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Archive | Auto Life

Wash away the effects of rough weather

Keeping your vehicle clean protects your valuable investment. The task takes very little money or effort but provides huge returns.

Keeping your vehicle clean protects your valuable investment. The task takes very little money or effort but provides huge returns.

(NAPS)—When it’s time for spring-cleaning, remember to include your car. Cleaning your vehicle inside and out prevents the buildup of damaging chemicals and dirt, reduces the potential for rust from road salt and helps ensure proper visibility needed for safe driving.
How To Clean Your Car
To get started, remove any clutter from inside the car, including items that have accumulated in the trunk that can add extra weight and reduce fuel efficiency. The next step is to thoroughly clean and vacuum the interior and wash the windows.
When washing the outside, include the tires, wheels, underside and fenders to eliminate any road salt or grime. Wheels and tires should be cleaned with a mitt other than the one used to wash the body. This will avoid contaminating the vehicle’s paint with debris from the wheels and tires.
Wash in the shade and with a product sold specifically for cars. Wash one section at a time, thoroughly rinsing away the soap as you go. Work your way down toward the front, sides and rear of the vehicle. Clean the fenders and bumpers last since they will have the most dirt and grime that can contaminate the wash mitt.
Give the car a final rinse. Remove the spray nozzle from the hose and let the water cascade down the surfaces of the vehicle. To avoid water spots, dry your car with a chamois or other product made for drying.
The last step is to wax the car. This should be done out of direct sunlight and every six months. It goes a long way toward protecting the vehicle’s finish and makes subsequent washes easier.
If you found any stone chips, rust or other problem spots while washing your vehicle, the experts at the Car Care Council recommend having these taken care of immediately to prevent further damage.
The 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 further facts and tips, visit www.carcare.org.

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Driving around flooded roadways

CAR-Flooding
Think floods are only a risk for homeowners? Think again. Floods are also a hazard to motorists. Many people die each year while attempting to navigate flooded roads.
Here are a few tips from State Farm to help deal with flooded roadways, and also some ideas on how to handle your vehicle once the waters have receded.
Flooded Roadways
The Federal Alliance For Safe Homes has partnered with the National Weather Service to warn motorists about the dangers of flooded roadways. They recommend the following safety tips:
If you can, simply avoid flooded areas—especially those with rapid water flow. Keep things safe and simple: reschedule your plans if you’re aware of flooding in the area.
If flooding occurs when you’re on the road, stay on high ground. Experts also advise against driving in deep water, especially when the water could be fast-moving or the depth is not known.
If your vehicle stalls, DO NOT attempt to restart it, as your engine may be damaged. Leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly when threatening conditions exist.
After The Deluge
The floodwaters are going down, but your car may have been exposed to the water. Experts say high water can damage vehicles. Here are some tips to help limit the damage to your car after water exposure:
DO NOT start a flooded vehicle until it has received a thorough inspection by a qualified mechanic.
Record the highest level of water exposure on your flooded vehicle.
Contact your agent or insurance company and advise them that your vehicle has been flooded.
The sooner the vehicle can be evaluated and dried out, the less damage the vehicle will sustain. If you don’t have the right training and personal protective equipment (PPE), it’s safer, in most cases, to leave the cleaning up to professionals. Some floodwaters contain raw or untreated sewage and other contaminants that may pose serious health hazards during cleanup. The Centers for Disease Control at cdc.gov offers more information on this topic.

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How to improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency

CAR-fuel-efficiency

Fuel system maintenance can improve fuel efficiency and re­duce the need for repairs.

