web analytics

Archive | Auto Life

Don’t forget to replace your vehicle’s brake hardware

For a few extra dollars, car owners can enhance vehicle safety and protect their investment in brake pads and shoes by replacing their vehicle’s brake hardware.

For a few extra dollars, car owners can enhance vehicle safety and protect their investment in brake pads and shoes by replacing their vehicle’s brake hardware.

(NAPS)—Brakes are a critical component for maintaining vehicle safety. Whether it’s trying to stop your vehicle on an icy, snow-packed road or slowing down on a rain-soaked highway, properly functioning brakes are key to maintaining control of the vehicle.

However, brake wear can compromise vehicle performance and, ultimately, threaten vehicle safety. AAA encourages motorists to have a certified technician inspect their brakes to ensure they are ready for whatever Mother Nature has to offer.

In an article featured on theautochannel.com, John Nielsen, director, AAA Auto Repair and Buying Services, noted that there are several warning signs that motorists should closely monitor to identify and resolve brake wear before it can impact vehicle safety.

“Often, the first sign of worn brakes is a brake pedal that seems to require more pressure to stop the vehicle. Scraping, squeaking or chirping noises that come from the wheels when the brakes are applied are other signs of potentially excessive brake wear. A car that pulls to the left or right when the brakes are applied could also mean trouble,” Nielsen said.

He further advises consumers to ask for an annual brake inspection when taking their vehicle into an auto repair shop for service.

Complete Brake Inspection Includes Hardware

According to Chris Miller, Product Development Engineer, of International Brake Industries (IBI), consumers should ask their technician to also inspect their vehicle’s brake hardware in order to ensure that their vehicle receives a complete brake job.

Miller explained that brake noise is the No. 1 cause of dissatisfaction and complaints about brake systems. Brake noise is usually caused by the vibration of components that are not properly installed and secured—typically, it’s not the fault of brake pads or shoes, but it can more likely be caused by worn-out brake hardware.

He added that, like most mechanical parts, brake hardware will wear out over time and can’t function if the parts are corroded or stretched. If brake hardware is worn, it can even cause newly installed brake pads to wear out prematurely, reducing the life span of the pads and shoes.

Brake hardware—including clips, bolts, rubber bushings, rubber seals and springs—is integral to the proper operation of the vehicle’s entire braking system.

“It’s very common for drivers to leave an auto repair shop with newly replaced pads and shoes, but still experience brake noise because their brake hardware was not replaced,” Miller said. “We have a simple message for consumers: For a few extra dollars, you can protect your investment in brake pads and shoes and ensure optimum performance by also replacing your vehicle’s brake hardware.”

Superior Brake Performance

To reduce brake noise and drag (that is, brake pad friction, which can affect fuel economy), IBI recently introduced the new line of QuietGlide® brake clips. QuietGlide brake clips feature a coating of vulcanized rubber on one side to reduce brake noise and a low-friction PTFE coating on the other side of the clip to reduce drag.

By installing new QuietGlide brake clips, consumers are truly receiving a complete brake job—ensuring smoother, quieter riding brakes and extending the life of their brake pads and shoes.

For more information, visit www.completebrakejob.com.

Posted in Auto LifeComments (0)

Parents play a big role in keeping teen drivers safe

 

(c) National Safety Council

(c) National Safety Council

(StatePoint) For teens, getting behind a wheel can seem like an exciting taste of freedom. But too much leeway too soon can have dangerous results. Car crashes are the number one killer of teens, and half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating high school, reports the National Safety Council (NSC).

Luckily, states with a Teen Safe Driving Coalition are helping change the game. The Coalitions — comprised of state and local government, law enforcement, public health agencies, traffic safety and injury prevention organizations, academia, businesses, teens, parents and crash survivors — were established by NSC and The Allstate Foundation. They have worked at the grassroots level for the last four years to educate parents and teens about the risks of teen driving. Coalitions exist in California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas to offer solutions for parents to help teens be safer.

The results have been effective. Crashes involving 15- to 17- year-old drivers in Coalition states have dropped nearly 34 percent since the Coalitions were established four years ago, whereas non-coalition states have experienced just a 19.5 percent drop, according to NSC analysis of federal fatality data.

