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  • Is Your Car Ready for a Road Trip?

    If you are planning a road trip this summer, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t just put gas in your car and go, says the non-profit Car Care Council. A pre-trip vehicle check can determine how road-ready your vehicle is so you can take steps to have any problems fixed before heading out for vacation.

    Before you hit the road, the Car Care Council recommends a vehicle check to help avoid the inconvenience, potential safety hazards and unplanned expense of breaking down miles away from home.

    • Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, antifreeze/coolant, windshield washer and power steering, brake and transmission fluids. Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause the engine to lose power.

    • Check the hoses and belts and replace if they become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.

    • Check the brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.

    • Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Underinflated tires reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy and uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.

    • Check the engine to make sure it is delivering the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.

    • Check that the gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.

    “With summer vacation season upon us, a thorough inspection of your vehicle will give you peace of mind and help make your road journey safer,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Taking a few minutes to ‘be car care aware’ will make for a less stressful and more fun adventure.”

    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 copy of the council’s Car Care Guide, which is now available electronically, or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

    "Is Your Car Ready for a Road Trip?" (2016, June) Be Car Care Aware. Retrieved from http://www.carcare.org/2016/06/car-ready-road-trip/

  • Be Prepared for a Breakdown

    It's a sunny clear day and you are coasting down the highway, radio turned up and windows down. Maybe you are on your way to work or to visit a friend. Suddenly, your car starts to slow down and your day takes a turn for the worst. That's right, your car just broke down. Do you know what to do?

    There are multiple reasons that a car might break down. The Automobile Association researched the top 10 reasons behind a car breakdown, listing a faulty battery as the most common reason, followed by tire problems, alternator faults and fuel issues.

    As you hit the road this season, it's important to be prepared for any automotive issues that could occur. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry.

    Know the proper steps to take
    When you first start to experience car trouble, the most important thing is to get off of the roadway. Pull over to the side of the road or into breakdown lane if it's available. During this time, try not to panic. Staying calm will help you to evaluate your situation with a level head. The National Safety Council stressed the importance of being aware of surrounding traffic. Do not break quickly or make rapid movements, especially when on a highway or interstate. Doing so could cause an accident. When pulling over, don't forget to check your mirrors.

    Once pulled over, put on your emergency flashers assess your situation. It's important that other drivers can see your car, especially at night. AAA reported that staying in your vehicle until help comes can be the safest decision.

    Be prepared
    There are some key items that should be kept in your car that will help you in the event of a breakdown.

    • A cellphone will help you call for help, whether you contact a friend, a mechanic or emergency services. It's also smart to keep spare change in the car, in case your phone dies and you have to find a payphone.

    • Reflectors are important to have at night. Placing them behind your car alerts oncoming traffic to your position. AAA suggested placing "the first flare or triangle 10 feet directly behind the side of the vehicle closest to the road. Place the second device 100 feet directly behind the vehicle lined up with the middle of the bumper. Position the third device behind the vehicle's right side - 100 feet if on an undivided highway, 300 feet if on a divided highway."

    • A flashlight is key. If your vehicle breaks down at night and you have to get out of the car to seek help or to fix the problem the flashlight will alert others to your presence and allow you to see.

    • It's a smart idea to keep a spare tire in your car, along with the equipment necessary to change your flat. Although spare tires are not always meant for long-distance driving, they should give your car the extra boost it needs to reach a local auto repair shop.

    Keep your car in shape
    The best way to handle a breakdown is to avoid it all together. Ensuring that your car is in top shape will keep it running during your journeys. Even if your car seems like it's in good health, getting a regular car tune up can protect you from dangerous situations. Keep an eye on your check engine light and get your car checked if it comes on. Don't forget to pay attention to your tires and get a regular oil change. If you take care of your car, it will help take care of you.

    "Be Prepared for a Breakdown" (2014, July) Precision Tune Auto Care. Retrieved from http://www.precisiontune.com/be-prepared-for-a-breakdown

  • Soaring Wait Times, Airfares, Baggage Fees Make Driving the Way to Go

    The news is full of stories about soaring airfares, checked bag fess and extended wait times in airport security lines. When you consider the time and cost of flying, it becomes clear that travel by car is the way to go, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

    “Standing in line for hours in order to board an overcrowded plane after paying extra to check bags has made air travel a real headache,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “With no relief in sight, more and more travelers are realizing the benefits of driving to their destinations. Since a family of four can travel 1,000 miles round-trip by car for about the cost of one airline ticket, driving is clearly the sensible option.”