(NAPS)—Your car can go farther for less if you take a few steps to keep it efficient.
It helps to take meticulous care of your vehicle by following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules and using the right products inside and out. This includes getting your oil changed, rotating your tires, checking hoses and belts for wear, replacing worn windshield wipers and keeping your vehicle clean.
Another way to extend the life of your vehicle and improve fuel efficiency is to make sure your fuel system is clean.
To help, here are a few fuel system basics.
What does a fuel system do? A fuel system’s job is to properly maintain fuel demand. The fuel is eventually sprayed from the fuel injectors into the intake stream and into the combustion chamber.
What does a fuel system con­sist of? Depending on whether it’s a return or a returnless fuel system, it can consist of the fuel tank, fuel pump, sending fuel lines, fuel rail, fuel injectors, fuel pressure regulator and returning fuel lines. If you have a returnless system, there is no fuel pressure regulator or return fuel lines.
How do I know my fuel system needs to be cleaned? If your fuel injectors have become clogged from deposits, they are not able to provide the wide and fine spray of fuel needed for the spark to ignite it. There are a few signs that may indicate you need to clean your fuel system.
•    You are getting lower gas mileage.
•    There is a hesitation when you put your foot on the gas pedal.
•    You are experiencing a loss of power when driving your vehicle.
One easy and convenient solution is to use a total fuel system cleaner such as Max-Clean by premium synthetic lubricant manufacturer Royal Purple. It can clean fuel lines and injectors, restore fuel economy and reduce both engine buildup and tailpipe emissions by deeply penetrating and cleaning injectors, carburetors, intake valves and combustion chambers. The lubricant works in a variety of en­gines whether new or old, gasoline or diesel. One bottle will treat 15 to 20 gallons. You just pour it into a nearly empty tank and refuel.
Fuel system maintenance can easily be added to your regular vehicle maintenance routine. Not only will it improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, it can save you from having to make costly repairs that may be needed when fuel deposits are left to build up.
Learn More
For further advice and information, visit www.royalpurpleconsumer.com.

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Still texting while driving?

Quitting might be easier than you think

 

CAR-texting(BPT) – Most Americans know texting and driving is dangerous but it continues to be a problem, especially for young drivers. While 97 percent of teens agree that texting and driving is dangerous, 43 percent still admitted to continuing to do it, according to a recent survey.

The 2012 AT&T survey of teen drivers also found 75 percent of teens say texting while driving is common among their friends and the majority of respondents said they have texted when stopped at a red light and often glance at their phones while driving. While teens might be the worst offenders when it comes to texting and driving, plenty of adults are guilty too. As the evidence continues to mount concerning the dangers of texting while driving, 39 states have made it illegal. Whether it’s legal or not in your state, here are three good reasons to quit once and for all:

* Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident, according to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute research.

* Texting while driving is distracted driving. Distracted driving is a factor in 15 to 25 percent of all crashes, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

* Each day, an average of more than 15 people are killed in crashes that result from distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

How to stop texting while driving

To help people break the perilous habit of texting and driving, technology companies are coming up with unique and practical solutions for drivers. For instance, Xperia SmartTags by Sony give you the ability to turn off all distractions from your smartphone with just a simple touch. These small tags can be put on a dashboard or a set of car keys and allow you to change your phone’s settings for driving by simply touching your NFC-enabled smartphone to the tag.

Smartphone applications can make this process even easier. When paired with AT&T’s free Drive Mode app, you can automatically disable your phone’s texting and calling capability. The app can also be programmed to include an automatic message that’s sent to anyone who texts you while you’re behind the wheel, letting that person know that you’ll respond when you are finished driving. You can program this app to run when you tap your phone to your SmartTag, while also setting your phone up to automatically run GPS programs and engage your car’s Bluetooth system for both safety and convenience.

While messages from your friends and family are important, nothing should take precedence over safely getting yourself and your passengers to your destination. To help make your driving experience safer, outfit your car with tools such as SmartTags, which you can learn more about at www.sonymobile.com, and don’t forget to take the pledge to never text and drive again at www.itcanwait.com.

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Extend your car’s longevity with these spring cleaning tips

CAR-Spring-Cleaning(BPT) – The open road lies in front of millions of drivers who are ready to lower the windows and feel the warm breeze. Nothing curbs the excitement of a spring drive more than car issues that could have been avoided by simple maintenance to combat the lasting effects of driving through winter.

Many people consider spring the perfect time to clean their homes, but it is also important not to forget the vehicle. The average vehicle stays on the road nearly 11 years, according to a study by Polk Research. This trend of consumers holding onto their vehicles longer than usual continues to grow.

