AUTO

Best Vehicles

Vehicle Maintenance Donate Your Old Car Buying A Booster Seat Wiper Blade Technology Combat High Gas Prices Check Pressure
Tune-Up
Reduce Cost Of Gas

 

The Best Vehicles To Fit Your Needs

(NAPSI)—The next time you’re in the market for a new car or truck, you may wonder what’s hot and what’s not. What seals the deal for many buyers is the ability to individualize and personalize a vehicle.

While the $28 billion annual automotive customization market offers thousands of products to transform any car or truck, some models offer more options for personalization than others.

One way to learn which cars and trucks are the most accessory friendly is to check out the SEMA Award winners, presented annually by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). Whether you want to create a high-performance sports car or a rugged truck worthy of off-roading, these awards can help you identify which vehicles have the greatest potential for customization.

“Each year, manufacturers from the specialty and performance industry come to the SEMA Show with an array of new products and new styling trends displayed on the cars and trucks they view as the most popular trend-setting models,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA’s president and CEO. “The SEMA Award taps into the exhibitors’ unique ability to identify what’s hot, just as the trends are gaining momentum.”

This year’s awards were presented to the Chevrolet Camaro for the Hottest Car, the Fiat 500 for the Hottest Sport Compact, the Ford F-Series for the Hottest Truck and the Jeep Wrangler for the Hottest 4x4-SUV.

Hottest 4x4-SUV

The Jeep Wrangler was named the Hottest 4x4-SUV for the second consecutive year. Custom parts and accessories for the Jeep Wrangler remain in high demand as owners look for ways to make their Wranglers more their own. Enthusiasm for the Wrangler has lead to its winning of multiple industry awards, including the SEMA Most Accessory-Friendly SUV in 2007.

Hottest Truck

The F-Series is a perennial favorite with enthusiasts and specialty-equipment manufacturers. New F-Series designs have spurred even more parts and accessories for blue-oval fans, and all indications are that the trend will continue with the latest models.

Hottest Sport Compact

The Fiat 500 was named the Hottest Sport Compact at the 2011 SEMA Show, making it the first vehicle to take home the honor in the newest category and beating out a dozen competitors. After arriving in U.S. showrooms earlier last year, the Fiat 500 quickly became a favorite of auto enthusiasts, specialty manufacturers and customizers nationwide.

With beautiful Italian styling, timeless functionality, fuel efficiency and innovative technology—the same attributes that made the original version an icon—the 2012 Fiat 500 is relevant for an entirely new generation of drivers.

Hottest Car

Named the Hottest Car for the second consecutive year, the Camaro remains one of the most accessorized vehicles on the planet, and the list of available performance parts and accessories grows daily as its popularity increases.

The SEMA Award program provides valuable guidance to those looking for a top-quality vehicle that can be personalized.

Before purchasing your next vehicle, visit www.sema.org to learn more about the program and see how you can customize your new ride.

 

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Ten Tips For Vehicle Maintenance

(NAPSI)—To keep your car on the road to safety and savings, now is a good time to make sure that it’s in the best condition.

“Now is the time for motorists to ensure that their vehicles are in shape,” said Jim Sassorossi, head of Product Development at Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “The safety, performance and life of a vehicle hinge on preventive maintenance.”

Here are hints on how:

• Check Brakes—Brakes are one of the most used (and often abused) components on a car. A thin layer of the brake pad disintegrates every time the brakes are applied. Replace pads or shoes before drums or rotors become damaged. Check pads, shoes, drums, rotors, calipers, fittings, brake hardware and the parking brake to prevent problems.

• Check Tires—Check air pressure on all tires, including the spare. Improper tire pressure leads to premature wear and a decrease in fuel mileage. The entire surface of the tire, both tread and sidewall, should be inspected for uneven or irregular wear.

• Check Lights—Inspect and test all exterior lamps and lights, including turn signals and hazard lights, to ensure that they are in proper working order and alignment.

• Check Air Filter—The air filter is one of the unsung heroes of a vehicle, as it protects the engine from airborne contaminants. Replacing a dirty air filter helps ensure proper performance and longer life.