    In addition to direct cost savings, travel by car offers a number of practical advantages over flying and lets you better enjoy the ride:

    • Leave when you want, from where you want.
    • Pack whatever and as much as you want.
    • No waiting in long ticket counter and security lines.
    • No weather delays.
    • No baggage, meal or headset fees.
    • More and better meal options.
    • No airport parking, rental car or taxi expenses.
    • More legroom and overall comfort.
    • Stop and stretch any time.
    • No strangers sitting next to you.
    • Convenience and ease of taking your pet with you.

    Before you hit the road, the Car Care Council recommends that you get your vehicle inspected, restock your emergency kit and order a free copy of the Car Care Council’s popular Car Care Guide for the glove box at www.carcare.org/car-care-guide.

    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 80-page Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

    "Soaring Wait Times, Airfares, Baggage Fees Make Driving the Way to Go" (2016, June) Be Car Care Aware. Retrieved from http://www.carcare.org/2016/06/soaring-wait-times-airfares-baggage-fees-make-driving-way-go/

  • Use Your Spare Time to Check Your Tires

    Car Care Council Supports National Tire Safety Week May 29-June 4

    National Tire Safety Week begins May 29 and the Car Care Council urges vehicle owners to inspect their tires for wear and tear, as well as check tire pressure and alignment.

    According to a national survey conducted by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, only 17 percent of drivers are considered “tire smart” and know the correct way to check their tire pressure.

    “Underinflated tires are under stress and will eventually wear unevenly, making them a safety hazard, not to mention an added expense since the worn out tires will have to be replaced sooner,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Properly inflated tires will not only help keep you safe on the road, but will improve gas mileage and performance.”

    The Car Care Council recommends that vehicle owners check the pressure of all tires, including the spare, on a monthly basis and more often during colder weather.

    Tires should be inflated to recommended pressure levels, rotated every 6,000 miles to promote uniform tire wear and be replaced if worn or damaged.

    The penny test is a popular and simple way to check tire tread. If you see Lincoln’s head above the tread, than it is time for new tires. In addition, the tread should be checked for uneven or irregular wear as well as cuts or bruises along sidewalls.

    “Tires are such an important safety issue that you can’t take their condition lightly,” continued White. “Routinely checking tire balance and wheel alignment will reduce tire wear and improve handling.”

    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 80-page Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

    "Use Your Spare Time to Check Your Tires" (2016, May) Be Car Care Aware. Retrieved from http://www.carcare.org/2016/05/use-spare-time-check-tires/

  • Don’t Forget a Pre-Trip Vehicle Check Before Hitting the Road

    If you are hitting the road this Memorial Day weekend, you will have lots of company. With millions of Americans taking road trips, the last thing you need is car trouble. A simple pre-trip vehicle inspection helps ensure a safe and stress-free holiday journey, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

    “According to AAA, more than 37 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the highest in 10 years, and over 88 percent of them will go by car, an increase of 5.3 percent over last year,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “While it won’t solve a traffic jam, a quick vehicle inspection can help you avoid the hassle and unexpected cost of a breakdown away from home.”

    The non-profit Car Care Council suggests a driveway inspection of the following items before your holiday road trip to make sure your car is road ready. If you find your vehicle needs service, repairs can be performed before your weekend journey begins.

    • Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.

    • Check the hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.

    • 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 wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and inspect and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation. Keep the reservoir filled with solvent.

    The Car Care Council’s newly redesigned 80-page Car Care Guide can be ordered free-of-charge at www.carcare.org/car-care-guide. Available in English and Spanish, the popular guide features helpful information about maintaining your vehicle for safety, dependability and value.

    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.

    "Don't Forget a Pre-Trip Vehicle Check Before Hitting the Road" (2015, May) Be Car Care Aware. Retrieved from http://www.carcare.org/2015/05/dont-forget-pre-trip-vehicle-check-hitting-road/