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Car Safety

Windshield Wipers Agricultural Tire Performance DIY Truckers Protect Against Sun Damage Potholes Pack a Powerful Punch Car Maintenance Safe Summer Driving

Buying A Once-Wrecked Car

(NAPSI)—When it comes to used cars, safety is no accident. But an accident shouldn’t keep you from buying a used car you love. In fact, you may drive away with a bargain. The Problem There are plenty of previously damaged cars out there. In the U.S., car crashes happen about every 60 seconds—and one in six used cars being sold has been in an accident. The key is to know what you’re buying. An Answer You can start your used car search at the new Carfax.com. Every car for sale comes with a free Carfax Report that includes any reported accidents. It’ll help you tell things like how severe the accident was, what areas of the car were damaged and if the air bags deployed. Next, get a mechanic to help you determine if the car was repaired properly. Following these steps can help you find a swan where others see only an ugly duckling. Learn More You can get more information and shop for great used cars at the new www.carfax.com.

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A Car’s Wipers Need Care To Keep Things Clear

(NAPSI)—Windshield wipers may be among the most overworked and underappreciated equipment on your car. For example, while drivers depend on their wipers for visibility in rain, sleet and snow, many don’t pay attention to them until they can’t see clearly out of the windshield. As a result, say experts, they end up endangering their own safety as well as that of fellow travelers. “Windshield wipers take a beating—not just because of normal use, but also extreme temperatures, ultraviolet light, car waxes, tree sap, road tar and even pollutants,” says wiper specialist Chris Vermette. A good rule of thumb is to replace blades at least yearly, or as soon as you notice a streak, skip or smear. It’s an easy do-it-yourself project, but damaged wiper arms and motors may need professional attention. Signs Of Wear The most common signs and causes of worn wiper blades include: • Streaking: The rubber squeegee dries, hardens and cracks, or there is debris on the windshield. • Skipping: The blade develops a curvature from damage or lack of use. • Wearing: Excessive use and rounded—not squared—rubber edges. • Splitting: Rubber deteriorates and separates from the frame because of sun and solvent damage. Tips On Preserving Blades While no wiper blade lasts forever, ACDelco Professional Service Center Program technicians recommend these tips to prolong blade life and preserve your visibility: • Clean your windshield at every fill-up. • Wipe the rubber blade with a damp paper towel to remove loose dirt. • Never use windshield wipers to remove ice from your windshield. The stress can damage the blade as well as the motor. Use an ice scraper or defroster. • In the winter, pull up wipers to prevent the squeegee from icing and sticking to the glass. • Use a quality washer solvent; cheap ones are full of alcohol, which dries the rubber. To learn more or find an ACDelco Professional Service Center, visit www.acdelco.com.

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Rigorous Testing For Agricultural Tire Performance

(NAPSI)—To help feed a growing world population, farmers depend on having the right equipment. When they climb aboard their tractors or combines, they’re counting on their agricultural tires to deliver the best possible field performance and value. Rigorous testing can play a key role in ensuring that new products will stand up to the challenging conditions that farmers experience throughout the growing season. One major concern is soil compaction—caused by heavy farm equipment—that can harm healthy root development and reduce crop yields. The goal is to minimize compaction from these machines by designing tires that can support the load with the lowest possible air pressure required and provide a longer footprint. That’s why engineers at Michelin Agricultural Tires conduct market-specific tests to evaluate soil compaction. In one test, tires are rolled in a sand track to measure differences in the surface area of footprints and the depth of ruts. Another test involves digging a pit, which is filled with soil layers of alternate colors. After equipment passes over the pit, a trench is dug perpendicular to the tire tracks so the compaction of the soil layers can be measured. Traction and Durability Tire traction is another important factor tested. Poor traction results not only in wasted fuel but also excessive slippage that causes extreme wear on tires and machines. Traction force is tested by attaching a plow to a tractor that is operated on a plot with uniform soil over a predetermined distance, enabling tire spin and fuel consumption to be analyzed. When farmers invest in ag tires, they also expect excellent durability and a long service life. The tire company conducts an accelerated wear test in which machines are operated 24 hours a day at varying speeds under different simulated field conditions. The condition of the tread, and the wear at each point on the tread, can then be evaluated. This testing process ensures that each individual product is made to the highest quality and suited for the application for which it is designed. “Every new size is individually tested and validated by Michelin’s agriculture testing facility in an effort to ensure the new tire will fit its intended market,” reports James Crouch, farm segment marketing manager. Once a new tire model has passed these tests, it is further tested and monitored in actual farmer fields. Performance criteria include resistance to sidewall damage and tread damage caused by crop stubble. Learn More For further information, visit www.michelinag.com.