• Check Oil—Oil is the lifeblood of the engine. Engine oil level should be changed and replenished regularly.

• Check All Fluid Levels—Dirty or low fluids may affect the performance of a vehicle and can lead to breakdowns if not properly monitored and filled.

• Check Engine Belts, Hoses and Fuel Filter—Prevent breakdowns or serious engine damage and maximize fuel economy.

• Check Battery—Look for corroded terminals and inspect for a bulging or cracked case.

• Check Shocks and Struts—They’re vital for a smooth ride and optimal handling and may affect other vehicle parts.

• Check Wiper Blades—Properly functioning wiper blades increase visibility. To alert you when it’s time for a change, Mopar all-season wiper blades feature an innovative wear indicator that gradually turns from black to green to yellow as the blades wear.

Mopar is a contraction of MOtor and PARts. While it’s Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand, an alliance with Magneti Marelli enables Chrysler Group dealerships to service vehicles for GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and Kia.

Learn More

You’ll find further facts and tips at www.mopar.com.

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Put Your Old Car On The Road To Giving And Getting

(NAPSI)—The next time you find yourself stuck with an old vehicle that barely runs—or doesn’t even run at all—you may be surprised at just how far that car can go.

If you donate it to a charitable organization, you can help others, help the environment and help yourself to a tax deduction.

What An Old Car Can Do

Donating a car can generate enough cash to:

• Supply a month’s worth of food for a family of five,

• Provide more than two years’ worth of generic drugs to a senior citizen,

• Support education, medical research and youth programs,

• Help rescue animals from neglect and abuse.

What You Can Get

Besides the good feeling you get from helping others, you can benefit in another way. Because donated vehicles qualify as charitable gifts, you may be eligible for a tax deduction. If your vehicle sells for less than $500, you can claim up to $499. If it sells for more than $500, you can deduct the actual sale price.

Most vehicle donation programs provide full service, including free pickup coordination, processing of the paperwork and sending you completed tax forms.

What The World Gets

Recycling the metal from old vehicles saves energy, conserves natural resources and reduces the pollution that can come from steel production. According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, recycling one car conserves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.

Thanks to the salvage auction industry, the nation sees significant energy and environmental savings by recycling old materials, such as aluminum and steel, rather than relying on creating those materials from scratch and using precious resources from the environment.

Annually, more than 1.7 million tons of steel and more than 268,000 tons of aluminum are recycled. This eliminates the need to manufacture such metals and translates to a reduction in landfill space in one year that would equal all 31 NFL football stadiums filled 12 feet deep.

What Many People Don’t Get

Surprisingly, although vehicle donation programs have been around for years, many people don’t know much about them or how easy it can be to donate. Nearly three out of four Americans made charitable contributions in the last five years. Sixty-nine percent donated cash, 67 percent donated used goods and 47 percent donated time. Only 6 percent donated a used vehicle. In fact, four in 10 respondents said they were lacking the information and understanding of the overall benefits and process of vehicle donation.

A national vehicle donation program called One Car One Difference was launched to help dispel common misperceptions about the value and ease of vehicle donation.

Learn More

For more information about vehicle donation or to learn how to donate a vehicle, call (877) 557-1CAR or check out www.1car1difference.com.

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When Buying A Booster Seat, Check With The Experts

(NAPSI)—Before you shop for a booster seat, there’s one thing you ought to know: Not all booster seats on the market will provide the right fit for the car you drive.

Using a booster seat is important. With a booster seat, children ages 4 to 8 are 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries in crashes than when they’re in belts alone.

Fortunately, your efforts to choose the right seat can get a boost from some expert guidance. Following the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ratings can make it easier to select boosters.

Unlike child restraints with built-in harnesses, a booster seat relies on a vehicle safety belt to buckle the child in. Its purpose is to make the adult belt fit the child better.

Safety belts are designed with adults in mind, not kids, but when a booster seat does its job, the vehicle belt will fit a child correctly. That means the lap belt will lie flat across a child’s upper thighs, not across the soft abdomen, and the shoulder belt will cross snugly over the middle of a child’s shoulder.

The Institute assigns tested seats into four categories:

Best Bets are seats that provide good fit for typical 4- to 8-year-olds in almost any car, minivan or SUV.

