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As New Car Prices Rise, Maintaining Current Vehicle Makes Financial Sense

With the cost of a new vehicle on the rise, maintaining your current vehicle makes more economic sense than purchasing a new one. The average price of a new passenger vehicle is nearly $34,000, according to Kelley Blue Book, while IHS Markit reports that average vehicle age has risen to 11.5 years. “In the early 1970s, the average new vehicle cost only about $3,900,” said Rich White, executive director,  of Car Care Council. “While the price of a new vehicle has skyrocketed over the years, the good news is that today’s cars are lasting longer than ever before. Keeping your current vehicle, and maintaining it at recommended intervals, protects its trade-in value and postpones the sting of new-car prices.” Regular Maintenance is Key. The best way to ensure a vehicle’s longevity is to observe a regular service schedule. Keep up with fluid and filter changes, tire checks and other routine maintenance. Over time, so ... read more

A Little Auto Care Goes a Long Way

Performing simple preventative maintenance on your vehicle will go a long way toward protecting your vehicle investment. National car care month in April is the perfect time of year to give your car some extra attention. Follow a vehicle service schedule and perform the most common routine maintenance procedures to keep your car performing at it's best.  - Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and anitfreeze/coolant.  - Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change. - Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots. - Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear. - Check the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heatin ... read more

Top 10 Most Common Vehicle Repairs

While countless problems can arise with your car, some issues are more likely to occur than others. Understanding these problems can help you more quickly diagnose an issue when it happens and take measures to prevent a disaster in the first place. Changing the oil and oil filter, replacing wiper blades and air filters, and scheduled maintenance top the list of the 10 most common vehicle repairs. According to research conducted by IMR Inc., an industry leader in automotive research, the top 10 most common vehicle repairs performed by vehicle owners and their trusted repair shops are: Oil/oil filter changed- change the vehicle's engine oil every 3,000-5,000 miles depending on th year make and model of the vehicle, how the vehicle owner drives and the condition in which they drive. Filters are normal wear items that require checks and replacement.  Wiper blades replacement- replace every ... read more

A Clean Car is Money in the Bank

Purchasing a new car is a major financial investment. Keeping it clean is an easy and inexpensive way to protect its resale and trade-in value, says the non-profit Car Care Council. “Many motorists procrastinate when it comes to cleaning their vehicles,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Whether you do it yourself or have it cleaned professionally, proactively keeping your car clean on the outside, and tidy on the inside, will pay big dividends when it comes to maintaining your vehicle’s value over time.” Here are five simple steps to keep a vehicle clean, helping protect it from the elements and preserve its value. Declutter – Start the cleaning process by removing excess clutter from inside the car as it can be distracting and hazardous, especially when debris finds its way near the gas and brake pedals. Don’t forget to clear out items that have accumulated in the trunk as they can add extra weig ... read more

Ignoring These Vehicle Repairs May Cause You To Get Pulled Over

Many drivers may feel that they don’t have the time or money to address vehicle repairs immediately, but beware that ignoring some repairs can get you pulled over and even ticketed. “Ignoring certain vehicle repairs may seem to save money in the short term but can lead to extra costs, such as fines or ‘fix-it’ tickets, if these problems are not taken care of when they arise,” said Rich White, executive director, of the Car Care Council. “In some jurisdictions, car owners may even lose their license for certain violations. A few dollars spent on simple vehicle repairs can help avoid trouble with the law.” While a vehicle is in operation, traffic laws require that certain equipment is properly installed and functioning correctly, including brakes, headlights, turn signals, mirrors, windshields and safety belts, to name a few. The Car Care Council recommends that drivers address these repairs right away as they present public safety concerns th ... read more

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Check Vehicle A/C and Stay Cool on the Road

With the summer temperatures rising, it is important for vehicle owners to be car care aware and have their a/c system checked to make sure it is working properly.  A vehicle's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) keeps the car's interior cabin comfortable in any season by providing the right temperature and humidity level. Typical A/C service by a professional service technician consists of the following steps: - Service technician visually inspects hoses, lines, seals and other components for leaks as well as inspects the drive belt for damage or cracks. - The technician checks pressure to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures  - If the system is found to be low on refrigerant, a leak test is performed to find the source of the leak. Leaking refrigerant heats up a vehicle and damages the ozone layer.  - Refrigerant may be added if necessary, to "top off" the system, although some states do not allow "topping ... read more

4 Symptoms of a Sick Cooling System

With the hot summer temperatures on the rise, knowing the symptoms of a sick cooling system are critical to your summer driving plans, since cooling system failure is a leading cause of vehicle breakdowns. The most noticeable symptoms are overheating, leaks, a sweet smell of antifreeze and repeatedly needing to add coolant.  Neglecting your cooling system can result in serious damage and even complete engine failure. If the cooling system doesn't receive regular maintenance, it's not a question of whether it will fail, but rather when will it fail. Performing regular checkups of belts, hoses, the water pump and fluids will ensure your car remains properly cooled and healthy for many miles down the road.  The primary job of the engine's cooling system is to remove the heat that is generated during the combustion process. The coolant temperature can be well over 200 degrees and that heat has to go somewhere, otherwise engine components are going to start fail ... read more

Don't Fear The Check Engine Light

Although the check engine light may look scary lit up on the dashboard, there is nothing to fear. A glowing check engine light doesn't mean you have to immediately pull over to the side of the road, but it does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible. Do not fear when the check engine light is illuminated, it usually means that the vehicle system, such as the ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating properly.  Some common malfunctions that can cause the check engine light to illuminate include a faulty oxygen sensor, mass air flow sensor, or spark plugs and wires. If the light flashes, the condition is more critical and must be checked immediately to prevent severe damage, which may include catalytic converter damage. Even if the vehicle appears to be running normally, ignoring the warning light could result in more costly repairs. The light could be alerting you to engine problem that is negatively impacting fuel economy and co ... read more

Avoid a Breakdown with a Belt Check

You may not see them or know much about them, but engine belts are always working to keep your vehicle moving. Losing a belt can mean immediate trouble for the engine and a breakdown for you. Review your owner's manual to ensure that belts are inspected and replaced at the proper intervals.  A vehicle's belts are essential to the cooling, air conditioning and charging systems of the engine. Serpentine belts are used to turn the water pump, alternator, power steering, and air conditioning compressor. Older cars use V-belts for various accessories and failure of this belt could strand a driver.  Always check serpentine and V-belts for looseness and their overall condition. Replace V-belts when cracked, frayed, glazed or showing signs of excessive water. Noise in the belt system is a sign of wear and the smell of burnt rubber can indicate a slipping belt. When changing a serpentine belt, it is important to check all the components in the serpentine system as tensi ... read more

Five Steps Towards Better Battery Behavior

Here's some surprising news that may come as a shock: it's not so much the cold that gets it down as it is high heat. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, thus damaging the internal structure of the battery. That is why it's important to check your battery as the season changes from hotter to cooler.  Battery Batterers Another reason for shortened battery life is overcharging. That is, a malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, can allow too high a charging rate, leading to a slow death of a battery. Colder temperatures can increase the thickness of the engine oil, making the engine harder to turn over, causing the battery to have to work more. These factors lead to harder starting.  What You Can Do: To get the most out of your battery life follow these simple steps: - Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate, overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as underc ... read more

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