AUTO

Car Care Aware

Driving Safety Brake Service Car Buying Tips Vehicle Donation Green Driving Staying Safe Slow Down SUVs and Trucks Hybrids

Has Your Car Been Feeling Left Out In The Cold?

(NAPSI)—It's always there when you need it and it gets you through all sorts of rough weather. So you may want to give your vehicle a little something back. Consider setting aside the time to care for your car by following three simple steps:

• Keep your vehicle clean. Regular car washes and waxes protect the paint and body of your car from corrosive debris. If you've been driving on salted roads, regular washing is even more important.

• Keep your car on schedule. Every vehicle has a manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedule. Whether you choose to do your own maintenance or patronize a repair shop, following a routine service schedule is essential to keeping your car in safe and dependable working order.

• Keep an eye on the little things. Are your windshield wipers cleaning as well as they should? Is your gas tank missing its cap? Is there a warning light lit on your dashboard? When you see that your car needs attention, don't delay. Repairing small things now can help avoid more-costly problems down the road and add years of useful vehicle life.

"Many vehicles end up neglected and could use a little extra care to get them ready for driving season," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

"For most Americans, their vehicle is their second-biggest investment and they rely on it every single day to get to work, school and everywhere in between. Taking a little time for car care now can save headaches and money in the long run."

Learn More

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 free copy of the council's "Car Care Guide" or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

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Winter Driving Safety: What You Need To Know

(NAPSI)—When it comes to winter driving, being prepared can help keep you on the road to safety.

Winter weather can be unpredictable, so it's important to navigate icy, snowy roads with caution. To help, here are some tips designed to sharpen your driving skills and get you prepared for winter's worst.

Account For The Conditions

First and foremost, it is important to keep control of your vehicle at all times. When you encounter snowy conditions, remember to slow down. It takes a vehicle twice as long to stop on slippery surfaces as it does on dry roads.

If you do not have an ABS system, avoid braking suddenly. Give the brake pedal a few soft taps rather than one hard push to avoid sending your vehicle into a skid.

The Right Tires Are Key

Equally important to increasing your winter driving safety is making sure your car has winter tires. They can play an essential role in your vehicle's safety, handling and performance when driving in cold-weather road conditions. Did you know that winter tires can deliver approximately 25 percent more traction on winter roads than all-season tires, which can help you to stop in time and avoid trouble spots?

Also, as temperatures get colder, your tire's air pressure can change. This makes it important to check your tire pressure monthly during the winter season. Ensuring that tires are at the proper inflation levels will help optimize winter tire performance and can also help improve fuel efficiency.

For example, the Michelin X-IceŽ Xi2 tire is engineered to tackle the most extreme cold-weather driving conditions. A wide-tread contact patch generates acceleration and braking power, as well as cornering traction, for outstanding winter maneuvering.

Getting the facts on winter driving techniques and taking the time to have your vehicle checked before venturing out on the roads this winter can make all the difference when it comes to safety.

To learn more, visit www.michelinman.com.

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Give Your Car The Brakes It Deserves

(NAPSI)—Before you try to stop your car again, you may want to start thinking about your brakes.

Consider the strength and power it takes to bring a 4,000-pound or heavier vehicle from 60 mph to a quick, safe stop. Many drivers take their brakes for granted until they squeal, grind or, worse, stop working altogether.

Before that happens, you can get your brakes checked at a qualified, licensed service center. Driving with worn brakes is dangerous for you, your passengers, fellow motorists and pedestrians. Regular brake inspections also help prevent expensive damage and avert potential safety issues.

Most cars today are equipped with disc brakes. When you put your foot on the brake pedal, fluid triggers a piston in a caliper to press the brake pad against a rotor on the wheel. The friction of the pad against the rotor stops the hub and wheel—and, therefore, the vehicle.

The friction from braking also generates intense heat and brake dust as the pads begin to wear. When pads get too thin, not only can braking ability be compromised, but the heat can damage the rotors and lead to even costlier repairs.

Quality brake pads have a built-in wear indicator that makes a high-pitched noise when the pads are worn. It's your warning to get your brakes checked as soon as possible.

Other signs that you may need brake service:

• Your stopping distance is increasing, causing a longer braking distance

• You have to push the brake pedal unusually far to engage the brakes

• Your vehicle has a tendency to move right or left when the brakes are applied

• The steering wheel shakes in your hands as you come to a stop. (This could mean your rotors are damaged, or "warped," and need attention.)

When your brakes or rotors need replacing, use quality, tested products designed for your vehicle. Premium ACDelco Professional DuraStop brake pads, for example, are covered by a limited lifetime warranty and made for most vehicles on the road today and a variety of needs and budgets.

