AUTO

Superior Seat Belt Safety

Highway Bill Speed Up Economy Car Care Information Synthetic Motor Oils Odometer Fraud Certified Technicians Car Warranties Pre-Trip Inspection

Superior Security From Your Seat Belts

(NAPSI)—When it comes to protecting your precious passengers, safety is no accident, particularly if you’re driving the first SUV to have inflatable seat belts in the back.

The Innovation

This advanced restraint system is designed to help reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear seat occupants. This can be especially important for young children who are more likely to be in the back and might be more vulnerable in crashes.

Safety and Comfort

In everyday use, rear inflatable belts operate like conventional seat belts, including compatibility with infant and child safety and booster seats. The additional comfort and padding of rear inflatable seat belts encourages increased use.

In the event of a frontal or side crash, the increased diameter of the inflated belt holds the occupant in the proper seating position more effectively, helping reduce the risk of injury.

Following deployment, the belt remains inflated for several seconds before dispersing its air through pores in the material.

More Safety Measures

These industry-exclusive rear inflatable seat belts can be found in the already popular new Ford Explorer. The SUV’s other safety innovations include Ford’s MyKey teen safety technology and curve control, which can help drivers maintain control of a vehicle if they drive too quickly into a curve.

The car company plans to offer this technology in other vehicles over time.

What You Can Do

Meanwhile, the experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) point out that buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash.

• During a crash, being buckled up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle, whereas being completely thrown out of a vehicle is almost always deadly.

• All children under 13 should ride in the backseat.

• Before you buy a new car, the NHTSA advises, check to see that its seat belts are a good fit for you. If not, ask the dealer about seat belt adjusters.

• Select a car seat based on your child’s age, height and weight. Keep kids in car seats for as long as possible, as long as your child fits the seat’s height and weight requirements.

Learn More

You can learn more online at www.ford.com/suvs/explorer.

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Highway Bill Could Speed Up Economy

(NAPSI)—The next time you take to the road for a business trip or vacation, you may remember how important it is for Congress to adequately fund transportation-and consider letting them know how you feel about it.

“It’s a pivotal time to remind our federal elected officials of the importance and urgency of finding solutions to the dire situation the construction industry and our highways are facing,” says Gerald F. Voigt, P.E., president and CEO of the American Concrete Pavement Association.

Congress needs to do the right thing by making highways and other elements of the surface transportation system a top priority, said Voigt.

This year marks the sixth anniversary of the signing of the most recent highway bill, which, since its expiration, has been extended seven times.

Extensions make it difficult for businesses to invest in the future, and not having a clear timeline for the next transportation bill will continue to jeopardize the economic vitality of companies—and the nation.

The ability to move people and goods is critical to the nation’s economy.

When the federal government under invests in transportation infrastructure, it’s easier for the nation to fall behind in the global marketplace.

“China, India and other developing nations understand the value of infrastructure development and the critical link between infrastructure, commerce, personal mobility and safety,” said Voigt. “Why are those issues any less important in the U.S. than in other nations?”

Fuel prices are rising at an alarming rate, and with widespread speculation that motorists might pay $5 per gallon for gasoline, motorists can scarcely afford to waste fuel because of the inefficiency and disrepair of the nation’s highways.

As the nation’s economy continues to falter, said Voigt, unemployment remains high in the construction industry. Passage of a new highway bill would create and sustain well-paying, long-term jobs for people who want to work and need to work.

“Talk to your neighbors, your colleagues, your employees and everyone you know who has the power of the vote and urge them to take a stand; to tell their elected officials to find and invest the funds to repair and preserve the nation’s highways,” said Voigt.

You can let your elected officials know how you feel about this and any other issue. For more information, visit www.acpa.org or www.pavements4life.com.

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Booklet Helps Take Scare Out Of Car Care

(NAPSI)—While women control or influence 85 percent of buying decisions-including the purchase and care of vehicles—many still may feel intimidated when it’s time to take a vehicle to the service shop.

A new program designed especially for women helps them ask the right questions about vehicle maintenance. It includes a free booklet that answers frequently asked car care and travel questions, as well as a fun and informative seminar that auto repair facilities across the country can host for their female customers.

“We want to help women ask not just the right questions but all questions about car care and repair,” said Nancy McLean, director of marketing for ACDelco. “Sometimes, the most powerful tools a woman can own are knowledge and confidence.”

