AUTO

Buying A New Car Or Truck

Don't Text And Drive Car Insurance Tips Don't Drink And Drive Safety Tips Senior Driving Tips Sunroof Recall Buying Certified Cars

Buying A New Car Or Truck That Can Be Custom Fit

(NAPSI)—Stylish wheels, contoured seats, increased fuel efficiency and added horsepower are just a few ways that today's drivers are personalizing their vehicles. Estimated at nearly $28 billion annually, the automotive customization market is booming and includes thousands of products that can transform any car or truck into the vehicle of one's dream.

"Many people see the vehicles they drive as a reflection of themselves," said Chris Kersting, Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) president and CEO. "So it's no surprise that drivers like to customize their cars and trucks to reflect their unique personalities."

While all vehicles can be personalized, shoppers looking for the car or truck with the greatest potential for customization can turn to the SEMA Award to guide them toward the most accessory-friendly new models. The winning vehicles were selected by manufacturers who develop and design automotive parts and accessories. This year's winners include the Chevrolet Camaro, named Hottest Car; the Ford F-Series, named Hottest Truck; and the Jeep Wrangler, named Hottest 4x4 SUV.

"Every year, manufacturers bring exciting and inventive new ideas for accessorizing vehicles to the SEMA Show," said Kersting. "So many amazing products and accessories hitting the market right now involve improving the performance of vehicles' functionality, safety and convenience, and enhancing appearance and comfort. The SEMA Award winners represent the vehicles that offer some of the greatest possibilities."

• Chevrolet Camaro: The list of available performance parts and accessories for the Chevrolet Camaro grows daily as its popularity increases.

Accessorizing ideas for this car range from air springs to electronic gadgets that charge your phone, provide you with GPS data and even monitor your tire pressure while sitting in the driver seat.

• Ford F-Series: The Ford F-Series has long been a favorite with enthusiasts and parts manufacturers alike. The truck's new design has spurred the growth of even more accessories. Some unique features include a slide-out bed to make loading and unloading easier for small-business owners and special paint protection products to help prevent rocks, gravel, salt or insects from damaging the truck's finish.

• Jeep Wrangler: The multifunctional Jeep Wrangler, admired for its versatility as a personal vehicle, off-roading hobbyist's toy and a great work vehicle, continues to drive demand for innovative custom parts and accessories. Specialty wheels and tires can make this vehicle transform easily from a daily driver to an off-road toy, while custom gauges, floor mats or seat covers provide the vehicle with an instant makeover.

With the right parts and accessories, drivers can make a personal statement with their new cars and trucks. Whether drivers are looking to create a high-performance sports car or a rugged truck worthy of off-roading, the first step is to select a vehicle that has the greatest potential for customization. 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 SEMA Award program and to view complete lists of manufacturers offering products for each of the winning vehicles. Then, you'll be well on your way to creating a unique vehicle that fits you like a glove.

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Don't Text and Drive

(NAPSI)—There are steps parents and others can take to drive down the dreadful rate of traffic injuries and fatalities. An estimated 6,000 people are killed and 500,000 people are injured annually because someone was texting, e-mailing or talking on a mobile phone while driving.

The Facts

Dr. Joel Haber, a clinical psychologist and LG Text Ed council member, explains that for teens, texting and driving is an even bigger problem than it is for adults.

First, kids text more. Texting is their preferred mode of communication. According to a recent LG Text Ed survey conducted by LG Mobile phones, while half of all teens admit to texting while driving, only 4 percent of parents are aware of this.

Second, teens are inherently novices when it comes to driving. They especially need to focus on the road to compensate for any lack of driving skill or experience.

Third, teens can literally be driven to distraction. If a teen is caught up in a dramatic or tense texting conversation, it could be too enticing to focus on the phone instead of the road.

The Stats

The U.S. government's official website on distracted driving, www.distraction.gov, cites multiple statistics on the dangers of this careless behavior:

• Using a mobile phone while driving, whether it's handheld or hands-free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.

• Driving while using a mobile phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.

• Drivers who use handheld devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves as those who don't.

• An estimated 11 percent of drivers are talking on cell phones while driving at any point during the day.

The Steps

1. Impress upon teens the need to not text or talk on the phone while driving by not doing so yourself. Beyond providing an example of responsible behavior, this creates a safer driving environment.

2. Explain to your teens the seriousness of the situation and let them know that it is important to have a plan in order to avoid temptation. For example, have them always keep their cell phone off while driving or in the backseat out of reach to avoid distraction completely.