Extend brake life by:

• Getting regular brake maintenance

• Not riding your brakes

• Not slamming on your brakes

• Removing brake dust and mud from your wheels with regular car washes

• Making sure brake fluid is at the proper level.

It's a good idea to have your auto repair facility check your brakes every time you change your oil or according to the schedule in your owner's manual.

To find a nearby service center, visit www.acdelco.com and click on "Find a Service Center."

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Driving A Bargain

(NAPSI)—Some new-car buyers are getting a glimpse into the future—and not just at the high-tech capabilities of the vehicle.

In addition, they get a look at what that car will be worth when they're done with it. After all, purchasing a new vehicle can be one of life's big events. You want to know everything you can about the true value of your options, including the future trade-in value of the vehicle you're considering.

How It Works

That's where a new program that futureproofs the value of your new car comes in. The dealers provide a written guarantee that says exactly how much the car will be worth two, three or four years from date of purchase.

If you go back to the dealer at any time during months 24 through 48 of ownership, you can trade in your qualifying vehicle toward the purchase of a new one. The vehicle is assessed to determine the current market value, which is then compared to the guaranteed value. The higher of either the guaranteed value or the current market value, less any applicable mileage charges or damage costs, can be applied to the purchase of a new Hyundai. The guarantee, dealers say, is possible because Hyundai's residual values are among the highest in the industry.

What Else You Get

In addition, all the company's vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by a complimentary Assurance program, which includes a five-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new-vehicle warranty, a 10-year/ 100,000-mile power train warranty and five years of complimentary roadside assistance as well as the trade-in value guarantee.

Further Futures

Meanwhile, the company's engineers and designers have a few more ideas in mind when it comes to forward-thinking technology. These include:

• A fuel-cell electric vehicle that doesn't need heavy batteries, can go up to 400 miles between refueling and never needs to be recharged.

• Location sharing, which sends your vehicle location to your friends and followers on social networking sites so they can keep track of your urban adventures.

• A roof made of a translucent composite covered by a glass skin for a major weight savings.

• Composite body panels and an elastic front safety system that reduces the chance of pedestrian injury.

Learn More

For more information and a look at the other forward-thinking aspects of these cars, you can visit www.Hyundai.com or call (800) 633-5151.

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For Gifts That Give Back, Think Vehicle Donation

(NAPSI)—This holiday season, giving a generous gift doesn't have to mean breaking the bank. Instead, you can get on the road to giving joy by donating your old car. Vehicle donation is one gift option that's sometimes overlooked, but, to charities, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

A recent donation behavior study found that nearly three out of four Americans have made charitable contributions in the last five years. Of these, 69 percent donated cash, 67 percent donated used goods and 47 percent donated their time.

According to the report, however, only 6 percent have ever donated a used vehicle and 76 percent of the rest said they never even considered doing so.

"Donating one car can generate enough cash to supply a month's worth of food for a family of five or provide more than two years' worth of generic drugs for a senior citizen," said Pat Walsh, who oversees the national vehicle donation campaign, One Car One Difference. "That's why we launched the One Car One Difference program: to help raise the public's awareness about the ease and benefits of donating vehicles, and convert donated cars to much-needed funds for charities."

The program's partners, which include the National Kidney Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the American Heart Association, select chapters of Ronald McDonald House Charities, Boy Scouts of America and the Yellow Ribbon Registry Network, work closely with it to demonstrate the benefits of vehicle donation.

To donate your car or learn more, you can call (877) 557-1CAR or go to www.1car1difference.com.

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Easy Steps Toward Green Driving

(NAPSI)— "Green driving" may be easier—and more important—to achieve than many people think.

It's important because, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, highway vehicles account for 28 percent (1.5 billion tons) of U.S. CO2 emissions each year. Fortunately, even if getting a "green" or emissions-friendly vehicle isn't in your budget, you can still reduce your car's footprint on the planet. Here are some tips to consider:

• Stay tuned. Keep your car in shape by following the manufacturer's recommendations for maintenance. Fixing a vehicle in need of a tune-up can improve gas mileage up to 4 percent.

• Take care of your tires. Make sure your tires are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure. Keeping your tires aligned and balanced can also improve your vehicle's fuel economy up to 3 percent. Don't inflate your tires to the maximum pressure printed on the tire sidewall. Properly inflated tires are safer and will last longer.

• Replace a clogged air filter. If you have an older vehicle with a carbureted engine, replacing a clogged air filter can improve your fuel economy up to 6 percent. Air filters keep impurities from damaging the interior of the engine, so replacing the dirty filter will save gas and protect your engine.