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Tips To Keep DIY Truckers On The Move

(NAPSI)—Increasingly, when it’s time to move out of a college dorm, into a first apartment or on to a new home, consumers are saving time, trouble and money by doing it on their own. If your next move requires renting and driving a truck, here are some smart safety hints from the experts at Penske Truck Rental: • Not everything gets to go. Take a close look at your rental agreement. Most include language from the U.S. Department of Transportation that prohibits the “carrying or hauling of explosives and other dangerous articles.” That means you can’t pack paint, chemicals and cleaning materials, flammable solvents, propane, gasoline and the like. Check with your rental agent if you need a ruling on a particular item. • Go slow so you can make time. Take the time of day you intend to travel, along with likely traffic patterns, into account when planning your trip. Allow plenty of time and be aware of possible bottlenecks along the way. • Get to know your truck. Before you pull away from the dealer, familiarize yourself with the truck’s switches and gauges. Adjust the seat and side mirrors so they match your height and comfort zone. • Take a look at the truck’s blind spots. Each truck has an oversized blind spot known as its “No-Zone,” according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Know where these areas are, especially when changing lanes or coming to a stop. For more tips on dealing with blind spots, visit www.sharetheroadsafely.org. • When driving a truck, you have to pay attention. “Trucks are taller, wider and may weigh up to 10 times more than the average car,” explained Don Mikes, senior vice president-rental, Penske. “You have to be extra vigilant.” • Be sure to insure yourself. “Most insurance and credit card companies won’t cover truck rentals under existing policies,” Mikes added. If your insurance company is among them, consider signing up for additional coverage options to protect yourself and your belongings. You may feel more confident knowing that his company offers free 24/7 emergency roadside assistance. • Learn more. You can find more moving facts and tips at www.PenskeTruckRental.com or by calling 1-800-GOPENSKE.

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Protecting Against Sun Damage While In A Car

(NAPSI)—The average American spends more than 101 minutes a day in a car. Unfortunately, what many drivers and passengers fail to realize is that when they are in a car, not all the danger they face is on the road. Both drivers and passengers are often exposed to harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, particularly from the side windows of the cars in which they ride. “Damage from certain kinds of ultraviolet rays is cumulative,” says Dr. Dee Anna Glaser, vice chair of the dermatology department at St. Louis University. “These rays penetrate deep into the skin and can silently accelerate the aging process, cause wrinkles and even skin cancer.” Fortunately, adding a UVA-blocking film or tint to car windows can be an effective way to help block damaging rays and protect yourself while you drive. For example, a range of window film options, sold under the brand name LLumar, provide UV protection. There’s even a clear film that appeals to those who do not want a darker window appearance, or where the use of dark films is prohibited by state law. When applied over ordinary automotive glass, this film’s virtually invisible protection blocks more than 99 percent of harmful UV rays.* LLumar window film acts as “sunscreen”—offering daily sun protection with a one-time application. To learn more, visit www.llumar.com. *(wavelengths to 280-380nm)

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Potholes Pack A Powerful Punch

