AUTO

New Car Scent

Moving Made Easier Fuel - Efficient Cars Gas - Saving Tips Fashionable Car Colors Vehicle History Report Stolen Cars Clone War Used Car Dealers

Sensitive Noses Sniff Out New Car Scent

(NAPSI)—It’s common knowledge that auto companies have engineers who test how cars drive. But what about how they smell?

Apparently, car companies have special teams of people who do just that. Selected for their acute sense of smell, the group assesses the odor of interior materials, rating them on a standardized scale that determines whether the components give off an odor. From cup holders to air bag covers to floor mats to fabrics, the “smell jury” puts them all on trial.

“Our goal is to eliminate any and all unpleasant odors in our cars,” said Sandra Edwards, a laboratory engineer who leads the odor team at Ford. “It all comes back to the ownership experience—we want people to enjoy being in their cars, not noticing or worrying about unusual and annoying smells.”

Edwards is one of five engineers from Ford’s Central Laboratory’s Polymers, Coatings and Corrosion Section who make up the smell jury. Testing whether a headrest or steering wheel smells bad or not sounds simple. But it’s not.

Parts that need a sniff test are placed in three-liter jars with specialized foam seals. Components are tested in three conditions—humid room temperatures, humid moderate heat and elevated dry heat.

The odor is sniffed, evaluated and rated on a scale of one to six. One indicates the odor is not perceptible. Six means the odor is extremely unpleasant.

Testing a single component typically takes one to two hours. After each juror has rated the specimens at each condition, it’s time for a verdict.

If a smell doesn’t meet acceptable levels on the scale, then the part or component is sent back to the supplier for further testing to determine the cause of the smell.

“Once we had a rubber part come through that smelled like cinnamon,” said Edwards. “Not that cinnamon is an unpleasant smell, it’s just not meant for car parts. We sent it back.”

The jurors are all nonsmokers. They can’t have allergies or colds, because those tend to dull the senses. The same team of test engineers is used for most evaluations and includes a range of sensitivities: a person with a very sensitive nose and someone else who is less sensitive.

The jurors take this aspect of their job seriously. But that doesn’t mean they can’t have a sense of humor about it. Laboratory development analyst Michael Kelly was happy to have the opportunity.

“I didn’t turn up my nose at the assignment,” he said with a smile.

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Going Away To School Made Easier

(NAPSI)—While the emotional and financial aspects of sending your youngster away to college have been much discussed, what many parents really need to know is just how to get all the stuff from their kid’s room at home to his or her room at school. Here are some hints that may help from the experts on moving at Penske Truck Rental:

• Know what you need before you go. Check with the student’s roommate before leaving home to be sure you don’t end up with two TVs and no refrigerator. Check with the school, too, about what objects may be forbidden (plastic trash cans, say) or required (such as specially sized sheets).

• Send ahead. You may be able to lighten your load a little by mailing some things to the school before you go or by buying appliances and electronics at chain stores that let you order near home or online and then pick up the actual items at stores near the school.

• Pick the proper-size truck for your stuff. Most college students can use a 12- or 16-foot truck for moving to their dorm room or off-campus apartment.

• Reserve early. Reserve the truck and any moving accessories at least two weeks in advance.

• Pack smart. Load the heaviest items first. To avoid injury, always bend your knees and lift with your legs, not your back.

• Use accessories. Boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, moving blankets and hand trucks are essential moving tools.

• Safety and security. Trucks are taller, wider and heavier than standard consumer vehicles. Drive more slowly and take extra precautions. Park in well-lit areas and padlock the rear door. Penske offers 24/7 emergency roadside assistance and optional protection plans.

• Create a travel bag. Don’t pack everything on the truck. Keep important paperwork, credit cards, identification, change of clothes, drinks and snacks close at hand.

• Pack strategically. Dorm rooms are generally quite small but you can position your belongings strategically to fit more into less space. For example, lofting the beds can free up floor space. Putting the beds up on blocks can create room to store things underneath.

Learn More

You can find more useful moving tips at www.PenskeTruckRental.com and www.facebook.com/PenskeU.

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Gas Prices Steer Buyers To Fuel-Efficient Cars

(NAPSI)—With oil hovering around $100 per barrel and gasoline prices continuing to rise, more car buyers are interested in cars, trucks and utilities that offer fuel economy, especially those with EPA-certified ratings of 40 mpg or more.