The Coalitions’ success is in part because they promote a program that indisputably saves lives. Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), a proven method of reducing teen drivers’ crash risk by 20 to 40 percent, works by maximizing experience while minimizing common driving risks teens face, such as nighttime driving and carrying teen passengers. This allows new drivers to gain experience with less exposure to high-risk scenarios. All 50 states and D.C. have implemented some form of GDL.

“Beyond legislation, parents have a role to play as well,” says Kathy Bernstein, senior manager of teen driving initiatives, NSC. “As the number one resource when it comes to teaching teens to drive, parents should stay involved well after teens get their licenses.”

With that in mind, Bernstein is offering some life-saving tips to families with new drivers:

  • Parents should drive with teens regularly even after they receive their license. A minimum of 30 minutes weekly can help ensure that safe driving skills are being employed.
  • Talk with teens about managing distractions, such as phones — both handheld and hands-free — the radio, other young passengers, and even beautiful roadside scenery. When teens are driving, they must stay focused on the task at hand.
  • Mile for mile, 16 and 17 year-old drivers are about three times as likely​ to be involved in a fatal car crash at night than during the day, according to “Injury Prevention,” a peer review journal. Parents should give teens opportunities to learn nighttime driving skills with an adult supervisor in the car.
  • One of the best ways for teens to learn to drive is by example. So practice safe habits always.
  • Visit the Drive it Home site at www.DriveitHome.org for resources, such as weekly driving lessons and the New Driver Deal, a contract which parents and teens can create together that outlines household driving rules and the consequences for breaking them.

“Remember, it’s not whether teens are ‘good kids’ or ‘responsible.’ New drivers share one thing in common — lack of experience,” says Bernstein. “The more practice driving teens get, the better.”

Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments (0)

Tire Safety Week – May 24th to 30th

CAR-Tires

 

It’s National Tire Safety Week.  When you check your tire pressures, don’t forget the spare!

Be TireWise, because the only thing between you and the road are your tires.  Yearly estimates back up that statement. On average:

• Drivers in the United States put more than 2,969 billion miles on their tires,

• There are nearly 11,000 tire-related crashes, and

• Almost 200 people will die in those crashes.

Many of these crashes can be prevented through proper tire maintenance—including tire inflation and rotation—and understanding tire labels, tire aging, and recalls and complaints.

Because safety is our top priority, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation want to make sure you have the tools to avoid being in one of those 11,000 crashes. TireWise (www.safercar.gov/tires/index.html) is your resource to help you make smart decisions to keep you and your family safe, whether you’re in the market to buy new tires or want to extend the life and safety of the ones on your car or truck.

TireWise is also a resource for tire manufacturers, sellers and other partners to provide essential information to consumers for choosing and caring for their tires.

The next time you’re in the garage, remember these handy tips to get the most out of your tires.

#BeTireSmart

Stay Safe. Drive Smart.

The mission is to move Toward Zero Deaths on Michigan Roadways. The statewide interim goal is to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all roadways from 889 and 5,706 respectively in 2011 to 750 and 4,800 in 2016.

The number of reported fatalities statewide is 281 as of May 26, an increase of 19 from last week. In addition, 1,450 serious injuries have occurred on roadways statewide, an increase of 95.

Visit www.michigan.gov/zerodeaths for more info.

Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments Off

Tips for dealing with potholes

CAR-Pothole-birthofPOTHOLE

Be vigilant—extra vigilant

From MDOT

Stating the obvious here: it’s best to avoid hitting potholes whenever possible. That’s easier to do if you’re driving cautiously, and not tailgating, so you have more time to see and react to any potholes you’re approaching.

Potholes aren’t always obvious in the daylight; they’re even harder to spot in the dark. Make sure your headlights are working and your windshield is clear.

Be extra cautious around puddles—they could be potholes filled with water. Since water is a critical component to forming potholes, that puddle may be at work creating one as you drive through it.

Keep a firm grip on your steering wheel as potholes can cause your vehicle to change direction suddenly. Don’t swerve into an occupied lane. No one wants pothole damage to escalate to a collision causing further damage or injury.