(NAPSI)—Hitting a pothole can be more than a momentary jolt. While the tires and wheels should be visually inspected as soon as possible, you should know there could be damage to the steering, suspension and alignment systems that you can’t see. To help determine if hitting a pothole has damaged your vehicle, watch for these warning signs: • Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads. These indicate that key safety-related systems—the steering and suspension—may have been damaged. They largely determine your car’s ride and handling. Key components are shocks and struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack or box, bearings, seals and hub units, and tie rod ends. • Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear. These mean an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for safe handling and long-lasting tires. • Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the rim. These problems should be checked out as soon as possible as tires are the critical connection between your car and the road. “If you’ve hit a pothole and suspect that there may be damage to the tires, wheels, steering and suspension, or wheel alignment,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council, “it’s worth having a professional technician check out the car and make any necessary repairs.” As a general rule of thumb, he advises, steering and suspension systems should be checked at least once a year and wheels should be aligned at the same interval. Motorists who drive in areas where potholes are common should be prepared to have these systems checked more frequently. 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. Free Guide For a copy of the council’s “Car Care Guide” or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

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Maintenance Pays

(NAPSI)—Many drivers find that if they want to make their car last, it pays to put it first. Taking good care of your car means you are more likely to avoid problems, both now, while you’re driving it, and later, when you sell it. To improve the life of your vehicle and its price at resale, it’s a good idea to get it serviced regularly. The car will not only run better, it will be highlighted on a Carfax Report as a “well maintained” vehicle. Keep track of the service history so you can prove you did the right thing to prospective buyers. To help, you can get reminders about upcoming service from the free myCarfax mobile app. Subscribers also learn of any open recalls on their cars. Learn More To find local service shops and get tips on keeping your car well maintained, visit www.mycarfax.com.

 

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Tire Maintenance Is Key To Safe Summer Driving

(NAPSI)—Tires are the only thing between you and the road, so it’s imperative motorists stay on top of tire maintenance. Proper tire maintenance is important all year, but especially in the summer months as the temperature starts heating up and the frequency of tire blowouts increases. Improper tire care contributes to 195 fatalities and 6,300 injuries each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency also estimates that about 11,000 tire-related crashes occur annually. Simply checking your tire pressure can help you and your passengers stay safe during your next summer journey. To get the most from your tires this summer, here are five maintenance tips from the world’s largest independent tire and wheel retailer-Discount Tire: 1. Get Pressure Right—Low tire pressure can decrease fuel economy. Tires may lose up to one pound PSI (per square inch) of air pressure per month. The specific inflation pressure number may be found on the vehicle placard located inside the driver’s door. Don’t forget those trailer tires. Checking the tire pressure for boat, travel and utility trailers is as important as your car or truck. 2. Don’t Overload—Overloading your vehicle or trailer decreases fuel economy due to increased cargo weight. Handling, control and braking are also negatively impacted. 3. Rotate Before You Go—Regular rotation helps achieve uniform tire wear and improves road performance. Tires rotated every 5,000 miles have longer life and will help maximize your tire investment. 4. Straighten Up—Proper wheel alignment provides safe, predictable vehicle control and helps tires wear evenly and last longer. If your tires squeal when you turn or if you notice your steering wheel veers to one side while driving straight, it’s time to get your wheels re-aligned. 5. Bald Isn’t Beautiful—Lack of tread affects the tire’s ability to grip the road, especially in wet conditions. Make sure tires don’t have uneven wear, which indicates something is wrong with the tire. High or low spots or unusually smooth areas may decrease traction and increase the risk of road accidents. “Maintaining tire pressure is one of the most critical things motorists can do to improve road safety while getting the most from their tires,” said Mark Marrufo of Discount Tire. “Improperly inflated tires lead to decreased steering and braking control as well as excessive tire wear and fuel consumption. Taking five minutes each month to inspect your tires will go a long way in keeping you and your passengers safe.” A Five-Minute Fix Checking tire pressure and tread is easy and can pay dividends when it comes to fuel economy and handling. Don’t go by appearances. Use a tire gauge to check the pressure since a tire can be 50 percent underinflated but still not appear flat. Make it a habit to check tire pressure every month and always before a long journey. Use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure and don’t forget to check the spare and trailer tires. “Most people forget to check the pressure in the spare tire and come to find that when they need it, the spare is flat,” said Marrufo. “This simple check could keep you from a costly tow if you get stuck with a flat.” Road trippers should also check tire tread depth by using the “penny test.” Insert a penny upside down into the tread. If you see Abe Lincoln’s entire head, it’s time to replace the tire. To learn more about tire safety, visit www.discounttire.com.

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