Car Care Experts Give Tire Tips That Save Money And Promote Safer Driving
(NAPSI)-Car care experts urge vehicle owners to pay special attention to four of the most important features on their car or truck--their tires. Regular tire maintenance saves money and promotes safer driving.
"We know many drivers may be tempted to put off vehicle maintenance to save money," said David Campbell of GM Goodwrench. "But neglecting your tires can cost more money in the long run and put you, your passengers and other drivers at risk if your tire fails on the road."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries occur each year as a result of crashes attributed to low tire pressure.
Here are four things you need to know to care for your tires:
1. Rotate tires: Because each tire on a vehicle performs different tasks, they wear at different rates. Regular rotations allow tires to wear and wear out evenly, minimizing tire noise and allowing tires to be replaced in sets of four, which is preferable. Check the owner's manual for recommended rotation intervals, but every 7,500 miles is the average.
Irregular tread wear occurs fastest when the tire is at full tread depth, so the first rotation is especially important.
2. Check tire pressure: Underinflated or overinflated tires can cause premature or irregular wear, poor handling and reduced fuel economy. To find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle, look on the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box door or inside the trunk lid. It also appears in the owner's manual.
The air in tires is measured in pounds per square inch, or psi. The simple act of regular tire pressure checks can help maximize tire performance and durability, save fuel and help reduce the risk of tire failure. Digital gauges make tire pressure checks easy, so never "eyeball" tires because they can look fine even when they're underinflated.
Even in vehicles equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems, Goodwrench recommends checking them at least once a month--including the spare--when the tires are cold (the vehicle hasn't been driven for three hours).
3. Check tread depth: The tread connects a tire to the road. When that tread is worn, the tire can't make optimum contact with the pavement. Worn or bald tires are especially dangerous in wet conditions.
Tire wear depends on several factors, including driving style and tire maintenance habits. Tire tread gauges are inexpensive and can be found at auto parts stores. One way to know when to replace your tires is when tread wear indicators appear. These "wear bars" look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread.
4. Don't overload your vehicle: A vehicle tire placard also shows the maximum load of the vehicle. An overloaded vehicle puts excessive wear on tires as well as vital suspension components. Remember that load also includes baggage carriers and trailer weight.
For more tire care information or to locate your nearest Goodwrench technician, please visit www.goodwrench.com.
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Travel Essentials To Get Your Car Road-Trip Ready
(NAPSI)-You can keep your car and your family on the road to safety and savings by taking a few simple steps before heading out. Whether you decide to do minor checkups and repairs yourself or have a professional take care of them, consider these suggestions.
If you are a do-it-yourselfer, follow these simple tips to get your vehicle in tiptop shape before setting out:
• Tire Pressure. Check the tire pressure and look for worn-down tread. Place a penny in the tread and if you can see the top of Lincoln's head, the tread is likely too low. Also check to make sure your tires-including the spare-are properly inflated and have been recently rotated. Look for the recommended tire pressure on the placard on your vehicle's door.
• Windshield Wipers. Check the windshield wipers. If they're worn, change them.
• Lights. Take a walk around the car with the lights on. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.
• Oil. Check the oil and oil filter and change them if necessary.
• Air Filter. Check and replace the air filter and cabin filter if your car is equipped with one.
• Emergency Kit. Pack an emergency kit with items that can help you in case you're stranded. A recently released survey found drivers often overlook this important step. In fact, only one in four carries flares or food and water. These safety items can help keep a bad situation from getting worse.
• Test Your Battery. If your battery is 4 years old or older, you are living on borrowed time. Bring it in to a trusted automotive service and retail provider such as Pep Boys for a battery starting and charging diagnostic test. In case of a battery emergency, you can also carry a portable battery jump start in your trunk along with jumper cables. This way you can jump start your car even if no one else is around.
Some activities may require professional assistance. Here are a few service tips to keep in mind.