Vehicle maintenance helps

Unquestionably, hitting potholes can damage your vehicle. However, there are some things you can do to keep it to a minimum.

• Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Over- or under-inflated tires fare worse when they tangle with a pothole. Tires showing excessive wear or bulges in the sidewalls won’t hold up as well to potholes, either.

• Have your vehicle’s suspension and steering components checked out by a qualified mechanic. Steering that is in good condition and responsive can help you avoid hitting potholes. Remember that shocks, struts and springs in good shape help cushion the blow.

There’s a technique to this

There are often two schools of thought on driving through potholes: speeding up to “jump” over them and jamming the brakes hard to hit them as slowly as possible. Both might work occasionally but the best way is somewhere in between.

If you see a pothole ahead and can’t safely steer to avoid it, it’s best to slow down, then release the brakes before you hit the pothole. This helps to reduce the speed at impact as well as give your suspension the full range of travel to absorb the impact. If you can’t avoid the pothole, straighten your wheel to hit it squarely and roll through. Hitting a pothole at an angle can transfer the energy of impact in ways more likely to damage your vehicle.

You hit one. Now what? 

Tire and wheel damage are common in pothole hits. Look them over for obvious damage. Is your car now pulling one way or the other? You may need to get your steering realigned. Is your vehicle now “bottoming out” or bouncing? That could be damaged suspension. You probably should get your vehicle checked out and repaired, if necessary. A properly maintained vehicle can help you avoid all sorts of road hazards.

Help us take care of it

Whether you hit a pothole or you missed it, you can save your fellow motorists the headache and costs of repairs by reporting it. If it’s on a city street or county road, report it to your city public works department or county road commission. If it’s on state trunkline (I, M or US route), submit it to MDOT’s Report a Pothole webpage (find link at www.michigan.gov/mdot) or call it in to the Pothole Hotline at 888-296-4546.

Posted in Auto LifeComments Off

The perfect car tips for any trip

CAR-Car-tips1

(BPT) – Across the country people are planning to take longer road trips this year. If you plan to be one of them, here are five maintenance tips to consider for today’s cars.

* New tires? “For four-wheel drive cars and trucks, buy new tires as a complete set,” says RockAuto.com Engineer and Vice President Tom Taylor. “Mixing old and new tires or just mixing tire brands can create small differences in tire diameter that may be enough to overheat and damage four-wheel drive parts.”

* What spare tire? Adding air to the spare used to be all that was needed, but many newer cars do not have a spare tire. They may have “run-flat” tires or come equipped with an air compressor and sealant. Become familiar with your vehicle’s spare tire system before you leave town and decide if it is adequate. Maybe you will want to upgrade to a full size spare.

CAR-Car-tips2* Why new struts? Pushing down on a fender and counting the bounces is not a good test for the shocks and struts on modern cars. “Some people are happy that their struts seem to be lasting forever but they don’t realize that the struts actually wore out thousands of miles ago,” says Taylor. “Bad struts lead to unnecessary wear on a whole slew of additional parts including the brakes, rubber boots, suspension bushings and engine mounts.” For the safest handling and braking, replace your struts and shocks at 50,000 miles or at the mileage recommended by the manufacturer.

* Just the belt? Modern engine belts last a long time. Most car owners do not resist when their mechanic tells them it is time to replace the belts after many miles or years. “Owners should listen to their mechanics when they are told the belt tensioners need to be replaced along with the belt,” says Taylor. “Those are the spring-loaded pulleys that keep the belt at the correct tension. Putting a new belt on old tensioners can mean premature wear on the new belt or damage to the alternator or other components spun by the belt.”

* Hose looks new? New engine hoses also now last much longer than they used to. Hoses do eventually fail and the damage often starts in the hose’s inner layers where it is out of sight. A burst radiator hose still means a disrupted trip and today’s aluminum alloy engines are often even more susceptible to heat damage. Follow the guidance of your repair manual or mechanic on when to replace hoses.

Some owners may get away with leaving a radiator hose untouched for decades, but for the rest, common sense assessment of risks and rewards shows why these tips are worth following.

Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments Off

10 tips to safely sell a car online

CAR-Ten-tips

(BPT) – Looking for a new set of wheels? Need to raise some cash for a home improvement project? Heading back to college?

Last year, a whopping 42.5 million used cars were sold in the United States, many by private owners. And 94 percent of those transactions involved an online search, according to leading online car website CarSoup.com.

While the Internet has made it easier than ever to buy a used car directly from a private party, buyers and sellers need to take precautions to ensure their safety and to prevent fraud.

The new e-book, “How to Safely Sell Your Car,” available on Amazon as well as through CarSoup.com, offers a number of specific tips on how to safely sell your car online, as well as suggestions on selling your car faster and for top dollar.

“Thousands of people safely sell their cars online every day, and you can too,” says Brian Bowman, chief technology officer of CarSoup.com. “Selling safely is the best way to make the most money and ensure a great sales experience for you and your buyer. The key is trust. The more trust you can build, the more satisfaction both parties will experience with the transaction.”

To sell your car safely and quickly online, Bowman offers these tips:

1. Go where the serious car buyers are. Avoid rummage-style websites and advertise your car on well-known, trusted websites that appeal to serious auto shoppers. For example, 54 percent of the active shoppers on a dedicated auto website like CarSoup.com buy a vehicle within 90 days.

2. VIN numbers reduce risk. Advertise your car with dedicated auto shopping websites that require a vehicle identification number (VIN). These websites help prevent fraud by matching the VIN numbers of cars advertised on their websites with public records to spot cars that have been reported stolen or cannot be legally sold.

3. Write an honest ad. The secret to preparing a great online ad, says Julie Spira, America’s cyber-dating expert, whose online advice is featured in the book, How to Safely Sell Your Car, is to clearly state what’s in it for the buyer and why you’re selling. Like online dating ads, Spira says, use lots of photos, add a heart-warming or funny story, and be honest to avoid surprises.

4. Ask lots of questions. Ask the buyer lots of questions, both by email and phone. Carefully listen to find out if your car will help fulfill their needs. Listen for evasive answers to questions about the buyer’s current driver’s license and auto insurance. Do a quick online search for the buyer’s name and location to check for any legal problems.

5. Don’t get too personal. When talking to a potential buyer, avoid revealing your address and other personal details. Don’t post photos of yourself with your car, or photos that show your home or valuable contents in your garage.

6. Get your paperwork ready. Have all of your paperwork (title, bank lien, driver’s license, car insurance, etc.) in order before meeting a buyer to finalize the sale. Tell the buyer to bring a current license and proof of auto insurance.

7. Meet in a public spot. Suggest meeting in a neutral public spot, during the daytime, to make you both feel safer. Invite a friend along and let the buyer know this ahead of time. If the buyer doesn’t have, or won’t let you review, their driver’s license and auto insurance card for the test drive, skip it. There will be plenty of other buyers, but there is only one you.

8. Remove personal items. When you clean your car for the test drive, clear out all valuables, including items in the trunk. Do not leave your wallet or smartphone in the vehicle.

9. State, up front, the test-drive route. Clearly state the test drive route and allotted time you have before getting into the car with the buyer. Sit in the backseat of the car to make the front of the car feel less crowded for the buyer during the test drive.

10. Complete the sale at the DMV. The sale of your car is not complete until you transfer the title of your car to the new owner, says Bowman. If a buyer takes possession of your car before the title is legally transferred, you will be held liable in the event that the buyer gets into an accident.

Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments Off

Are your car seat fears founded?

CAR-Car-seat-fears

(BPT) – Driving your newborn home from the hospital is when you know your life has changed. Car safety before kids is relatively simple, but after your first child is born, it becomes more complicated, especially when it comes to proper car seat installation.

More than 50 percent of new fathers and 40 percent of new mothers expressed concern over mastering the proper car seat installation as one of their top fears when bringing home a newborn from the hospital, according to research from Cars.com and Toluna QuickSurveys.