3. Learn more from the experts in mobile technology at LG by visiting the company's LG Text Ed website, www.lgtexted.com. As part of its Text Education campaign, LG offers insights and solutions on how to avoid possibly harmful behaviors such as distracted driving. In order to keep distractions to a minimum, LG encourages all drivers to never text while driving and to always use a hands-free Bluetooth device when operating a vehicle.

 

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The Top Things You Don't Know About Your Car Insurance

(NAPSI)-Americans have gone to sleep dreaming of cars ever since the first Model T was rolled off the assembly line in 1908. Some dreamt of the cool bullet nose on the 1950 Studebaker Commander Convertible. Some dreamt of classic muscle cars like the 1969 Ford Mustang "Boss 429."

When dreamers become drivers, however, they'd better be darn sure they comply with state laws mandating that they carry auto insurance. Most states won't even issue you a license unless you're covered for liability against injuries and property damage done to others.

If it's been too long since you checked your auto insurance policy, you may be surprised by what you may or may not be covered against. Read on:

• Remember This Word:

Depreciation

Picture this scenario you (probably) wouldn't wish on even your worst enemy: Only a few short weeks have gone by since you proudly drove your brand-new car off the lot, when suddenly—wham!—it's totaled in an accident.

If you're like a stunning 52 percent of those questioned for an "Insurance Literacy" survey conducted recently by Zogby International for MetLife Auto & Home, you've been operating under the assumption that you're automatically covered for the car's full replacement cost. Uh, not necessarily. Most insurers subtract for depreciation—and you'd be surprised how much "value" disappears once you drive off the lot. Only a select few like MetLife Auto & Home will make you whole during a policy's first year and/or 15,000 miles.

• It's Possible To Be "Upside Down" on a Totaled Vehicle

The past few years have made us all more familiar with this term, as applied to home mortgages, than we ever wanted to be. However, the same principle applies to auto loans. Say you still owe $15,000 on your loan. If you're in an accident and your car ends up being declared a total loss but is still valued below the loan payment, guess what: Unless you had the foresight to purchase "gap" insurance, you're still responsible for repaying the difference on your loan.

• Leasing Isn't a Free Pass

Ah, but you say you don't actually own your car. Nice try, but even if the vehicle you demolished (see above) was leased, you'd also need to have purchased gap insurance to have your insurer cover replacing it and paying off your lease obligation.

• The Rental Car Conundrum

Talk about probably wasting an average of $9 to $19 a day. Even though most auto insurance policies and credit cards extend (varying) rental insurance benefits to customers, 28 percent of those surveyed said they nevertheless signed up for the insurance offered by rental car companies when not driving their own cars.

• Check Your Homeowners Policy

If someone steals your cell phone or MP3 player from your car, don't expect most standard auto policies to cover its replacement cost. That's handled by homeowners, condo and renters insurance.

• Money-Savers Not To Be Overlooked

Why leave money on the table when you don't have to? While 93 percent of those surveyed knew they could get a break on their insurance if they had a good driving record, only 63 percent were aware that discounts also exist for things like carpooling or limiting travel below a certain number of miles per year.

Similarly, only 19 percent knew you could save as much as 28 percent by buying auto insurance through programs offered by employers.

So what's the takeaway from all this? Well, if you just go by the Zogby results, perhaps it's no wonder that 77 percent of those surveyed said they were willing to pay more for the "peace of mind" that comes with better coverage. "People want to avoid costly surprises," said Bill Moore, president of MetLife Auto & Home. "Knowing what you're covered for can make all the difference at the time of a claim."

To test your knowledge of auto insurance and see how you stack up against those surveyed, visit www.metlife.com/insurancequiz.

 

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Save Lives: Pledge To Not Drink And Drive

(NAPSI)-If you're like 90 percent of drivers, you recognize that your personal safety is at risk because of drivers impaired by alcohol or other drugs.

What The Numbers Show

You've got good reason, as the statistics indicate:

• Every day, 32 people in the United States die in traffic crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

• Alcohol-impaired drivers contribute to about one out of every three traffic deaths each year.

• An average of one alcohol-impaired driving death occurs every 45 minutes.

What You Can Do

Fortunately, there is something you can do to keep yourself and your family safe. Join AAA at www.TakeThePledge.AAA.com and commit to driving only while drug and alcohol free.

• Plan ahead and designate a nondrinking driver before any party or celebration begins.

• Never get behind the wheel of a car when you've been drinking alcohol-even after just one drink.

• Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired.

• Be a real friend: Call a taxi for those in need.

Be a responsible host in reminding guests to stay safe and always offering alcohol-free beverages.

