside and out prevents the buildup of dirt and damaging chemicals that can harm the finish, reduces the potential for rust from road salt, and ensures proper visibility needed for safe driving.

“If you see, hear or smell anything unusual, be sure to have your vehicle inspected so you can address minor repairs before they become more complicated, expensive repairs,” concluded White.

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 www.carcare.org.

The post As New Car Prices Rise, Maintaining Current Vehicle Makes Financial Sense appeared first on Be Car Care Aware.

Source: Car Care

Ask Six Simple Questions to Select the Right Auto Repair Shop

The non-profit Car Care Council recommends asking six simple questions to help identify the right auto repair shop to properly care for one of your most valuable assets, your car.

ask-six-simple-questions-to-select-the-right-auto-repair-shop

  1. Does the business employ ASE-certified technicians? Credentials and affiliations are indicators of professionalism and the management’s commitment to training and education.
  2. Is the shop and customer waiting area clean and organized? Cleanliness and organization are signs of a well-run business.
  3. Are customers greeted and treated in a friendly and respectful manner? Many auto repair businesses excel in the area of customer service and satisfaction. A simple phone call to the shop to inquire about their services can give you a glimpse of how they treat customers.
  4. Does the business provide a written estimate? The business should complete a written estimate and request your signature prior to starting any repairs on your car.
  5. Does the business offer a warranty? Most auto repair businesses offer a warranty on parts and labor and the warranty is usually in writing or posted in the waiting area.
  6. Does the business have a list of satisfied customers or references that it is willing to give you? Satisfied customers and recommendations from family, friends and neighbors are helpful in finding a good shop. Many auto repair facilities also have company websites that are worth checking out as they often include testimonials and additional information about the business.

“A vehicle is a major purchase for most people, so it makes sense to take the time to select an auto repair facility that will take the best care of that investment,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Being an informed auto care consumer means not only learning about your vehicle and its service needs, but also the facility that will make the repairs.”

The Car Care Council video entitled “Auto Service and Repair: What to Expect” provides valuable information on such topics as what to expect at the shop and covers the real truth about consumer rights and the manufacturer’s warranty.

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 www.carcare.org.

The post Ask Six Simple Questions to Select the Right Auto Repair Shop appeared first on Be Car Care Aware.

Source: Car Care

Auto Care: An Easy Resolution That Makes Financial Sense

autoresolutionWith the cost of a new vehicle on the rise, the non-profit Car Care Council reminds drivers that caring for your current vehicle is an easy new year’s resolution to keep, making more economic sense than purchasing a new one.

“During the holiday season, many people bust the budget and then resolve to save money in the coming year,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Many resolutions quickly go by the wayside, but it’s an easy decision to keep your current vehicle and maintain it at recommended intervals. Auto care makes financial sense, protecting the trade-in value and postponing the sting of new car prices.”

While the average price of a new passenger vehicle has risen to nearly $34,000 according to Kelley Blue Book, IHS Markit reports that the average vehicle age is now 11.6 years. The good news for car owners is that today’s vehicles are lasting longer than ever before and by following three simple auto care tips, they can protect their vehicle investment and address minor issues before they become more complicated, expensive repairs.

Regular Maintenance is Key. The best way to ensure a vehicle’s longevity is to observe a regular service schedule. Keep up with fluid and filter changes, tire checks and other routine maintenance. Over time, some car parts and components wear out or become damaged, so the smart investment is to replace these typical wear items before long-term damage ensues. In addition to the maintenance schedule outlined in the owner’s manual, the Car Care Council offers a free custom service schedule to help remind motorists of essential auto care intervals.

Heed the Warning Signs. Vehicles have ways of communicating that trouble may be on the horizon. Illuminated dashboard warning lights, such as the check engine light, indicate that key vehicle systems need inspection as soon as possible. Pay attention to any new or unusual vehicle sounds, such as squealing, thumping, hissing or grinding as they can indicate a problem. Unusual smells, such as burnt rubber, hot oil, gasoline, rotten eggs, burning carpet or the sweet smell of syrup can also indicate a serious problem.

Keep It Clean. Washing and waxing a vehicle on a regular basis protects its value. A thorough cleaning inside and out prevents the buildup of dirt and damaging chemicals that can harm the finish, reduces the potential for rust from road salt, and ensures proper visibility needed for safe driving.

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 www.carcare.org.

The post Auto Care: An Easy Resolution That Makes Financial Sense appeared first on Be Car Care Aware.

Source: Car Care

Avoid Surprise, Winterize

avoidAs you say goodbye to autumn, winterizing your vehicle should be a top priority. The non-profit Car Care Council recommends that motorists perform a six-point winter maintenance check of areas that have direct impact on winter driving.

“Harsh winter weather can stress out a vehicle, as well as its driver,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A vehicle that is properly prepared for the elements can help you avoid an unplanned road emergency when the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse.”

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Brakes – Have the brake system checked. Brakes are critical to vehicle safety and particularly important when driving on icy or snow-covered roads.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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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 www.carcare.org.

 

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Source: Car Care