Since the majority of newborns spend multiple hours in the car, knowing how to properly install a car seat is essential, and all too often done incorrectly. Seventy-five percent of children ride in car seats that aren’t properly installed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although car seats (and the children in them) are all unique, Cars.com editor and expert mom Jennifer Newman offers these simple steps that are generally applicable to most car seat installations:

* Once you purchase a car seat, perform a car seat check in your own vehicle to see if your new car seat and car are compatible. Some stores will even let you try it out in your car before you buy.

* Make sure you’re using a car seat that meets the latest federal safety requirements and the height and weight of your child.

* Read both the car seat’s owner’s manual and your car’s owner’s manual to make sure you’re following the recommendations regarding installation.

* Locate your local child car seat inspection station, offered throughout the country to teach parents, both new and experienced, how to properly install any car seat.

* Car seats can be installed with either the latch system – the lower latch and tether anchors often found in the backseat – or with the seat belt. Use whichever is easier for you but never use both at the same time – this setup hasn’t been crash-tested and it could put too much stress on the car seat.

* After connecting the seat, using either method, make sure to push down on the seat as you tighten the latch straps or seat belt. The seat shouldn’t move more than an inch at the belt path.

* Register your car seat with the manufacturer and sign up for recall emails to ensure your child is not riding in a defective car seat.

* Visit Cars.com to learn more tips on child driving safety.

“Even seasoned parents should take some time to learn how to properly install the new car seats on the market. This will lower the risk of any injuries and will help keep your child protected if you ever get into a car crash,” Newman says.

Although many precautions should be taken by any parent before driving with a child, new parents should not be worried to take their child for a ride. By taking the proper steps parents should feel comfortable and confident while driving with their newborn so they can focus on the road and keep their child protected.

Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments Off

Defeat drowsy driving dangers: Tips for staying awake at the wheel

CAR-Defeat-drowsy-driving

(BPT) – One in five fatal accidents in America involves a drowsy driver, according to a recent report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Unfortunately, driving while fatigued is common in today’s business world. Yet the consequences of driving when you’re tired can be tragic.

“Drowsiness is similar to alcohol in how it compromises driving ability by reducing alertness and attentiveness, delaying reaction times, and hindering decision-making skills,” says Dr. Nathaniel Watson, president-elect of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and national spokesperson for the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, which is raising awareness of the dangers of driving while fatigued. “Drowsy driving is deadly, but it can be prevented.”

The Healthy Sleep Project has issued a Drowsy Driving Health Advisory, which urges every driver to take responsibility for staying “Awake at the Wheel.” Drivers should make it a daily priority to get sufficient sleep, refuse to drive when sleep-deprived, recognize the signs of drowsiness, and pull off the road to a safe location when sleepy.

“Rolling down the windows or turning up the music will do little to increase your alertness while driving,” Watson says. “You can drink coffee for a short-term energy boost, but if you catch yourself drifting into other lanes or nodding off, it’s absolutely time to pull over and take a nap.”

Getting seven to nine hours of nightly sleep is the best way to prevent drowsy driving, according to the Healthy Sleep Project. Drivers should also avoid driving late at night or alone, and they should share the driving with another passenger on long trips.

How do you know if you’re too sleepy to drive? If you experience any of these warning signs, you should pull over or have another passenger take the wheel:

* You keep yawning or are unable to keep your eyes open.

* You catch yourself “nodding off” and have trouble keeping your head up.

* You can’t remember driving the last few miles.

* You end up too close to cars in front of you.

* You miss road signs or drive past your turn.

* You drift into the other lane of traffic.

* You drift onto the “rumble strip” or onto the shoulder of the road.

The Healthy Sleep Project also encourages transportation companies to promote public safety by adhering to hours-of-service regulations, scheduling work shifts based on sleep need and circadian timing, implementing an evidence-based fatigue management system, and screening commercial drivers for sleep diseases such as obstructive sleep apnea.

“There is no substitute for healthy sleep – it’s essential to promote personal safety and optimal alertness behind the wheel,” Watson says. “Evaluate your sleep habits, address potential problems with a board-certified sleep specialist, and make sleep a priority to protect yourself, your passengers and other drivers from avoidable, life-threatening accidents caused by drowsiness.”

