Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

-George S. Patton

Friday, May 27, 2016

Maintain Your Vehicle's Tire

It is important to know how to maintain your vehicle tires accordingly. Proper tire maintenance will not only extend its life span, but also ensure safety to all users.

Here are some tips and tricks on how to ensure your tire maintained well.

Checking the tire pressure with a tire pressure gauge at least every month or more often when it's cold outside. On average, tires lose around 1 psi (pound per square inch) every month and 1 psi every time the temperature drops 10 degrees F. It is important to maintain proper tire pressure.

Fill up under inflated tires to their recommended psi rating. You can typically find the recommended psi for your tires on your car's vehicle information sheet attached to the panel of the driver's side door or on the tires themselves. You can use the public air compressor at any gas station for a nominal fee or you can also fill up your tire with nitrogen for a better performance.

Make sure to rotate your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Rotating tires ensure that they wear evenly and prolong the life of your tires. When you don't rotate your tires, you run the risk of having one tire that wears more significantly than the others and that has to be replaced sooner.

Inspect the tread on your tires for wear regularly. If you become familiar with what your tread looks like, it will be that much easier for you to identify when the tread is worn down. When you can see the tread bars that run across the tires, it's time to have your tires replaced.

Regularly check the depth of the tread with a penny. Hold the body of Lincoln on the penny and insert his head into the tread groove. If the head is hidden by part of the groove, the tread is within acceptable legal limits.

Try to listen to your car for irregular noises, particularly at speeds in excess of 50 mph. If your car is making noises when in motion, it could be a sign of irregular wear or other problems with your tires. Have a professional check this problem.

Also, make sure to choose the appropriate tire type for your need and do not over inflate within the recommended or maximum PSI. In purchasing a set of new tires, It would be a good practice to check the manufactured date. The manufactured date could be seen on the tire wall. It's usually a four numeric number; example is "1525" 15 is the year 2015 and 25 is the 25th week of that year.

We hope that this article would be helpful to all car owners and enthusiast.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Range of Ratings for American Muscle Cars - IIHS News

American muscle cars show range of performance in IIHS crash tests

RUCKERSVILLE, Va. — Think “muscle car” performance, and images of speed and power are more likely to come to mind than crash tests and safety ratings. Because no one buys a sports car to drive in the slow lane, the best all-around occupant crash protection is crucial. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently put a trio of iconic sports coupes through their paces, and unlike more sedate sedans, none earns the scores needed to clinch a TOP SAFETY PICK award.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

What Every Driver Should Know About Transmission Fluid Change

One of the first things new drivers learn about automotive maintenance is how to check the motor oil in their car. They are also instructed to have the liquid changed every three to five thousand miles. Failure to do so could damage vital engine parts and put their rides at risk. This maintenance is essential to a car's operation, but it applies to more than just motor oil. Transmission fluid is just as important.

Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid keeps the gears and, in turn, the car moving smoothly. It is part of a closed system and, unlike motor oil, the liquid should never run low. As such, most motorists mistakenly believe it never needs to be changed. Many drive for years needing a transmission fluid change. What are the dangers?

When the liquid breaks down, it can no longer provide adequate lubrication to the gears in your car. For some drivers, this deterioration may never cause a major issue, but for others it could cause serious damage. Now, you might be wondering why it inevitably wears out? Here are a few common risk factors:

- Frequent stop-and-go driving

- Excessive towing or hauling

- Snow plowing

- Using a manual transmission system

- Periods of heavy use

- Poor driving conditions

All of the aforementioned issues greatly increase the risk of extreme heat; heat that breaks down the vital components in the fluid. As a result, this burnt liquid can no longer act as an effective lubricant. Although this breakdown usually occurs after many years, it can be expedited by any of the above risk factors.

When To Change It

If you asked five mechanics, you could get five different answers about when to change the vital liquid. A more accurate answer can be found in your owner's manual. Based on exhaustive testing of your specific vehicle, this information should serve as a reliable guide. With that said, you may have to adjust it a bit based on your individual driving habits. If, for example, you tow your fishing boat around for the entire summer, you may need transmission fluid change earlier than advised. In most cases, manufacturers recommend replacing it every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

How To Check It

Just like motor oil, you can check your transmission fluid with a dipstick. But unlike the oil, you don't usually have to worry about its level. As we mentioned earlier, your gearbox is a closed system, so volume should never fall. What you must consider, however, is the quality of the fluid. If it is relatively clean and pure, it should be pink or reddish in color. But when the liquid burns, it turns light to deep brown. It may also smell burnt.

