Repair Or Replace Your Car

Is it best to repair or replace your car? That’s a good question in this economy and here are some helpful tips to make your decision a little easier for you.

(NAPSI)-A growing number of people are finding that the economy has them debating whether it’s best to buy a new car or repair the one they have. If you are trying to decide between buying and repairing, here are some tips that may help:

Comparing Costs

It is typically less expensive in the long run to repair the vehicle you already own rather than purchasing a newer one. Financing even a $2,000 repair typically means lower payments (or similar payments for a shorter time) than those incurred when purchasing a newer vehicle.

The 50-Percent Rule

After receiving the estimate of a major repair, consider the “50-percent rule.” When the cost of a needed repair approaches 50 percent of the vehicle’s value, it is time to seriously consider replacing it.

Reliability And Maintenance History

The best way to know a vehicle’s condition

Celebrate All Year with Green Auto Tips

By changing a few habits, motorists can do their part in helping the environment, say the experts at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). ASE recommends regular vehicle maintenance and better driving habits as two easy-to-implement strategies. What’s more, improved automotive habits will help your vehicle last longer and command a better resale price.

The following tips from ASE can put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care:

  • Keep the engine running at peak performance. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent. Replace filters and fluids as recommended in the owner’s manual.
  • Don’t ignore that ‘Service Engine’ light. Today’s vehicles have much cleaner tailpipe emissions that they did 30 years ago, but a poorly running engine or faulty exhaust system will cause your vehicle to pollute much more than it would otherwise.
  • Keep tires properly inflated and aligned. Not only will you reduce the engine’s effort and, thus, gasoline consumption, your tires will last longer too, saving you money and easing the burden at recycling centers.
  • Have your vehicle’s air conditioner serviced only by a technician certified to

Think About Your Coolant

It’s the beginning of fall, and time to consider your coolant.

This is a good time to think about your engine cooling system. Regular inspections and pressure tests of your cooling system are of utmost importance, as is good maintenance by following the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended coolant change intervals.

As time passes, the protective anti-corrosive additives in the antifreeze break down and lose their effectiveness. But antifreeze has two other very important jobs as well:

• It is used to decrease the temperature at which the coolant freezes.

• It is used to raise the temperature at which the coolant will begin to boil.

It is also very important that the proper ratio of water to antifreeze is always maintained. Unless specified otherwise by the vehicle manufacturer, the coolant in most vehicles should consist of a mixture of 50% water and 50% antifreeze before being added to the cooling system. This 50/50 solution not only prevents freezing, but also preserves proper cooling properties.

Also concerning the antifreeze to water mixture ratio: adding more antifreeze to

Find An Auto Body Shop

How to find an auto body shop with Body shop 101: Taking the stress out of post-accident repairs
(ARA) – No one wants an accident to happen. But chances are at some point you’ll wind up in a fender bender that requires repairs at an automotive collision center. The common misconception about post-collision auto body work is that the insurance company dictates where the claim’s repairs will occur. This isn’t the case. In fact, it’s the owner’s responsibility to choose where the repairs will be done.

“Don’t wait until you need to find a body shop,” says Craig Williams, director of OEM Global Marketing and Services for Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes. “Investigate several body shops before you find yourself in that kind of stressful situation.”

And, as with any business segment, there are some collision repair centers that are better than others. Knowing your options ahead of time is a good thing.

“There’s still no better recommendation than word of mouth, so be sure to start your search by asking friends and family for recommendations of good collision centers or ones they would not recommend,” Williams adds.

A local consumer organization, such as the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List, can provide insight into

How Many Scratches Will You Get

How many scratches will you get this summer? What hurts more? Scratches on your car or scratches on your skin…many car enthusiasts will say it’s the scratches on the body and windows of their cars that hurt more. Find out hwo to protect your car’s exterior finishes from unsightly scratches.

(NC)—For auto enthusiasts, the scratches you get from hiking through the woods or slipping on the rocks at the cottage are minor in comparison. The worst summer scratches are the ones you get on your car every time you load in (or on) the canoe, the camping gear, the bikes – or even just the suitcases.

And cars are only part of the summer scratch story. Imagine what your boat goes through every summer? The wear and tear on things like the cluster gauges, plastic handles and plastic chrome trims, takes away from the beauty and value of your boat. And those scratched windows are unsightly and can even be dangerous if they reduce your visibility.