• A/C System. A well-functioning air conditioning system is important during hot weather. Have your system checked periodically and maintained regularly.
• Brakes. Do the brakes squeak or does the brake pedal feel "soft"? Have your brakes inspected, including all brake linings, hardware and hydraulics, if the last inspection occurred more than 24,000 miles or 12 months ago. The hydraulic system should be assessed for leaks and proper operation. "Sponginess" or "drop" in the brake pedal, a tendency for the car to pull to one side when braking, squealing noises coming from the brakes or a drop in the master cylinder's fluid level can all signify problems.
• Transmission. If you'll be hauling a trailer, boat or the like, you may want to check and change the transmission fluid.
You can get more tips and facts from those three car care experts, Manny, Moe & Jack, also known as "The Pep Boys." Find them online at www.pepboys.com or by calling (800) 737-2697. The Company's hundreds of locations even offer a number of services at no charge, such as free tire and air pressure checks.
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Getting Your Teen Driver Ready For The Road
(NAPSI)-There's good news for parents who have a teen who's ready to begin driving. There are practical steps you can take to keep your teen safe when he or she hits the road.
Not only is it important for your new driver to know how to be a safe and responsible driver, it's equally as important to know the basics about the car itself and what to do in an emergency. Here are some tips:
• Take the time to get to know your vehicle. Whether it's brand new or a well-used family vehicle, have your teen take the time to review the owner's manual.
• Show your teen driver how to check the oil, transmission and steering fluids, and point out where the engine, battery, air filter and radiator are located, as well as the reservoirs to fill for the radiator and windshield washer.
• Teens can be notoriously hard on vehicles when driving, and they don't always adhere to good maintenance practices. Those are compelling reasons to upgrade to one of the new generation of motor oils. For instance, high-performance lubricant manufacturer Royal Purple formulates its synthetic motor oil to achieve extremely high oxidation stability. This allows for more miles between oil changes and provides an extra degree of protection against haphazard maintenance. Royal Purple's lubricants have also been shown to improve fuel economy, which can save you money on fuel.
• The exterior of the vehicle is important, too. Make sure the headlights and taillights are all in working order. Check that the wiper blades are properly cleaning your windshield. Invest in a tire pressure gauge, which, in addition to the traditional pencil style, is now available in digital models.
• In the event of an emergency, make sure your teen driver knows where the registration and insurance cards are kept. An easy-to-access place is the glove box. Glove box organizers or registration wallets are great ways to keep those important documents together.
• While parents can't control other drivers or situations that teen drivers might encounter on the road, they can at least provide the basic tools in a Roadside Emergency Kit. Memberships to auto clubs and a GPS on a cell phone can be helpful, but not always accessible depending on where the incident occurs.
Preassembled emergency kits are available for purchase, but even if you create your own kit, make sure you review with your teen how to use each item in it, such as roadside flares, a quart of oil, a small first aid kit, extra fuses, a flashlight, a multipurpose tool that includes pliers, wire cutters, pocketknife, bottle opener, saw, screwdrivers and files, a tire inflator, rags, a pen and paper, and a help sign or white cloth to signal for help.
To learn more about Royal Purple products, visit www.royalpurple.com.
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Motorcycle Safety Tips
NAPSI)-Taking a short trip online can mean more safety and enjoyment for those learning how to ride a motorcycle or scooter.
That's because a foundation that provides the nation's initial learning-to-ride course and promotes lifelong learning for motorcyclists has a website with safety tips and information on where to find a safe riding course.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic RiderCourse is designed as a 15-hour curriculum that takes place over a few days or consecutive weekends. The website, msf-usa.org, also offers online excerpts from the training curriculum.
According to actor, director and producer Ian Ziering, an avid motorcycle enthusiast, "It doesn't matter whether you want a motorcycle or a scooter, your best first ride is the MSF's Basic Rider- Course. This is how you get started on a lifetime of great two-wheeling. The bikes and helmets are provided. So get trained and go riding."