Average Price

A relatively inexpensive automotive service job, changing this vital liquid usually costs between $60 to $100. The cost may be slightly higher when the transmission filter must also be replaced, which is often the case. Because it is typically only performed every 3 to 5 years and it can dramatically improve driving performance, transmission fluid change is well worth the investment.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Five Tips For Preventative Maintenance On Your Car

Preventative maintenance is key to keeping any car running smoothly. Maintenance and general car care will extend the life of your vehicle and save you from making needless, expensive repairs. What does proper preventative car maintenance entail, however? Here are our top five tips:

Check and Change Your Oil

Whether you have to get out the dipstick or simply glance over the notifications on your car's dash, make sure you check your current mileage and adhere to a regular oil change schedule. You've likely been told a thousand times, but oil is the lubricant for your vehicle's engine and it is a critical component of the entire vehicle's operation. Most manufacturers recommend that the oil and oil filter gets swapped out approximately every 5,000 miles. Ensure that you adhere to this schedule to avoid complications, although you should consider performing this change every 3,500 to 4,000 miles.

Gauge Your Tires' Air Pressure

While maintaining proper tire pressure may not be as serious a routine as changing your oil, it's still an important aspect of preventative maintenance. Keeping your tires properly inflated will improve your fuel efficiency while also avoiding potentially more serious problems that can result from having a severely under-inflated tire. Ideal tire pressures vary from tire to tire, so check your owner's manual to know how to adjust your tire if you have a flat. Also, be aware of whether your tires are currently filled with standard air or nitrogen.

Top Off Your Miscellaneous Fluids

Fluids other than oil are also critical to the performance of any vehicle, and your car has quite a number of them. You'll want to ensure power steering, transmission, transaxle, brake, antifreeze, and even windshield wiper fluids are kept at their proper levels, as instructed by your vehicle's owner's manual.

Engine coolant should be checked at least one a year, while it's recommended that transmission fluid is attended to every 30,000 miles. Also, don't forget about brake fluid. Moisture builds up over time and can severely impact your braking system. You should also have this fluid flushed out approximately every two years.

Don't Act Like You Own a Race Car - Slow Down!

Outside of immediate safety concerns, driving quickly and pushing the pedal to the metal, so to speak, has its notable disadvantages. The United States DOE (Department of Energy) notes that it takes roughly 70 percent more horsepower to maintain a speed of 60 mph (miles per hour) than it does a speed of just 50. That's a surprising increase, and with it comes fuel efficiency concerns. However, it's not just about gas. An increase in average speed of about ten mph over time can lead to as much as a 40 percent jump in routine maintenance costs.

Have Your Engine Belts Closely Monitored

A lot of people may believe that they'll notice any serious issue with their car in time to prevent a catastrophe, but this isn't always the case. Unmonitored engine belts can wear down with little indication as to their debilitating state. Once they have worn down, they can fail in an instant with no warning. For example, a timing belt that is worn and doesn't get replaced can snap completely while you're driving. While the belt is costly to replace on its own, there can be monumental collateral damage. Even if you pull over immediately upon receiving an engine warning, a broken timing belt can wrap around the engine in such a way that it totals it, requiring you to either pony up for a new engine or face the prospect of biking to work or school.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Consumer Reports 2016 Tire Top Picks | Consumer Reports

At Consumer Reports we evaluate tires for braking performance, handling, wear, ride comfort and noise. See which tires came out on top in categories from all-season to truck and SUV tires.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Don't Waste Your Money: The Car Repair You Really Need Now

Many drivers fail to schedule regular maintenance appointments for their vehicles, which can lead to more costly car repair in the future. And what's worse, under-maintained cars could put you, your family, and other drivers at risk. So, stay smart and safe by asking yourself the following questions.

Is Your Automobile New or Used?

Not all cars are created equal. The regularity with which you should schedule service appointments depends on your vehicle's year. Newer models often have modern systems that require less maintenance. In recently manufactured models, for example, coolants last longer, engines are more self-regulating, and you can often go much longer between oil changes. Check the user's manual for your vehicle's exact requirements-you might be pleasantly surprised.

Newer automobiles also have computerized systems with advanced sensors that notify you sooner when there's a problem. But beware-failing to get regular maintenance can void your warranty, so be sure to check your manual, and keep the receipts from all car repairs or maintenance appointments.

To keep an older model running longer, schedule more consistent oil changes. High mileage can also cause more frequent wear and tear on crucial parts like spark plugs, timing belts, and shocks. If you have time during oil changes, ask your mechanic to check these components. Failing to check these mechanisms and address any issues could cause a breakdown and cost you more.

What's Your Environment?

Every type of weather will put some stress on a vehicle. Winter weather is famously destructive. Your mechanic can help you prepare for ice and snow with coolant, fuel de-icer, and a heater and defroster check. Batteries can choke in the extreme cold, so ask if yours is in good shape.
Hot, dusty summers can be rough on the air filter, and this heat can cause the belts and hoses in the engine to crack. Make sure your coolants are full, too.

Meanwhile, wet, humid weather can increase corrosion, so be sure to clean the area around your battery, and ask your mechanic about any rust on the undercarriage. You also might need new windshield wipers-you don't want to get caught in a downpour without them!

What Are Your Driving Habits?