To help protect what is typically the second largest investment for any consumer – your vehicle – here are simple tips to make sure you are ready for a successful spring travel season.

* Seasons change … so does tire pressure: As temperatures change, so can tire pressure. Proper tire inflation is essential for increased automotive safety, optimum driving performance and significant cost savings, including better fuel mileage. Tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations printed on the vehicle door placard or in the glove box, and should be checked at least monthly. Over-inflation can lead to premature or irregular tire wear and under-inflation reduces a vehicle’s fuel efficiency by an average of 3.3 percent, according to fueleconomy.gov.

* Keep hydrated: Many fluids require attention, including the engine oil, transmission fluid and power steering fluid. Spring is the perfect time to make sure they are all clean and at the proper levels. Additionally, to help ensure maximum engine life, change the oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles, or as directed by your owner’s manual.

* Breathe free: Replacing a dirty air filter can increase a vehicle’s life expectancy and fuel efficiency by reducing the strain on the engine, especially during warmer months. Over the winter months, salt, sand and other impurities may build up in a vehicle’s air filtration system, and replacing this air filter can improve acceleration time by around 6 to 11 percent, according to fueleconomy.gov.

* April showers bring May flowers, and wet roads: Many times, consumers postpone tire purchases, but after enduring a harsh winter and looking ahead to the wet spring weather, it is not the time to have low tread on your tires. The lower the tread depth, the less traction you will have on wet roads, and the greater the distance you will need to stop. For drivers in need of “new shoes” for their vehicle, every tire in the Goodyear Assurance family offers confident all-season traction plus a relevant benefit that enhances the driving experience – ultra traction, refined handling and comfort, and fuel efficiency.

For more helpful car care advice or information on tires for cars, light trucks, SUVs and more, visit your local Goodyear retailer or go online to www.goodyear.com.

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Car care tips that can extend the life of your vehicle

(BPT) – There is no truer saying than, “Take care of your car and it will take care of you.” Taking care of your vehicle should be at the top of your priority list when you rely on it to transport you, your family and friends. You don’t have to be a mechanical expert to take care of your car, you just need to be aware of what needs to occur and keep a regular schedule to ensure the safety and life of your car.

Know how to check your oil

-CAR-Car-care-tips2Checking and changing oil is important to keeping your car’s engine running properly and efficiently. Check your owner’s manual for what viscosity oil you should use and oil change interval recommendations. The type of motor oil you use is just as important as making sure it’s changed regularly. Many cars are now coming from the factory filled with synthetic oil. If your car didn’t come with synthetic, consider switching from conventional to premium synthetic motor oil like Royal Purple. Using synthetic oil will allow you to go longer between oil changes, usually up to 10,000 miles depending on your driving habits. Fewer oil changes means money saved and less oil deposited back into the environment.

It’s also important to know how to check your oil between changes. Locate where to check your oil under the hood, and make sure you’re parked on a level surface for an accurate reading. If you need to top-off your oil, make sure you don’t overfill, or you could damage the engine.

What is ATF?

If your car has an automatic transmission, the Automatic Transmission Fluid or ATF protects against transmission breakdown, corrosion system wear and oxidation. Checking your ATF level is similar to checking your oil level, but with the car running. The usual recommendation for change interval is about every 30,000 miles.

Battery check

Like other car parts that have been made to last longer, most car batteries are maintenance-free and can last more than three years. The first sign that may indicate you need a new battery is if you have trouble starting the engine.

See clearly

One of the most neglected basic car care tips is taking care of your windshield wipers. You should change your wipers every 12 months or if the rubber becomes worn. You will also want to check the wiper fluid reservoir and keep it full.

Basic car care is an easy first step in making sure your car stays on the road longer. Regular maintenance checks can also catch needed repairs before they become big dollar items.

 

 

 

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Tips to avoid tow truck rip-offs in the snow

From Angie’s List

 

Slide-offs are common during heavy snowfall. The majority of towing calls during a heavy snow will be pulling cars out of ditches. Some shady tow truck drivers may try to profit from your misfortune. Here’s how to avoid towing disasters:

1.    Reputation matters: Do a little research before the snow flies. Ask if the company accepts credit card payments. Some may require cash. Add the numbers of a couple of reputable towing services to your cell phone so you have good help literally at your fingertips.