To achieve this, car manufacturers are working to improve aerodynamics and fuel-saving technologies.

For example, Ford recently designed the PowerShift, a dry dual-clutch automatic transmission, six-speed automatic transmissions, electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) and EcoBoost engines that save on fuel with no compromise to driving excitement.

One of their newest cars is the Focus SFE, EPA certified at 40 mpg highway and 28 mpg city. Focus joins the 41-mpg-city Fusion Hybrid and 40-mpg-highway Fiesta in the 40-mpg-and-over club.

In addition, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America, with its 41-mpg-city EPA-certified rating.

The arrival of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine later this year in the Edge crossover and Explorer SUV will see two more nameplates join the best-in-class mpg club.

More of the company’s fuel economy stars include:

• Mustang V6: the first car in history to deliver the combination of 300-plus horsepower and more than 30 mpg.

• F-150: Its 302-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic deliver a best-in-class 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

• Fiesta: The combination of a 120-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder and available six-speed dual-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission delivers 40 mpg on the highway.

• Super Duty: The 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel engine delivers as much as 20 percent better fuel economy than the 6.4-liter it replaced.

• Edge: Edge delivers 19 mpg city and a best-in-class 27 mpg highway. The upcoming 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine in the 2012 Edge is expected to deliver even greater economy.

• Fusion Hybrid remains America’s most fuel-efficient midsize family sedan, topping the Toyota Camry Hybrid by 10 mpg in the city, according to the EPA.

• Escape Hybrid, Transit Connect, Ranger and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid also lead their segments.

Car buyers will be paying close attention to mileage numbers in the near future and these efficient cars are likely to benefit from that trend.

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Gas-Saving Tips

(NAPSI)—Conserving gasoline saves motorists money and lessens America’s dependence on foreign oil. These gas-saving tips are from the experts at the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the group that tests and certifies automotive technicians.

• Keep tires properly inflated and wheels in alignment.

• Clean out clutter and unnecessary items to lessen the burden on the engine.

• Consolidate trips and errands; try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions.

• Go easy on sudden, hard accelerations; don’t speed; anticipate traffic patterns ahead and adjust your speed gradually.

• Keep the engine running at its peak by replacing filters and fluids as recommended in the owner’s manual and having engine performance problems such as rough idling corrected.

• Use windows and air-conditioning wisely. At highway speeds, it’s better to keep windows up (and air-conditioning on, if wanted) to reduce air drag. But turn off the A/C in stop-and-go traffic to save fuel.

Visit www.ase.com for car care tips, advice on finding an auto technician and more.

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Car Colors: Personal, Regional, Fashionable

(NAPSI)—The car color you choose may say a lot about you. In fact, according to a recent survey, it may indicate where you live.

For example, a classic choice could identify you as an American living on the East or West Coast. Despite an array of bright, vibrant car colors, U.S. customers on the coasts and customers in most European countries prefer the classic core colors—white, black, silver and gray.

Gray and silver are most popular in New York and Los Angeles. San Franciscans like white and Bostonians like black.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the U.S., customers have different preferences. Red is popular in the Midwest. Drivers in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh like green. And Phoenix and Miami customers like warm colors—orange and gold.

Across the ocean, tastes tend to be equally as diverse: French and Italian motorists like cream-colored vehicles, not a surprise given their café cultures. The Irish like silver. Customers in Denmark prefer black, while those in Belgium like gray.

Only one country in Europe has a top color other than white, black or silver: The Czech Republic chooses blue.

“The trend continues to be toward core colors—the classics,” said Susan Swek, Ford’s group chief designer for color and materials. “We strive to achieve the best black, silver, white and gray. We’re always working to make them even more appealing.”

Vehicle owners everywhere use color choice to convey messages about themselves, but color choices are also influenced by culture and fashion trends.

These findings are from Ford’s annual look at U.S. car-buying preferences as well as an international color study by DuPont.

Research also shows that white is the new red; dark grays, blacks and blues are also popular, mirroring fashion trends. Also, new paint technologies, such as tricoat pearl technology and tinted clear coats, keep colors fresh by adding a modern twist to classic hues.