For more information, visit projecthealthysleep.org.

Posted in Auto LifeComments Off

Five winter car care tips that save you money

CAR-Five-winter-car-care-tips

(BPT) Winter is when car trouble can cause big financial problems. So how do you keep your car winter-ready for severe weather and protect your budget? The right preventive care is essential, and the good news is that there are many simple things you can do to get your car ready for extreme weather without blowing your budget.

Before severe weather strikes, make sure to check these items off your car-care list:

* Avoid the “E.” A full tank of gas provides a comforting feeling. It’s also an effective way to protect your car in severe weather. An empty tank leaves room for the moisture inside to turn to ice. Keep your tank at least half full at all times to help prevent starting issues caused by a frozen fuel line.

* Check vital fluids. As simple as filling up, make sure to check and top off your vehicle’s antifreeze and examine your brake system, which includes your brake fluid.

* Double-check the tires. Driving on underinflated or worn tires makes it even more difficult to drive in ice or snow. Use a tire gauge to test the tire’s actual pressure and apply air as needed. Your tires should have the appropriate amount of pressure printed on its side. To check the wear of your tires, insert a penny into the tread. If you can see any part of Abraham Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the tires.

* Be ready to battle ice. Ice on the roads is one problem, but ice on your windshield is another problem entirely. Prestone’s De-Icer Windshield Washer Fluid is designed to help melt ice and frost fast for streak-free and clear visibility down to -27 degrees.

* Prep for emergencies. Sometimes even the best planning can’t prevent a severe-weather accident. That’s why it’s good to pack a winter survival kit with an ice scraper, shovel, blankets, extra clothing, bottled water, jumper cables and a first aid kit for the backseat or trunk of your car. And don’t forget the cat litter—in case your tires need a little extra traction.

Not all winter car care maintenance needs to be handled in a mechanic’s garage. Easy DIY projects can help ensure your vehicle’s performance this winter and save you time and money in the long run. Get started on your preventive list today and you’ll be ready for whatever the season brings.

Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments Off

Cable median barriers: A cost-effective means to save lives

 

From Michigan Department of Transportation

CAR-Fatal-crashes-TZD-bannerMedian-crossover crashes are among the most hazardous events that can occur on freeways, often leading to serious injury or death. In recent years, high-tension cable median barriers have emerged as a cost-effective alternative to conventional barriers in preventing such crashes. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) began installing them on state freeways in 2008. A recently completed research project confirmed that cable median barriers are effective at reducing crossover crashes and improving freeway safety in Michigan, produced guidelines to help identify the best locations to install them, and developed content for public outreach materials explaining their benefit.

After the barriers were installed, crossover crash rates on those highway segments fell by 87 percent, and the barriers successfully contained 97 percent of the vehicles that hit them. Cable barriers have improved overall safety at the locations where they have been installed. The most serious crash types—fatal and severe injury crashes—decreased by 33 percent after cable median barriers were installed, according to rigorous statistical analysis. Since their installation, cable barriers are estimated to have saved 20 lives and prevented over 100 serious injuries in Michigan.

The research study confirms that cable median barriers are a cost-effective treatment for reducing crossover crashes, fatalities and serious injuries in Michigan. The guidelines developed will give MDOT a framework for determining where cable barriers are likely to have the greatest positive impact and return on investment based on crash data and site characteristics specific to Michigan. MDOT is reviewing these recommendations for possible incorporation into future updates to the department’s median treatment design guidelines.

To help educate drivers about the safety benefits of cable median barriers, the researchers also developed content for public outreach messaging, including an update to MDOT’s 2011 brochure on cable median barriers. For a copy f the new brochure go to http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_GuardrailSystemBrochure_300385_7.pdf

For more information on the research go to the MDOT Research Spotlight at: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/RC1612_Spotlight_479486_7.pdf

The statewide goal is to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all roadways from 889 and 5,706 respectively in 2011, to 750 and 4,800 in 2016. The mission is Toward Zero Deaths on Michigan Roadways. Visit www.michigan.gov/zerodeaths for more informaiton.

 

Posted in Auto LifeComments Off