The booklet can be accessed at www.acdelco.com/pdf/Knowledge_Is_Power_booklet.pdf.

Designed to fit in a glove box, it was developed by professionals who specialize in training and uses easy-to-understand, consumer-friendly terms. The booklet covers:

• Preventive car care services and when they’re needed

• How to accurately and completely describe vehicle troubles to a technician

• A glossary of commonly used automotive service terms

• Symptoms, noises and smells that may indicate potential problems

• Tips for safe motor vehicle travel

• How occupant safety restraints such as seat belts and air bags work

• Child passenger safety and teen driving tips

• How to stay safe in the event of a vehicle breakdown.

“Women and men who read the ‘Knowledge Is Power’ booklet or attend a seminar will feel much more in control of their car care decisions, which is very important in these economic times,” said McLean.

The company also offers a complete “Knowledge Is Power’” seminar kit to more than 6,000 independent, affiliated vehicle service facilities nationwide. Service centers that order the kit receive everything needed to host a car care seminar for women in their stores.

These events are not designed to train women on do-it-yourself car repair but rather to empower them with the information they need to ask the right questions the next time their car has to go to the shop.

For more information, visit www.acdelco.com.

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Finding The Right Motor Oil For Your Car

(NAPSI)—When shopping for motor oil, you may have to choose between rows of products with different viscosities, various additives and between synthetic or conventional oil.

What’s best and what’s not? That depends. The easiest way to determine what motor oil is right for your vehicle is to consult your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s specifications and certifications. Using the recommended oil combined with changing your oil at recommended intervals can help to protect your engine.

To extend the life of your car and to save money, consider using synthetic motor oil. Synthetic oil is not just for vehicles used under extreme conditions, such as racing or off-road. The benefits of using synthetic motor oil are just as relevant to high-performance vehicles as they are to daily drivers. Synthetic oils such as Royal Purple provide longer intervals between oil changes, saving you money and disposing less waste into the environment.

Royal Purple offers SAE Engine Oils that are API certified “SN,” providing outstanding performance and protection for both gas and diesel engines. Additional benefits include longer service life and emission system compatibility. SAE engine oils are ideal for stock, 2011 and newer, unmodified gas and diesel engines under factory warranty.

Many vehicle owners today are searching for ways to keep their cars running longer. More used vehicles are being purchased that have limited warranties.

To keep these vehicles running longer, choose Royal Purple High Performance Street (HPS) motor oil, which offers an elevated zinc/phosphorus anti-wear additive and Synerlec proprietary technology. Using HPS can significantly reduce heat and wear to protect your engine and will also reduce engine deposits, keeping your engine clean.

How often you should change your oil depends on the kind of driving you do. If you primarily make short trips that are less than 10 miles, you will want to change your oil at least twice a year. If you are making longer commuter trips of 20 miles or more, you are safe following your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, which could be up to 10,000 miles.

Once you’ve successfully purchased and changed the oil in your vehicle, the next step is to recycle. Royal Purple has partnered with Earth 9-1-1 so you can find a recycling center that will accept used motor oil in addition to other recyclable household items. Find a recycling center at www.earth911.com.

More information about Royal Purple can be found at www.royalpurple.com.

 

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Turning The Tables On Odometer Fraud

(NAPSI)—When it comes to fashion and music, some people think it’s fun to try to turn back the clock. However, when scam artists turn back a used car’s odometer, it’s no joke.

The motivation for such fraud is easy to see, since a vehicle with 40,000 miles on the odometer is usually more valuable than one with an odometer that reads 80,000 miles or more. It’s no surprise, then, that a growing number of sellers are trying to “turn back time” on their cars and trucks by changing the mileage on their odometer in an effort to inflate the resale value.

A Disturbing Trend

According to NHTSA, more than 450,000 cases of odometer rollbacks are reported annually, costing consumers more than $1 billion. New research results from Carfax show that the number of cars with rolled-back odometers has increased significantly nationwide over the last few years.

One factor in this growing trend, some say, is that the digital odometers used in the majority of today’s cars are easier to manipulate. Plus, there’s virtually no physical evidence of tampering. Buyers have to examine a vehicle for indications of wear to determine if the car’s overall condition is consistent with the mileage on the odometer.