To learn more, visit msf-usa.org or call (800) 446-9227.
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Get Your Car Set For Travel
(NAPSI)-To keep your car on the road longer, now is the time to spring for vehicle maintenance.
"Preventative maintenance is the key to maintaining optimum performance for your vehicle," said Pietro Gorlier, president and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand.
According to the Car Care Council, 80 percent of vehicles inspected experienced at least one part or system failure.
What To Do
Mopar recommends six ways to stay out of such statistics.
• Check Tires. Air pressure should be checked on all tires, including the spare. Inspect tread and sidewall areas for uneven or irregular wear. Replace any tires that are worn or damaged.
• Check Fluid Levels. Engine oil should be changed regularly. All vehicle fluids and lubricants should be checked and changed at recommended intervals. A good fuel filter traps contaminants before they reach the engine. For diesel engines, a 7-micron diesel fuel filter from Mopar can keep water from contaminating injector pumps and fuel injectors.
• Check Engine Belts and Hoses. Prevent a breakdown or serious engine damage by replacing belts and hoses at recommended intervals. They should meet stringent quality standards and offer precise fit, optimal service life and original-equipment performance.
• Change Air Filter. Engines need to breathe. Restrict the supply of air and they won't work as well as they should--something that's usually reflected in higher fuel consumption. A new air filter will allow clean, unrestricted air flow into the engine and help ensure proper performance and longer life.
• Check Battery. Whether it's the first start-up in the morning or having the reserve power to run the air conditioning and other accessories, the battery is a critical source. Have batteries tested and replaced if necessary.
• Check Wiper Blades. For optimal visibility and quiet operation, get all-season wiper blades built for the long haul with a strong, all-metal superstructure for durable, reliable performance. Mopar even has an innovative wear indicator that turns from black to green to yellow as the blades wear.
In addition, Gorlier says, always follow the recommended maintenance schedule in your vehicle's owner's manual. His company, Mopar, is the source for all original-equipment parts for Ram, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles.
For more information and to find a service location, visit Ram.com, Dodge.com, Chrysler.com, Jeep.com or Mopar.com.
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Five Tire Safety Tips For Avoiding Blowouts
(NAPSI)-To keep your car on the road to safety and savings, you need to stay on top of vehicle maintenance. Overlooking something as simple as your tire's air pressure can cause problems.
Underinflated tires are the leading cause of tire blowouts, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association. Each year, there are over 650 fatalities due to car accidents with underinflated tires.
That's why at least once a month and before every long trip, you should look at all your tires, including the spare, and check the inflation pressure.
Here are five tips to keep your tires in shape for road trips:
1. Don't Wait to Inflate--Low tire pressure decreases fuel economy. The specific inflation pressure number can be found on the vehicle placard located on the driver's side doorpost, glove box door, fuel door or in the owner's manual. For accurate pressure, check tires when cool and don't forget the spare.
2. Lighten Your Load--Overloading decreases fuel economy due to increased wind drag and cargo weight. Handling, control and braking are also negatively affected.
3. Rotate Before Rollin'--Regular rotation helps achieve uniform tire wear and improve road performance. Tires rotated every 6,000−8,000 miles have longer life and help maximize your tire investment. It makes sense to get a tire inspection when you rotate.
4. Get It Straight--Proper tire alignment provides safe, predictable vehicle control, as well as a ride that is smooth, comfortable and free of pulling or vibration. Proper alignment helps tires wear evenly and last longer.
5. Bald Isn't Beautiful--Lack of tread affects the tire's ability to grip the road. Make sure tires don't have uneven wear, high or low areas or unusually smooth areas that can increase the risk of road accidents.
"Don't put off seeing your tire professional. Tire pressure affects many aspects of your car, including steering, braking and gas mileage," said Mark Ballard of Discount Tire Company, the world's largest tire and wheel retailer. "If your vehicle is properly serviced and your tire pressure is at the appropriate level before hitting the road, it will help you head off potential tire problems."