What Others Are Doing

Log on to TakeThePledge.AAA.com, where you can sign a pledge to support a culture of zero tolerance for impaired driving and easily spread the word to family and friends via Facebook, Twitter and Take the Pledge e-cards. AAA launched the new public awareness initiative in response to feedback from its members-representing one in every four households-who cite impaired driving as their greatest safety concern.

Where To Learn More

The website at www.TakeThePledge.AAA.com serves not only as a gateway for people to publicly commit to the fight against impaired driving, but offers prevention awareness tips, up-to-date statistics and related news stories in an effort to help people drive responsibly.

 

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Simple Steps To Staying Safe

(NAPSI)-If you are a woman who travels alone frequently, there are a few simple steps you can take to help ensure your safety on the road and that could potentially protect you in a dangerous situation.

• Selective parking: Whether it's an outdoor parking lot or a covered garage, make sure the lot and space you are parking in are well lit. Avoid parking away from other cars and be aware of parking beside commercial vans without glass side panels, where potential attackers could be hiding. When you return to your car, quickly survey your surroundings, including under your vehicle and the backseat.

• Have your keys in hand: Before you leave the store, take the time to find your keys and have them in hand as you walk to your vehicle. Time spent rummaging in your purse when you get to your car may leave you open to a potential attack. If you're faced with a dangerous situation, the keys in your hand can also be used as a weapon.

• Avoid playing Good Samaritan: While your heart might be in the right place, it's not a good idea to stop to help someone when you are by yourself, especially in a remote area. It's best to call 911 and let the dispatcher know the location of the person who is stranded.

• Use your car's safety and security features: Familiarize yourself with the safety and security features of your car. Does your car have a GPS? Is there a feature that will alert emergency personnel if you are involved in a car accident? Automatic car starters are a good feature because they could save you critical time in a bad situation.

• Keep your vehicle serviced: A poorly maintained vehicle could cause you problems at the worst possible times. Check your tires for wear and rotate them every other oil change. Have your battery checked for corrosion and make sure there's the appropriate amount of water in it and that it holds a charge. Check your fluids and get your oil changed. Using synthetic oil such as Royal Purple can be a great way to extend the life of your car and save money. Synthetic motor oils can usually run longer than traditional motor oils, depending on the wear and tear you put on your vehicle.

• Have a plan if trouble arises: Do you know what you would do if you were confronted by a potential abductor or carjacker? If you are approached by a person in or around your car, drop any bags, run and make a lot of noise that will draw attention to you. Try to stay in control of the situation. Whatever you do, do not go with the person to another location regardless of promises that you won't be hurt. If you feel you're being followed by another car, call 911 and drive to a police station or hospital.

• Learn more: For more information about synthetic motor oil and other automotive products, visit www.royalpurple.com.

 

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Stay On The Road To Safety

(NAPSI)-The number of senior drivers on the road continues to rise. According to AAAseniors.com, there will be approximately 54 million Americans over 65 years old in 2020 and many members of that group will be driving. Being an older driver doesn't mean that person shouldn't drive, but it's helpful to plan ahead and take steps to ensure the safest trip or drive possible.

• Assess the situation—While it should be up to the older driver to evaluate his or her own driving abilities, senior driver or senior improvement courses are great ways to help in that assessment. Senior driving classes can reacquaint a driver with the rules of the road, point out warning signs and discuss new driving issues such as distractions, including texting and cell phones. Check with your local senior center, AARP or AAA for senior driving courses near you.

• Be prepared for emergencies—Consider getting a cell phone if you don't have one. Donated and recycled phones programmed to only dial 9-1-1 are available. Some cell phones come with larger buttons and displays to make them easier for seniors to use and several service carriers have special senior calling plans. Have an emergency preparedness kit in the trunk that includes phone numbers to call in an emergency (relatives or neighbors, towing company, local garage or dealership), quart of motor oil, tire gauge, white cloth or sign that will help you signal for help, jumper cables, flashlight and blanket.

• Running smooth—A well-maintained vehicle is another factor in safe driving. That's why it is important to follow regular maintenance practices. Check the air pressure and condition of your tires and have them rotated. A good rule of thumb is to rotate them every other oil change. Get your oil changed and, to extend the life of your car and the oil, consider using a synthetic motor oil. Cars using a synthetic oil such as Royal Purple can go up to 10,000 miles between oil changes, which means less money spent on oil changes and less impact on the environment with less oil disposed.

• Keep it safe—Other items to check for safe driving include: Clean and adjust your headlights. A technician at a dealership or repair shop can adjust the aim to help you see the road better and help other drivers avoid glare. Keep your windows clean inside and out to increase visibility. Repair any windshield chips or cracks before they have a chance to spread.