Tips on Avoiding Fraud

Here are some tips to help car shoppers avoid buying a car with an odometer that’s been rolled back:

• Take a look at the wear on the pedals, steering wheel and floor mats to make sure it’s consistent with the mileage reading;

• Demand a Carfax Vehicle History Report from the seller;

• Have a trusted mechanic check the car’s computer and inspect the vehicle thoroughly for signs of wear and age prior to purchase.

Use Available Resources

According to Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax, odometer fraud is alive and well. Said Gamache, “Con men continually find ways to cheat the system, especially in a soft economy like this, and digital odometers are no exception. We cannot stress enough that consumers need to utilize every resource available to help protect them, starting with a Carfax Vehicle History Report. Simply asking the seller for a Carfax report and questions about the car helps separate the good guys from the bad guys.”

As a service to consumers, Carfax lets you check for potential odometer rollbacks free of charge at www.carfax.com/odo.

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Driving Tips

(NAPSI)—Be sure to have your vehicle checked out before heading out on your next road trip, advise the experts at the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the group that tests and certifies automotive technicians. Here are hints on how:

• Flush and refill the cooling system (radiator) according to the service manual’s recommendations and safety warnings.

• Have drivability problems—hard starts, rough idling, stalling-corrected for better gas mileage and peace of mind.

• Have a marginally operating air-conditioner system serviced.

• Change the oil and oil filter as specified in the owner’s manual.

• Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended.

• Check the condition of tires, including the spare. Let tires “cool down” before checking air pressure.

• Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned-out bulbs.

• Replace worn wiper blades and top off the washer fluid to fight summer’s dust and insects.

• If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, look for repair facilities that employ ASE-certified technicians.

For more car care tips, visit ASE’s website at www.ase.com.

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Getting The Most From Your Car’s Warranty

(NAPSI)—In  addition to the gleaming paint job and that special smell, there’s something else that the owner of a new car gets to enjoy—the warranty.

A warranty is a promise, often made by a manufacturer, to stand behind its product or to fix certain defects or malfunctions over a period of time. The warranty pays for any covered repairs or part replacements during the warranty period. But can a dealer void your car’s warranty if you have someone else do routine maintenance on the vehicle? The answer is no, and the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants to make sure consumers know it.

Under federal law, it’s illegal for manufacturers or dealers to refuse to honor a warranty or to deny coverage simply because someone other than the dealer did work on the car. And dealers must be able to demonstrate that improper repair caused the damage that they refuse to cover.

The FTC offers these and other tips for American consumers to help them make smart decisions and get the most out of their auto warranties. For example, if an independent mechanic improperly replaced a belt and the engine is damaged as a result, a manufacturer or dealer may only deny responsibility for fixing the engine under the warranty after demonstrating that the improper belt replacement—rather than some other defect—caused the engine damage. However, the warranty would still be in effect for other parts of the car.

The same is true of “aftermarket” parts made by a company other than the vehicle manufacturer or the original equipment manufacturer: The manufacturer may not deny warranty coverage unless it can show that the aftermarket equipment caused the need for repairs.

Other tips from the FTC include:

• Read the warranty that came with the car, or check the “Owners” section of the manufacturer’s website.

• Be aware of when the warranty period ends, and get any problems that arise checked out beforehand.

• Service the car at regular intervals, following the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule.

• Keep all service records and receipts, regardless of who performs the service. This includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, new brake pads, and inspections. These receipts can be used to prove that the vehicle was properly maintained.

• Complain. If you think a dealer’s service advisor denied your warranty claim unfairly, ask to speak with a supervisor. If you still aren’t satisfied, contact the manufacturer or go to another dealer. You might also want to complain to your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency and Better Business Bureau.

Visit www.ftc.gov for free information on buying, financing, leasing, renting and maintaining vehicles.

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A Pre-Trip Inspection Can Mean Better Mileage

(NAPSI)—Getting a vehicle inspected before you start out on a trip can help keep you on the road to safety and savings.

That’s the word from the experts at the Car Care Council who say a pre-trip vehicle inspection can also provide peace of mind by making sure your vehicle is safe for travel and running efficiently.

To help, here are some tips:

• A tune-up can help an engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.

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

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

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

“A pre-trip vehicle check can determine just how road ready your vehicle is, so you can take steps to have the problems fixed before heading out for vacation,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Making sure your vehicle is running efficiently will get you more miles to the gallon.”

Added White, “By also avoiding aggressive driving, observing the speed limit and avoiding excessive idling, you will spend less on fuel and have more money for vacation fun.”

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign. The campaign promotes the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair.

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

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