For more information on tire safety, visit www.Tires.com.
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Vacation Season Car Car Essentials
(NAPSI)-The summer months are notoriously tough on any vehicle as drivers take to the road for extended or weekend getaways. To make sure you're ready for the summer drive, taking simple maintenance steps will ensure your trip is memorable for all of the right reasons.
Get a Tune Up and Check your AC: A tune up before you leave on a long trip could result in improved fuel economy by 4−12 percent. Auto manufacturers recommend a tune up every two years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. If your air-conditioning system hasn't been checked recently, have the technician check the refrigerant charge, compressor belt and compressor clutch.
Maintain your cooling system: Engine coolant can become contaminated, so the system should be flushed and replenished periodically--typically every three years or 36,000 miles. Never check the radiator or coolant when the engine is hot. One product to help reduce engine heat is Royal Purple's Purple Ice Coolant Additive. This high-performance, synthetic radiator coolant additive fosters optimum coolant flow by helping to prevent formation of scale deposits in the radiator and also lubricates the water pump seals. Learn more at www.coolerradiators.com.
Don't forget the spare: When checking your tires for correct inflation and even wear, make sure your spare tire is ready to use in case you need to put it into service when you're on the road.
Change your windshield wipers: Experts suggest changing your blades every six to 12 months. Don't forget to check and change your rear-window wiper blade, too!
Emergency Road Kit: Having these items could make it easier to get back on the road:
• First-aid kit that includes aspirin, bandages, gauze, eyewash, moist wipes, antibiotic ointment and burn cream
• Duct tape can temporarily fix a broken windshield wiper, hold glass together, pick up glass shards, serve as a temporary gas cover and repair a broken hose
• Brightly colored cloth or "emergency" sign that you can tie or place somewhere on your car to signal for help
• Cell phone. If you don't want a regular-use cell phone, there are special 911 units and prepaid cell phones
• Tools such as wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers and socket wrenches
• Booster cables to jump a dead or faulty battery
• Extra fuses
• Emergency light or flashlight
• Bottled water.
For more information, visit www.royalpurple.com.
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Know What's Covered By Your Car Insurance
(NAPSI)--Last year, Progressive Insurance received 29.6 million phone calls from customers. In this article, it shares three of the most frequently asked questions-and its answers-so that you can be confident when making decisions about your car insurance:
1. How can I make sure I have "full coverage"?
Generally, people ask for "full coverage" when they want more than just what's required by the state. Most states require that all drivers carry liability coverage, which pays for damage to other vehicles or injuries to other people that you cause.
By adding what is commonly referred to as "physical damage" coverages, which include Comprehensive and Collision insurance, damage to your own vehicle is also covered, regardless of who caused the crash.
Once you've chosen these coverages, you might also want to add insurance that will cover your medical payments, protect you if you're hit by an uninsured driver or come to the rescue if you break down on the side of the road. Your insurance company or agent can walk you through all your options and help you choose the policy that's right for you.
2. If I get into a fender bender when driving a rental car, would it be covered under my car insurance?
Generally, if you have liability and physical damage coverages on your car insurance policy, there's a good chance you'll be covered in a rental car. Call your agent or insurance company to get the facts before you turn down that extra coverage.
Another option: Check with your credit card company. Some credit cards provide coverage at no charge if you use their card to pay for the rental. Restrictions may apply, so be sure to ask for an exact description of what's covered.
3. A friend just borrowed my car. Will my car insurance pay for the damages if he causes an accident?
In most states, insurance coverage follows the car, so your car insurance would pay for the damage if your friend causes a wreck. Two things to keep in mind: If the cost to repair that damage exceeds the amount allowed by your policy, your friend may need to make a claim on his insurance policy to pay the difference; and, secondly, your rate may go up as a result of the claim.
For more information or to find a nearby agent, visit www.progressiveagent.com.
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