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Tag Archive | "Auto Care"

Get your car spring ready

Car care tips for safe driving in seasonal weather

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features)

Spring breezes may be blowing, but before you put those windows down and settle in for a leisurely drive to soak up that fresh air, your car needs some seasonal freshening of its own.

Regular car care helps ensure that your vehicle looks and runs its best, and timing your car care to the seasons can help ensure all of your equipment is in top condition to protect your safety in seasonal weather conditions.

One of the most common threats in spring is stormy weather, which can affect your visibility and traction. Ensure you and your car are well-protected and ready for spring with this spring car care checklist.

Give your car a checkup

An all-over maintenance checkup is a good starting point to get a pulse on your car’s condition. A multi-point inspection can help alert you to signs of wear or damage on parts such as your belts, which can weaken as a result of cold winter weather, and your brakes, which are critical for safe driving.

Your engine relies on clean oil for smooth operation, so if it’s time for a change (usually every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on manufacturer recommendations) you can schedule a change to coincide with your service appointment.

CAR-WipersKeep your view safe and clear

Keeping your windshield clear is an obvious necessity for everyday visibility, but the quality of your wiper blades is even more important in inclement weather. Old or damaged blades may not be up to the task of keeping your line of sight clear during a heavy spring downpour. When it comes to choosing new blades, give careful attention to performance.

Traditional metal wiper blades, installed on many new cars, have exposed suspension components that can become damaged with exposure to extreme weather. Newer vehicles may include beam blades, with a pre-sprung steel beam designed specifically for that vehicle. However, many replacement beam blade designs are compromised to fit a large array of vehicle models and do not properly adapt to the varying curvature of windshields. This results in reduced wrap and contact pressure on the windshield, as well as poor wiping performance.

A better option is hybrid blades, such as Michelin Stealth Hybrid wiper blades, which feature an exclusive Smart Flex technology that automatically adjusts wiper blade contact pressure across the curvature of the windshield for improved wiping performance. Engineered for durable wiping in extreme weather conditions, the wiper frame and suspension system are completely covered to protect the blades from weather-related damage. The Michelin EZ-Lok Connector System allows for a quick and simple blade replacement. Learn more at MichelinWipers.com.

If your vehicle has a rear wiper, remember to replace it, too.

Check your traction

Your tires are another of your car’s essential safety features. Excess or uneven tire wear can be extremely dangerous in wet and slick road conditions. If your tires can’t get adequate traction, you may find yourself hydroplaning or losing control. What’s more, tires are an expensive investment, so before embarking on your next road trip, make sure your tires are properly inflated, balanced and rotated. This can help ensure you get the most mileage out of your tires before needing to replace them.

CAR-ShiningShow your shine 

Sound operations aside, you’ll get more enjoyment out of your car when it looks as great as it runs. A thorough cleaning of the exterior after the harsh winter months helps whisk away any damaging substances, such as the salt used to melt ice and snow.

Protect and preserve your vehicle with products, such as Barrett-Jackson Auto Care’s full line of interior and exterior products. Liquid Wax, a signature product in the line, is specially designed with Carnauba wax to achieve a long-lasting, deep shine with no powdery residue. Barrett-Jackson Wash & Wax saves time by lifting away dirt and enhancing shine in one step, while the rapid detailer is great for those in between touch ups. For an all-over shine to complete the freshly cleaned look, Tire Shine is a quick, no-hassle way to maintain sleek, wet-look tires. Make sure to select a tire shine that will not sling off on your car when driving. Find more information about these and other products designed to keep your car looking flawless at barrett-jacksonautocare.com.

Once the exterior is complete, turn your attention inside. Pick up any trash or debris, vacuum and wipe down all interior surfaces. A moisturizing treatment will help clean and condition leather, preventing it from drying out and cracking. Also give interior glass a wipe down for the clearest visibility possible and be sure to pick an interior protectant that doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue to help renew and protect all interior surfaces, including plastic, vinyl, rubber and trim.

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Auto Advice: Don’t fear the check engine light

A “check engine” light coming on doesn’t mean you have to stop driving immediately but you should get it looked at very soon.

A “check engine” light coming on doesn’t mean you have to stop driving immediately but you should get it looked at very soon.

