Monthly Archives: December 2016

Car Care for New Drivers

It’s never too early to learn the ABCs of car care, says the Car Care Council.

  • A – Always follow a preventative vehicle maintenance plan.
  • B – Be sure to have your car inspected when you suspect there is a problem.
  • C – Correct the problem to help avoid the inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down away from home.

“Most young people can’t wait to drive, but their car care education should begin well before their parents hand over the keys,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Understanding the basics of car care before taking the wheel will help keep new drivers safer on the road.”

The Car Care Council recommends that new drivers keep a free copy of its popular Car Care Guide in the glove box and learn about 10 car care inspection procedures that are an important part of any preventative vehicle maintenance plan:

  1. Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  2. Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
  3. Check the battery and replace if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
  4. Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
  5. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
  6. Schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
  7. Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting.
  8. Inspect the steering and suspension system annually including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
  9. 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.
  10. Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

Six key systems before the temperatures start to drop

The Car Care Council strongly recommends that all vehicle owners check six key systems before the temperatures start to drop.

  • Battery -Keep the battery connections clean, tight and corrosion-free. Cold weather is hard on batteries – your local mechanic can check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. 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. Drivers in sub-zero driving temperatures should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
  • Wiper Blades – Cold weather can affect the life of windshield wipers. Freezing temperatures can make the rubber hard and brittle and increase the potential for cracks. Wiper blades that are cracked or torn, or that chatter, streak and don’t properly clean your windshield, should be changed. Some manufacturers offer special winter blades that have a rubber boot covering the arm assembly to keep snow and ice out. When changing the blades, have the windshield wiper system nozzles cleaned and adjusted if necessary, and check the windshield washer reservoir in case it needs fluid.

“Checking these six key systems in your vehicle ahead of time will give you confidence when you’re driving in brutal winter conditions,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Vehicle maintenance is always more convenient when you’re doing it on your schedule, and a few easy preventive measures can save you the headaches and cost of an emergency breakdown.”

During the winter, the Car Care Council recommends keeping your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full as that decreases the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Finally, if you’re due for a tune-up, consider having it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.

Driving a vehicle with cabin air filters

Cabin air filters capture potentially harmful particulates so they are not recycled into the passenger compartment and compromise the driving comfort of the people in the vehicle.

Normally, motorists roll down their windows to get ‘fresh’ air. Instead, you may want to roll up the windows to prevent the environmental pollutants from entering your vehicle because, whether you turn on the air conditioning or open the fresh air vent, the cabin air filter will provide clean, fresh air while filtering out the environmental pollutants.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (www.aafa.org) 60 million Americans (one in every five) suffer from asthma and seasonal allergies and the numbers are increasing. To highlight the problem and related issues with children and adults, May has been declared National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.

“For people who suffer from a respiratory-related illnesses or those who are passionate about breathing clean air, cabin air filters are an extremely useful feature on vehicles,” said Kevin O’Dowd, Director of Marketing & Communications at MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters NA LLC.

Inventor of the first automotive oil filter in 1923, Purolator offers premium quality BreatheEASY® cabin air filters for most domestic and imported vehicles. Purolator’s BreatheEASY cabin air filters feature a non-woven, engineered media that traps even the finest particles of harmful dust, soot and pollen, adsorbs most toxic odors, and reduces the accumulation of dust inside the car.

A cabin air filter may also be called a pollen filter, air-conditioning filter, passenger compartment air filter, interior ventilation filter or dust filter.

Two kinds of cabin filters are available for modern vehicles – the particulate cabin filter and the activated charcoal cabin filter. The particulate cabin filter features a multi-layer design with pleats that provide more surface area to filter out pollutants. Other features include foam perimeter gaskets and an injection-molded frame when specified by the vehicle manufacturer. The activated charcoal cabin filter goes a step further. It adsorbs most toxic and foul-smelling gases such as ozone, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and hydrocarbons. The additional cover layer makes for extra protection.

Purolator offers both particulate type and activated charcoal type cabin filters for many vehicles, and you can replace a used cabin filter with either type, regardless of which was installed by the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Recent estimates show that since 2001 approximately 45 million vehicles in the U.S. have been factory-equipped with cabin air filters. Refer to your owner’s manual or check with your technician to see if your vehicle has one. The cabin air filter may be located behind the glove box, under the hood near the windshield, or under the dash.

According to O’Dowd, the time it takes to install a cabin air filter professionally or otherwise varies with the make and model of the vehicle. Each Purolator BreatheEASY cabin air filter comes with a vehicle-specific instruction sheet that shows the location of the filter as well as gives step-by-step installation instructions.

Take Better Care of Your Car

Most people make new year’s resolutions. Resolving to lose weight and exercise can be tough ones to keep, but resolving to take better care of your car has never been easier with the free online custom service schedule from the non-profit Car Care Council.

“Signing up for our free customized service schedule and e-mail reminder service is a simple way to help you take better care of your vehicle throughout the year,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “It is an easy-to-use resource designed to help you drive smart, save money and make informed decisions about preventative vehicle maintenance.”

The Car Care Council’s personalized online schedule and e-mail reminder service, powered by DriverSide.com, is free of charge and can be customized by motorists to help make vehicle ownership more enjoyable, economical and convenient.

“Whether you do it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, following a preventative maintenance schedule will help keep your vehicle safe, dependable and on the road longer,” said White.

To help consumers become more comfortable with the auto service and repair process, the Car Care Council produced a video entitled “Auto Service and Repair: What to Expect,” which provides a wealth of information on such topics as finding the right auto repair facility, what to expect at the shop and what questions to ask.