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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

Basic Auto Car Many Driver's Miss

Fluids and lubricants rank among the most neglected items when it comes to basic auto care. Community car care events held throughout the country found that the top three fluids most likely to be low or contaminated are windshield washer fluid in 26% of inspected vehicles, followed by engine oil at 23% and coolant at 19%.  Windshield washer fluid keeps dirt and debris from collecting on a vehicle's windshield, allowing the driver full visibility and making it an essential safety item. Washer fluid should be checked monthly and drivers should use a fluid that is specifically formulated for their climate.  Engine oil lubricates the moving parts of a vehicle's engine, helping keep the engine clean and preventing wear and overheating. Neglecting to change a vehicle's oil can lead to costly repairs, including replacement. Engine oil levels should be checked frequently and changed per the owner's manual.  Coolant absorbs heat from the engine and di ... read more

Keep Your Car Breathing Well: Change Out The Air Filters

You need a clean air to breath and so does your car, and a vehicle's air filters make that possible. Always be sure to have your engine and cabin air filters inspected and changed regularly to ensure vehicle longevity and interior comfort. The vehicle's engine air filter traps dirt particles that can cause damage to engine cylinders, cylinder walls, pistons, piston rings and bearings, leading to the engine losing power. The air filter also plays a critical role in keeping pollutants from contaminating the airflow sensor on fuel-injected cars. A normal wear item that requires regular checks and replacements, air filters should be inspected at each oil change and replaced annually or when showing other signs of contamination. The cabin air filter is responsible for cleaning the air entering the passenger compartment. Under normal circumstances, it helps trap pollen, bacteria, dust and exhaust gases that may find their way into a vehicle's heating, ventilation and air conditi ... read more

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