2.    Don’t call me; I’ll call you: Beware the truck driver who shows up unannounced in an unmarked vehicle offering to drag your car out of the ditch. Reputable towing companies will display their Department of Transportation certification number on their tow truck. That certification indicates the company is insured and certified for the job. Should something go even more wrong, you’re covered.

3.    Fair weather pricing: You shouldn’t have to pay a surcharge because it’s cold. If your vehicle is in a really tricky spot and will require a lot of extra work or time, expect that cost to grow. Get a cost estimate upfront before you arrange for the driver to come to you, and if the estimate seems out of whack from the average, call another company.

4.    Oh Snap! If you have a smart phone, take a picture of your car before the driver gets there so you can have a record of what it looked like before and after the work.

5.    Sign off: When you sign off on the job, make sure your signature is right below the dollar amount you’re to be charged to minimize the chances that additional charges will be added in there without your knowledge.

6.    Document: Once the job is done, insist on both an invoice and a copy of your receipt to ensure you’re billed for authorized charges only.

7.    Already covered? Check your auto insurance to determine if you’re paying for roadside assistance and the process you follow. If you belong to a third party assistance organization, be sure you understand your coverage.

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Winter driving and tire tips

Tire pressure plays a critical role in the overall performance of tires. Air pressure should be checked when the tires are cool—not hot from driving.

Tire pressure plays a critical role in the overall performance of tires. Air pressure should be checked when the tires are cool—not hot from driving.

(NAPS)—Conditions such as snow-covered roads and black ice can make winter driving unpredictable. The good news is that preparing early for winter weather and anticipating and avoiding dangerous circumstances can help drivers maintain control and stay safe on the road.

To help, here are some tips from the experts at Cooper Tire & Rubber Company.

• Drive cautiously: For starters, double the anticipated stopping distance when braking anytime conditions are not dry. It will take longer to come to a stop in snowy or icy conditions.

• Do not assume a four-wheel-drive vehicle will stop faster than a two-wheel-drive vehicle—four-wheel drive offers no braking advantage.

• Always reduce speed during winter conditions.

• When purchasing winter tires, replace all four tires. Due to the different grip capabilities of summer, all-season and winter tires, the driver will not get all the handling and traction benefits if all tires are not replaced.

• Examine tread: The only part of a vehicle to touch the road is the tires, and tire tread is a vital part of handling, cornering, accelerating and braking.

• For winter weather driving, a general rule is the more tread depth, the better. A tire’s minimum tread depth should be more than 2⁄32 of an inch deep all around the tire. Drivers can check tread depth by using a U.S. penny. Insert the edge of the coin into the tread with Lincoln going in headfirst. If the top of his head is visible at any location on the tire, the tire is worn out and it’s time to replace it.

• While examining the tread, also look for signs of uneven wear or damage such as cuts, cracks, splits, punctures and bulges. These conditions shorten the life of tires and, if not corrected, further tire damage, tire failure or air loss may occur.

• Find tires made for the season. For example, Cooper Tire has been a proven winter tire brand for decades, providing high-performing and extensive product lines that cover more than 90 percent of vehicles, such as the Weather-Master S/T2, the Weather-Master WSC and the Discoverer M+S. All Cooper winter tires include a patented snow groove technology that retains snow in the tread grooves, capitalizing on the higher traction of “snow on snow” versus “snow on rubber.”

• Test air pressure: Tire pressure plays a critical role in the overall performance of tires. Underinflation creates excessive stress on the tire, while overinflation can cause uneven wear in addition to handling and braking issues.

• Tire pressure decreases by about one pound per square inch for every 10-degree drop in outside air temperature, so it is vital that drivers check the air pressure regularly as winter weather approaches.