For seniors or anyone who enjoys driving, one of the first steps for safety on the road is following the basics and being prepared. For more information on Royal Purple products, visit www.royalpurple.com or call (888) 382-6300.

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Car Owners Are Asked To Check Their Sunroofs

(NAPSI)—Though millions of Americans have a sunroof in their car, many are not aware of a related product recall that could affect them. Regardless of the make or model of your car or truck, your sunroof may be among more than a quarter million that are being recalled by Webasto, the sunroof manufacturer, for potential glass debonding. Though only a small percentage of vehicles with sunroofs are affected by this voluntary recall—less than 1 percent—it poses a potential safety hazard, so it is important for all owners to do a simple check of their sunroof to see if they need the repair, which will be done at no cost to them.

What Consumers Should Do

There is an easy way to determine if your sunroof is one of two product lines affected by this recall. The most recognizable components of the sunroofs affected are the switches and presence of a Webasto logo on the sunshade handle.

• Hollandia 700/600 model: Consumers should look at the sunshade handle; if it says "Webasto" and the serial number is within the range of 6000000 to 6396298 it is covered under the safety recall.

• Hollandia TVS 900 model: This model has two tilt-up glass panels with a black plastic bar crossing the glass side to side. If "Webasto" is embossed on the bar, it is also covered under this safety recall.

All details on how to identify the sunroofs, including photos and a video, are available on the recall website www.sunroofcheck.com. Step-by-step instructions on how to arrange for a repair with Webasto's authorized installers are also provided. It's important to know that car dealerships are not administering this recall.

"We recognize that asking all vehicle owners to check their sunroof may be an inconvenience, but we believe this preventive action is in the best interest of the public," said Mark Hickey, vice president, Business Development, Webasto Product North America. "Though we are reaching out to vehicle owners in other ways, we want to take every step we can to identify all vehicles that could have an affected sunroof."

About the Recall

Webasto filed its Defect Information Report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stating that, although rare, conditions existing with the adhesive bond between the glass and metal frame in certain Hollandia 700, 600 and TVS 900 series non-factory installed sunroofs can increase the risk that the sunroof glass panel may completely debond from its frame. Webasto reported to NHTSA that the company was unaware of any injuries on the day of filing.

The recall only involves non-factory installed (aftermarket) sunroof glass panels and does not include the vast majority of Webasto sunroofs that are installed by auto manufacturers during vehicle assembly at the factory. However, the only way to determine if your sunroof is non-factory installed, even if you bought your vehicle new from a car dealer, is to do the inspection as described above.

This recall affects 283,996 sunroofs in the United States. Working with NHTSA, Webasto is moving swiftly to contact affected vehicle owners. In addition to the dedicated website, customers can also contact the Webasto Customer Service Center at (888) 749-8632 for more information or to schedule a repair.

 

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Stretching Your Money: Tips On Buying Certified Cars

(NAPSI)-If you're thinking of purchasing a used car, there's good news. Used cars don't have to be as risky a purchase as they used to be. Thanks to certification programs, it's harder to distinguish new from used and more car buyers are turning to certified cars for better value.

Certification offers a way to buy a used car with confidence and helps you pick the best from the best.

The number of certified preowned (CPO) vehicles sold this year could be the highest in recent memory as sales continue to rise at record pace. Besides costing less than new-car counterparts, certified vehicles also come with many of the same benefits, eliminating much of the guesswork associated with buying used.

Some say it is one of the few segments of the auto market where both sales and value to the buyer have increased. Be wary, however, because not all certification programs are created equal. To help sort out the best from the worthless, used-car experts offer the following tips:

Certified by whom?

Make sure you know who sets the standards for the certification program and who makes certain they're being enforced. Look for a manufacturer-backed program—the best people to certify a car are the ones who built it and specialize in that make. Most manufacturers will offer a limited warranty in addition to honoring the car's original warranty.

Do your homework.

Research the models that make sense for your driving needs. Check safety and reliability reports published online and prices from your whole area.

How was the car certified?

At a minimum, a car should have a detailed mechanical inspection and a vehicle history report. Carfax Vehicle History Reports are included with more than 80 percent of all manufacturer CPO vehicles for sale today.

What does it get you?

The certified used car you're buying probably comes with an extended warranty. Make sure you know exactly what this covers and for how long. You can always add additional coverage.

Ask for more.

If you want roadside assistance, options added to the car, free oil changes or anything else, don't be afraid to ask.

For more information or to order a report, go to www.carfax.com.

 

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