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How To Read A Vehicle History Report

(NAPSI)—Old cars don’t die, they just get resold. If you’re buying a used car, whether it’s from a dealer or someone who put an ad in the paper, you’ll want to know as much about it as you can. Even without anyone trying to deceive you, the vehicle may have problems you can’t see from a simple visual inspection or even a short test-drive.

A vehicle history report prepared by a third party is one way to know what you’re getting. Combining information from various sources, a vehicle history report can give you a detailed overview of where the car’s been, and, combined with a mechanic’s inspection, can help protect you when buying a used car.

Here are some things to look for—or look out for—when you get a report on a vehicle. None of these things is necessarily a reason not to buy a car, but you shouldn’t make a decision without asking about anything you see on a vehicle history:

• Many owners. The more garages a car’s been in, the less likely it’s been lovingly cared for all its life. Not everyone is as diligent about car care as you are. You may pay a bit more, but finding a one-owner car can reduce your chances of ending up with one that’s been neglected.

• Location, location, location. Some parts of the country are more car friendly than others. Winter storms (with their accompanying salted roads) can be rough on cars, as obviously can floods, excessive heat or even sea air. Cars that have been where these are common may have hidden damage.

• The price is right. No two cars are exactly the same, as every car has a unique history. And that history can affect value, but how much? CARFAX Reports include a History Impact Calculator, helping buyers understand how much more or less than the retail book value a car is worth. Use this tool to help determine if the seller’s asking price is fair.

• Unfixed recalls. Recalls are fairly common but can be a serious problem if left unfixed. Keep an eye out for open recalls and if you see any, make sure the car’s taken to a dealer immediately to be fixed—it’s free.

Vehicle history reports from CARFAX are an essential step in the used car−buying process. They’re also a powerful tool for selling a car. More than 34,000 sources across North America report information to CARFAX, such as state motor vehicle departments, vehicle inspection stations, auto auctions, repair facilities, rental agencies, automobile manufacturers, and fire and police departments. Learn more at www.carfax.com.

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Stolen Cars: A New Kind Of Clone War

(NAPSI)—If you’re thinking of buying a used car that looks like a “steal,” take a deep breath before you reach for your wallet. It could be a steal in more ways than one.

That’s because there’s a particular type of auto theft involving used cars that’s called VIN cloning or “car cloning.” This is a lucrative scam where a criminal uses a vehicle identification number (VIN) from a legally registered car to mask the identity of a stolen car.

Car thieves obtain VINs by simply swiping the plate or the number from vehicles sitting at dealerships or in parking lots. They then use the counterfeit numbers to alter existing ownership documents using the stolen vehicle identity. Or they just forge new documents. All too often, these stolen vehicles end up in the hands of unsuspecting consumers.

Cloned cars are being discovered all over the country. Law enforcement calls it one of the nation’s biggest used car scams. A recent bust turned up more than 1,000 cloned vehicles worth $25 million.

“Scam artists can make off with as much as $30,000 of your hard-earned money and leave you paying off a loan for a car you no longer own,” said Larry Gamache of CARFAX. “What’s worse, you may become part of a criminal investigation as well.”

The best way to make sure your car is legitimate is with thorough research. To help avoid being a victim, follow these steps:

• Ask the seller to provide the title, service receipts and any other documents for the vehicle. Closely examine each document to make sure the VIN and names all match.

• Just say “Show Me the CARFAX.” Pay close attention to where and when the vehicle was registered. Registrations in multiple states over a short time should raise a red flag.

• Check if the mileage readings on all documents are consistent with the current odometer display.

• Have the vehicle inspected by a trusted, professional mechanic prior to purchase.

You can learn more at www.carfax.com.

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Used-Car Dealers

(NAPSI)—When it comes to getting a good deal on a used car, it helps to know a good dealer. For example, when car shopping, seek out someone who:

• Has a good reputation. You probably want to work with someone local who received good reviews in online rating services or who was recommended by someone you know and trust. Use tools like Google Places to help find dealers near you.

• Is open and up front with customers and is knowledgeable about their cars.

• Provides vehicle history so you can buy with more confidence. Carfax Advantage Dealers are committed to providing Carfax Reports on every car sold.

Learn More

To get reports and further car-buying advice, you can visit www.carfax.com.

 

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