Good Bets provide acceptable fit in most cars, minivans or SUVs.

Not Recommended don’t provide a good fit and should be avoided.

Check Fit applies to booster seats that have varied results depending on child size and vehicle model.

Checking Booster Fit

Both the lap and shoulder belts must fit your child correctly.

To check the lap belt fit, make sure it lies flat and on top of the thighs, not higher up on the abdomen.

To check the shoulder belt fit, make sure it fits across the middle of the child’s shoulder. If it falls off the shoulder or rests on your child’s neck, it won’t work as well. An improper fit could encourage your child to move the belt to a dangerous position, such as behind the back or under the arm.

The Institute assesses boosters using a special crash test dummy representing an average-sized 6-year-old. Engineers measure how three-point lap and shoulder belts fit in each of the tested boosters under conditions that span the range of safety belt configurations in vehicle models.

For more information, visit www.iihs.org.

 

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Car Check Keeps Families Safer Behind The Wheel

(NAPSI)—When the chatter of your wiper blades is louder than the kids in the backseat, you know it’s time to change your wiper blades, and you may even add it to a pre-road-trip to-do list. But why wait? Instead, make inspecting wiper blades part of your regular vehicle safety inspection.

Spending a few minutes with your car now can help you enjoy safer driving this summer. More than a deep wash to get winter’s salt and grime away, maintenance items on a car checklist should include inspecting and repairing items that wear over time.

Routine items to check include

• tire pressure

• fluid levels

• air-conditioning and engine cooling systems

• hoses and filters

• turn signal indicators

• headlights, taillights and running lights

• ...plus—one of the simplest—inspect and replace worn wiper blades.

Nationally recognized automotive expert in car care Lauren Fix, “The Car Coach,” knows that an estimated 90 percent of a motorist’s driving decisions are based on how well he or she sees the road. Fix and her daughter, “Teen Car Coach” Shelby Fix, agree that checking wiper blades is one of the easiest ways to improve your family’s road safety.

As Shelby writes, “A dirty windshield could cause big problems. If you can’t see where you are going, it’s dangerous to everyone. Get a new set of wiper blades...they are worth it.”

Properly maintained wiper blades are simply an easy, low-cost way to help ensure the clearest sight line in a rainstorm and improve driving safety.

Industry experts recommend checking blades periodically and replacing them about every six months.

Better Blades

Worn, torn or inefficient blades leave streaks, a film and an inconsistent view of the road that can limit vision or delay driver judgment. New blades can provide a better and longer-lasting clear view of the road, especially important for improving safety during summer rainstorms.

One option is the Michelin Stealth Hybrid Technology wiper blade, with a patent-pending, spring-loaded design for superior contact with the windshield and improved wiping performance in all weather conditions.

For more information, visit www.michelinstealth.com. More advice from Lauren and Shelby Fix can be found at www.laurenfix.com.

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Gas Prices: Don’t Panic, Get Perspective

(NAPSI)—While many motorists may panic when gas prices rise, a little planning, perspective and a few simple steps can go a long way to combat the price of fuel:

• Keep your car properly tuned to improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.

• Keep tires properly inflated and improve gas mileage by 3 percent.

• Replace dirty or clogged air filters and improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.

• Replace dirty spark plugs, which can reduce mileage by two miles per gallon.

• Change oil regularly and gain another mile per gallon.

Driving behavior also impacts fuel efficiency.

• Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 mph.

• Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Warming up the vehicle for one or two minutes is sufficient.

• Avoid quick starts and stops. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city.

• Consolidate trips. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much gas as one longer multipurpose trip.

• Don’t haul unneeded items. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent.

“It’s easy to be alarmed by the cost of gas, but when motorists take a look at the big picture, they’ll see that much of the increased cost can be offset by adjusting driving habits and implementing a proactive vehicle preventative maintenance plan,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Fuel economy is related to vehicle maintenance.

“A 20 cent increase in the price of a gallon of gas results in roughly $2 more per week the average commuter must spend,” continued White. “Simple, inexpensive maintenance and altering the way you drive goes a long way to offset soaring fuel prices, keeping more money in your wallet.”