• Upgrade your motor oil. Try high-performance synthetic oil. Premium automotive products such as Royal Purple synthetic oils are formulated with unique advanced additive technology that can improve the performance of the vehicle and allow for longer intervals between changes. With fewer oil changes, not only are you keeping the water and ground clean by reducing waste of used oil, you're saving money by spending less time in the shop. Royal Purple motor oil has been reported to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 5 percent compared to ordinary petroleum-based or synthetic lubricants. It's also been shown to produce notable horsepower and torque increases, so you can switch to an environmentally friendly product without sacrificing performance.

• Recycle. Ask your oil change installer about recycling used oil. If you do your own oil changes, find a place that will accept your used motor oil. Royal Purple has partnered with Earth911 to provide recycling centers that take items such as used motor oil bottles, motor oil and oil filters.

Learn more at www.fueleconomy.gov and www.royalpurple.com. To find a nearby recycling location, visit www.earth911.com.

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Staying Safe On The Roads

(NAPSI)—When it comes to staying safe on the roads, motorists may want to take a few cues from the experts: school bus drivers.

"Our drivers are trained to handle adverse conditions and know that preparation can make all the difference," said Gary Catapano, senior vice president of safety for First Student, Inc., a company that transports 6 million students daily.

Here are a few of their tips for winter weather driving:

It Starts Under the Hood

Starting buses on a frigid morning takes planning and preparation. Checking fuel, battery, tires, fluid levels and wipers should be part of regular safety and maintenance checks. Have your battery checked, so you don't hear silence when putting the key in the ignition. Also, make sure wiper blades and defrosters are in good working condition. Check tire tread for wear and ensure tires are properly inflated for weather conditions.

Check Fluid Levels

Keep your gas tank above half full; the extra volume can help reduce moisture problems within your fuel system and adds helpful weight to your vehicle. Check window washer fluid levels and consider keeping an extra jug as backup if the roads are sloppy.

Slow Down

"To help prevent a collision on a snow-covered road, slow down and increase your following distance. If the road you usually travel is on a grade, avoid it and use an alternative route if possible," said Catapano. A good rule of thumb is to reduce speed by 50 percent. Bridges and overpasses are more likely to ice over. Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble.

Prepare to Stop

If you have to drive in the snow, test the road first. Check your brakes in a safe area to see how far it takes to stop. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, as appropriate for road conditions, to allow for sufficient time to stop when roads are snow covered or icy. When following a school bus, keep in mind they may make several stops and starts along their route, loading and unloading students. Laws in all states require motorists to stop when the school bus stop arm is extended and red lights are flashing.

During the colder months, be sure to use extra precaution when on the roads.

For More Information

For more information, visit www.firststudentinc.com.

 

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The Dawning Of A Cool Revolution

(NAPSI)—Take a technology that's been around since the 1880s, make a few improvements, and suddenly you have the beginning of a cooling revolution that may rapidly transform motors, generators and a variety of other products.

Here are some little-known facts: Cooling increases power. Get a motor or engine to run cooler and it'll generate more power. HPEV, Inc. has successfully demonstrated a new thermal technology that quickly transfers heat away from an engine, so motors and engines generate up to 30 percent more power. Cooling reduces costs. Get a motor to generate more power and manufacturers can reduce the size while keeping the same output. Because HPEV's technology can be molded into any length or shape and incorporated into the manufacturing process, it takes up less space, uses less material and, consequently, reduces the size even more. The result: less cost to manufacture and cheaper prices to consumers.

Cooling lengthens product life. Heat is a root cause of motor, bearing and even brake failures. Cool it and products last longer, which saves consumers money. To that end, the thermal technology is also being tested in high-performance brakes, rotors and calipers by two racing teams. Cooling is green. Almost half of all electricity produced worldwide is consumed by motors and generators. Improving energy efficiency is the fastest, cheapest and most sustainable way to save energy and reduce emissions. HPEV's thermal technology improves motor and generator performance by 20-40 percent.

The potential applications are immense—from pumps and fans to compressors and uninterruptible power systems, plane and ship engines to hybrids and electric vehicles. In fact, an electric motor enhanced with thermal technology is integral to HPEV's hybrid retrofit system that converts any internal combustion vehicle into a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Converted vehicles will be able to run on fuel and electric power at the same time. The electric motor adds what HPEV calls an "electric load assist," which reduces the load on internal combustion engines by doing the equivalent work of five to 11 gallons of fuel, depending on the size of the vehicle. This results in fewer emissions as well as greater maintenance and energy savings.

The company (stock symbol BIBB) was founded last year to commercialize the Hybrid Plug-in Electric Vehicle, or HPEV, retrofit system. The target market for this technology includes fleet, commercial and consumer vehicles, ranging from SUVs to tractor-trailer trucks and buses. As the existing infrastructure at most vehicle maintenance facilities is sufficient to perform the conversions, the company plans to license the technology to automotive dealers and service centers nationwide as well as to fleet owners.

For more information, visit www.hpevinc.com.

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