(NAPS) — Although the check engine light may look scary lit up on the dashboard, you don’t need to panic. A glowing check engine light doesn’t mean you have to immediately pull the car to the side of the road; it does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible.

Motorists should not get spooked when the check engine light comes on,” says Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council, the source for the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign promoting regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair. “When illuminated, the check engine light usually means that a vehicle system, such as the ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating properly.”

Possible Problems

Some common malfunctions that can cause the light to illuminate include a faulty oxygen sensor, mass air flow sensor, or spark plugs and wires. If the light flashes, the condition is more critical and must be checked immediately to prevent severe damage, which may include catalytic converter problems.

Even if the vehicle appears to be running normally, ignoring the warning light could result in more costly repairs,” adds White. “At the very least, the light could be alerting you to an engine problem that is negatively impacting fuel economy and costing you money.”

Service and Solutions

When scheduling service, make sure the repair shop that examines your vehicle has professional technicians who are trained and certified in OBDII diagnosis and repair. The technician will connect your vehicle’s computer system to a diagnostic scan tool, which will provide trouble codes indicating why the check engine light was activated. While the diagnostic tool is connected, the technician can analyze data streams such as the idle speed, throttle response, engine temperature, fuel system pressure, manifold vacuum, exhaust emission levels and many other key indicators. Once the problem is identified and the repair is made, the car’s computer is reset.


For further illuminating facts about taking the scare out of an illuminated check engine light, visit www.carcare.org, view the council’s Car Care Minute and order a free copy of the newly updated Car Care Guide at www.carcare.org/car-care-guide.

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Auto Advice: Keep track of open recalls

Remember, to keep your car  safe, it pays to pay attention to auto recalls.

Remember, to keep your car safe, it pays to pay attention to auto recalls.

(NAPS)—If you’re like most people, car safety and performance are important to you. But you might be surprised to hear that over 47 million vehicles have unfixed safety recalls—vehicles you might be sharing the road with or driving yourself.

Alarmingly, family-oriented vehicles like SUVs and minivans are the least-often fixed. An auto recall usually occurs when the manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that a car has a defect or fails to meet federal safety standards.

While repeated attempts are made to reach the owners, the stats suggest that people aren’t well-enough informed about recalls, and may not know where to start. To help you stay informed, you can use the free myCarfax.com service to get e-mails or text alerts about current and future recalls on your car.

Fixing recalls helps maintain the safety and value of your car, makes roads safer, and is normally free. Plus, most recall fixes are completed in less than a day.

Remember that only a manufacturer’s dealer is authorized to fix recalls. If your car is recalled, call your local dealer immediately.

Learn more and sign up at www.mycarfax.com

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Resolution: start taking better care of your vehicle

(NewsUSA) – While we might slip up on our New Year’s resolutions at times, this year you can resolve to take better care of your car all year. Firestone Complete Auto Care offers the following tips for winter vehicle maintenance to get you started!
*Be proactive. Winter only magnifies existing problems like pings, hard starts,  sluggish performance or rough idling. Make sure your vehicle is mechanically sound before the temperature dips and the streets get icy. Make certain the engine is in peak condition. Also check the cooling system. Coolant should be replaced per the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.
*Be on schedule. Have your motor oil changed regularly. Use the specified weight and grade of oil recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. Also make sure to check that the heating/defrosting system is working properly.
*Be prepared. Prepare for potential winter emergencies by using your trunk as a storage place for emergency items. Important items to have on hand include: a properly inflated spare tire; ice scraper; windshield de-icer; flashlight; blanket; extra clothes; bottled water; cell phone car charger and non-perishable snacks.
*Be on the defensive. Take a defensive position against winter driving conditions, and take care of your tires. Once it gets cold, tire tread and pressure should be checked weekly. A tire’s PSI measurement can drop one pound for every 10-degree drop in temperature. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider installing winter tires, which are specially designed to grip slick roads.
*Be diligent. Use common sense during adverse road conditions. Reduce your driving speed, and increase your following distance in hazardous winter weather. If you get stuck in the snow, don’t spin your tires — this can overheat them and possibly cause damage. Use sand, gravel, kitty litter, an asphalt shingle or other gritty items to help your tires gain traction when stuck.

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