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.

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Take The Sting Out Of Summer Driving

(NAPSI)—The cost of going on a vacation or road trip may pinch your wallet as gas prices are projected to continue to rise, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. While you may be able to adjust your travel plans with shorter trips that are closer to home, one way to take the sting out of the cost of summer travel is to make sure your vehicle is road ready and use products that will improve your gas mileage and save you money on maintenance costs.

Simple steps like checking your tire pressure and getting a tune-up will improve your gas mileage.

• Upgrade your fluids. Not all motor oils are the same, and many people don’t know how to select motor oil that will help them get optimum performance out of their car. Upgrading your vehicle’s lubricants is often the quickest and cheapest way to improve your car’s performance and reliability. Improved lubrication with premium synthetic motor oil like Royal Purple frequently translates into improved gas mileage. Individual results will vary, but numerous consumers have seen as much as a 5 percent increase in fuel economy by upgrading lubricants.

The switch to synthetic can save you in another way. The number of miles between oil changes can often be doubled or even tripled. Extended service intervals, sometimes as much as 12,000 miles between oil changes, keep vehicles out of the shop and save consumers money.

• Watch your tire pressure. Tires are mass produced for a variety of vehicles, so inflating your tires to the number on the outside wall of the tire is not sufficient. Check to see what your manufacturer recommends. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, keeping your tires inflated at the correct pressure can result in gasoline savings up to 12 cents a gallon.

• Check your oxygen sensor. Have your mechanic check your oxygen sensor at each tune-up. Oxygen sensors play an important role in your engine’s performance and in reducing pollution. Depending on the age of your vehicle, oxygen sensors should be checked and replaced if needed from 30,000−100,000 miles. Keeping the oxygen sensor fresh may improve fuel economy as much as 10−15 percent.

Whether you’re hitting the road this summer on a trip or daily driving, making sure your vehicle is ready for the road can mean savings even if you’re paying more at the pump. For more information, visit www.RoyalPurple.com.

 

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Drivers: A One-Stop Shop For Combating Rising Gas Prices

(NAPSI)—As gas prices remain volatile, many drivers are looking for ways to take control of the painful impact on their wallets. While Americans with access to well-developed mass transit systems have alternative transportation options, there are millions more for whom driving is a daily necessity.

While these drivers can’t control the unpredictable price of gas, they can look for ways to be more fuel efficient. For drivers looking to make a dramatic change, trading in a gas guzzler can make the biggest impact, but even a small upgrade in fuel economy will make a difference. A vehicle getting 30 mpg costs today’s average driver $968 less to fuel annually than one getting 20 mpg.

To help drivers easily find all the information they need to make a smart purchase to “green” their daily driving routine, eBay, the world’s largest online marketplace, has launched eBay Green Driving, a one-stop resource designed to provide drivers with ways to reduce both money spent at the pump as well as their environmental impact.

Helpful features on eBay Green Driving include:

• Fuel Type Comparison Tool—Developed with data from the Department of Energy’s fuel economy.gov, this unique and user-friendly tool provides simple, side-by-side fuel technology comparisons complete with information on driving range, estimated vehicle cost, estimated annual fuel costs, ecological impact and more.

• Easy Searching—Visitors can use a simple browsing feature to quickly search available eBay vehicle inventory by type of fuel, body style or lifestyle to find their ideal fuel-efficient vehicle. Whether users have their heart set on an electric vehicle or simply want to get the most miles per gallon possible, this tool will help them find the best fuel-saving solution.

• Green Driving News and Reviews—A comprehensive green driving resource, eBay Green Driving provides visitors with interesting, shoppable content, such as Prius-model comparisons and fuel-saving driving tips.

“Automakers continue to break new ground with superhigh-mpg models, as well as cars that run on electricity or alternative fuels,” said green-driving expert Bradley Berman. “eBay’s Green Driving site provides an intuitive and easy way for people to search for, compare and purchase these vehicles. There’s a large inventory of cars to consider and a wealth of informative fun content on the site.”

To learn more, drivers can visit green.ebay.com/green-driving for more information and guidance on curbing fuel costs.

 

 

 

 

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