• Drivers should follow the guidelines found in the vehicle owner’s manual or tire placard (or sticker) attached to the vehicle door edge to determine the correct air pressure for their vehicle’s tires. A common myth is that the tire pressure listed on the sidewall is the optimal pressure, while in reality it is the maximum pressure.

• Air pressure should be checked when the tires are cool, meaning they are not hot from driving even a mile.

• Should any of these checks reveal the need for required maintenance—or when in doubt about the condition of their tires—drivers should take vehicles to a tire dealer for a professional inspection.

• For more information on proper tire maintenance, visit www.coopertire.com.

 

 

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Drivers could be stuck in an emergency if they only have junk in their trunk

Only one in 10 drivers keep emergency supplies in their vehicle

-CAR-Trunk-junkFinding yourself stranded in your car due to treacherous conditions like snow, ice, poor visibility and slick roads only to discover you have junk in the trunk, rather than the necessary roadside emergency supplies, can place you and your family in jeopardy.

According to a new survey by State Farm® and KRC Research, more than 60 percent of drivers had some sort of “junk” (non-emergency supplies) in their trunk ranging from extra clothes and shoes to used food or drink containers. While 99 percent of drivers had at least one emergency supply in their vehicle, such as spare tire or jumper cables, a mere nine percent carried all the essential emergency roadside supplies, including:

• Jumper cables

• Spare tire

• Hazard triangle/road flares

• Flashlight

• First aid kit

• Water

• Blanket

“Even on a relatively short trip, you can find yourself stranded for several hours. From icy waters splashing up on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago to fog covering the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, it’s important to be prepared,” said Robert Medved, safety expert, State Farm. “These new findings highlight the importance of having the right emergency equipment so people can safely get back on the road faster.”

Medved also recommends drivers check at least twice a year to ensure the equipment is in working order. This means spare tires are properly inflated, first-aid supplies are current, all other supplies are fully stocked, and the cell phone charger is compatible with either a power outlet or an USB port in your car. Communication capability can be the number one lifeline in some roadside emergency cases.

How your junk stacks up:

New survey findings also revealed that sedan drivers (63 percent) are less likely to carry emergency supplies compared to SUV and truck owners (75 percent and 73 percent respectively). Also, only two in five drivers said they check that the emergency supplies in their vehicle are working at least twice a year, in line with what State Farm recommends.

State Farm encourages responsible driving every day of the year, and especially during cold weather months when inclement weather is more common. If you are stranded on the road, follow these tips:

• Pull off the highway (if possible), turn on your hazard lights and use a road flare or reflectors to signal attention.

• If you have a cell phone, call 911 and describe your location as precisely as possible. Follow any instructions from the dispatcher.

• Remain in your vehicle so help can find you.

• Run your vehicle’s engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm.

• Open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and clear snow from the exhaust pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Don’t waste your vehicle’s battery power. Balance electrical energy needs—lights, heat and radio—with supply.

• At night, turn on an inside light when you run the engine so help can see you.

• Keep emergency supplies like road flares, a flashlight, blanket, windshield scraper, jumper cables, spare tire and a first aid kit in your vehicle or trunk at all times.

• Keep your fuel tank at least 1/2 full at all times during bad weather.

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Better late than never when it comes to winterizing your car

The last thing any driver needs is a vehicle that breaks down in cold, harsh winter weather. It’s not too late to have your vehicle checked, saving you from the cost and hassle of unexpected emergency repairs when severe weather strikes.

Battery – Keep the battery connections clean, tight and corrosion-free. Batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail completely so it’s wise to replace batteries that are more than three years old.

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.

Brakes – Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item and is key while driving on icy or snow-covered roads.

Tires – 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 as tires will lose pressure when temperatures drop.

Oil – Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to low-viscosity oil in winter, as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold.

Wiper Blades – Cold weather can affect the life of windshield wipers. Wiper blades that are cracked or torn, or that chatter, streak and don’t properly clean your windshield, should be changed. Check the windshield washer reservoir in case it needs fluid.

Be sure to keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full as that decreases the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. If you’re due for a tune-up, consider having it done as winter weather magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling. To help you drive smart and save money, visit www.carcare.org and check out the free digital Car Care Guide.

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