Even if you only drive once a week to the grocery, it isn't necessarily true that you'll need less service or car repair appointments. Engines actually need to be consistently used to stay in shape.
Stuck in traffic a lot? Stop-and-go driving can put stress on your brakes and lead to engine deposits that clog combustion. Although it means more miles, longer spurts of driving can be better for vehicles. But if you make a lot of long trips, especially with more weight, your oil needs to be changed more often to prevent overheating.

Do You Know How to Read Your Vehicle?

Ultimately, preventative care is your responsibility. Don't wait for a rattling wheel or red light on the dashboard. Take your vehicle in for a checkup before these problems escalate. Some problems, like those dealing with the brakes, steering, and shocks, can become dangerous and much more expensive if ignored for too long. With the right preventative car repair, you can extend the lifespan of your vehicle.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

2016 Subcompact SUV Comparison Test - Kelley Blue Book

For Kelley Blue Book's first official subcompact SUV comparison test we stuck with a familiar destination. Every year we head to the greater Phoenix area for some Cactus League spring training baseball, a 700-mile roundtrip that's typically our longest comparison test of the year.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Brake Repair, Oil Changes, And Tire Pressure Are Part Of An Effective Auto Maintenance Routine

Buying a car is one of the most significant purchases people make, right after buying a home. While most cars manufactured in the last few years are built to run for 100,000 miles or more, they still require regular maintenance. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is especially true when it comes to your vehicle. Some routine maintenance can even be done yourself. Checking your tires, changing the oil, and occasional brake repair will help you avoid costly fixes. This will keep your car in safe working condition and on the road for as long as possible.

One of the simplest ways to ensure that your vehicle is in good working condition is to give it a quick once-over each month. Make sure that all the lights work, your tire pressure is adequate, and your windshield wipers are still doing a good job of clearing the windshield. You can also check to make sure that your tires have enough tread by using a penny. Turn the penny on its head and insert it into the tread's groove. If you can see all of the head, it is time to replace that tire. Paying attention to these small details will help make sure that your car is running efficiently and safely, and that minor maintenance issues can be handled relatively cheaply.

Taking care of your car's brakes is another important, but often overlooked, part of auto maintenance. Brakes are designed to last for a long time, but they do wear down slowly. As a result, many drivers do not realize that they are in need of repair until damage is sustained. Unfortunately, there is no rule of thumb governing when they should be replaced; it all depends on how much you drive each year, and the conditions in which you drive. You can avoid brake repair by having them looked at when you have your tires rotated. The mechanic can check the condition of your brake pads and other signs of wear. Otherwise, pay careful attention to screeching or grinding noises, or pulsating in the wheel or brake pedal when braking. These could be indications that your brakes are in need of attention.

Finally, regular oil changes are a must for any vehicle. However, there is some debate about how frequently your oil should be changed in cars manufactured over the past decade. The general rule is that you should bring your car in for an oil change every 3,000 miles, but you may be able to go 5,000 or 7,500 miles between oil changes depending on the conditions in which you drive. Regardless, changing the oil when needed helps your car run cleaner, and in conjunction with a regular maintenance routine, will help keep your car out of the shop.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Always Be Prepared for Auto Emergencies

We live in modern times and basically everyone has car insurance, an auto club membership, or a cellphone, and many of us drive new car models which are not likely to break down. Accidents and malfunctions still happen, and when they happen in an area that is not inhabited, we may find ourselves in a bit of trouble.

The first move for many will be to pick up the phone and call for help from your auto club, but this can take a lot of time. Your phone battery could be dead and the reception in some of the wilder parts of the country is certainly not reliable.

This is why it is important to always have a car emergency kit with you, with all the emergency materials and tools you might need to make minor fixes to your vehicle yourself, and at least get it running until you reach the nearest gas station or town. At the very least, you should have everything you need to wait it out until someone can come pick you up or until another car comes along so you can ask for help.

Some of the emergency materials you should always prepare before going on a trip include:

- First aid kit
- Charged phone or phone battery
- Spare tire
- Tire gauge
- Jumper cables
- Duct tape
- Rugs and gloves
- Drinking water
- Blankets, shovels and clothes

While some of these emergency materials such as jumper cables, duct tape and tire gauge will help you do actual fixes to your car, most of the listed items are survival gear. You don't know where a breakdown can happen, and during long trips you may end up stuck in the middle of nowhere. Having a turned off, charged phone is a great idea, but sometimes there is simply no reception.

In these cases, if you can't fix your car yourself, all you can really do is wait. This is where the other emergency materials will help, as they will keep you warm, hydrated and alive until someone comes along and you can finally get back to civilization.

In some cases, you may have to spend the night in your car, and being well prepared for such an emergency may mean the difference between being comfortable or extremely uncomfortable and in extreme cases even between life and death.

Making sure you learn a bit about auto mechanics before setting out on long trips will be the smartest thing, because minor breakdowns can be fixed with a simple set of emergency tools and materials. If the breakdown is more serious, it is important to call a professional auto repair shop that can make any necessary repairs to your car.

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