No matter your sport, our active Canadian summers can wreak havoc on your paint and acrylic finishes. Experts don’t hesitate to tell us the truth:

1. Every car and boat will get scratched, no matter how hard

Vehicle Safety Items

It’s crunch time and if you’re still struggling with what to give a loved one, family member or friend this holiday season, the perfect gift can be an item related to vehicle safety. Tire pressure gauges, ice scrapers, emergency kits, windshield wipers or the consumer Car Care Guide, published by the Car Care Council, are suitable items for any drivers on your list.

“These small and relatively inexpensive items play a big role in vehicle safety and reliability especially during winter driving when road conditions can be hazardous and unpredictable,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “They’re a perfect stocking stuffer or holiday gift that shows the drivers on your list that you truly care about them this holiday season.”

Low tire pressure and windshield wipers were among the top six items that had the highest failure rate during National Car Care Month check-up events. Tire pressure should be checked at least once a month as properly inflated tires are critical to the vehicle’s ride, handling, traction and safety. For optimum performance, wiper blades should be replaced every six months or when cracked, cut, torn, streaking or chattering.

An emergency road kit is something that can be easily compiled or purchased. A kit

An Automotive Gift for Mothers Day

It’s time to be seriously thinking about Mother’s Day. A great place to look for useful ideas is her driver’s seat, especially if Mom spends a lot of time behind the wheel.

Her vehicle is her home away from home and gifts that enhance her enjoyment of that second home are likely to be appreciated, suggests the Car Care Council. We tend to gravitate toward gifts like jewelry, a framed photo or flowers. But why not break from the traditional and dress up her car? Maybe she’s always wanted a sunroof or a cool sound system. Her wish could come true, with the help of your local auto specialty shop or service dealer.

Beyond the obvious gifts such as seat covers or floor mats, Mom might appreciate having her damaged steering wheel replaced with one that’s stylish, possibly even leather covered. A sun-damaged and faded dash could be repaired, replaced, or recovered to upgrade the interior. How about a GPS navigation system, remote starter, or satellite radio?

Security devices such as a remote keyless entry or alarm systems are also popular add-ons, as are custom wheels or wheel covers. Most women are interested in the safety and appearance accessories as opposed to those, which are performance related. Gifts can be inexpensive. Net shopping bags, that hook on back

Staying Cool on the Road

Temperatures over 90 degrees and high humidity can challenge your vehicle’s air conditioning system. Here are some easy tips to keep you and your passengers cool on the road.

  1. If possible, leave the windows down slightly on hot days to reduce heat build-up. An A/C system works by removing heat, so the cooler the interior is to start with, the easier and faster the A/C will do its job.
  2. When you get in the car, open all the windows completely, or even open the doors, for a moment to vent the hot interior air quickly.
  3. When you first turn the A/C on, set the controls to MAX or REC and use highest blower speed. This moves the greatest volume of air and re-circulates it for even faster cool-down. As soon as you are comfortable, switch the system to NORM or OUTSIDE or FRESH, and select a lower fan speed. The lower blower speed produces colder the air from the system.
  4. Does your cool air have a bad odor, perhaps like “dirty socks” or a gym locker? Remember to set the system to the OUTSIDE air mode (not REC) frequently to help prevent or lessen this problem.
  5. Automatic Temperature Control systems operate differently than manual systems. Read your owner’s

Quality Auto Repairs

A poll of ASE-certified automotive technicians indicated that drivers over 60 are among the most conscientious when it comes to taking their vehicles in for routine maintenance and repair.

The experts at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) remind consumers that good communication between shop and customer can help make the repair process go smoothly.

“Professionally run repair establishments recognize the importance of two-way communications,” notes Martin Lawson, ASE’s editorial director. “Just as you would with your physician, be prepared to discuss your vehicle’s aches and pains once you are at the repair shop.”

The following tips from ASE should make the repair process go smoothly:

Don’t ignore what your vehicle is telling you.

Look for:

* Unusual sounds, odors, drips, leaks, smoke, warning lights, gauge readings.

* Changes in acceleration, engine performance, gas mileage, fluid levels.

* Worn tires, belts and hoses.

* Problems in handling, braking, steering, vibrations.

* Note when the problem occurs and whether it is constant or periodic.

Stay involved; communicate your findings:

* Be prepared to describe any symptoms. In larger shops, you’ll probably speak with a service consultant rather than with the technician directly.

* Carry a written list of the symptoms that you can give to the technician or service consultant.

*

Maintain vehicle in the dead of winter

It’s foolhardy to head out in a poorly maintained vehicle in the dead of winter, of course, but even vehicle owners in temperate zones need a car care check as the days grow shorter, note the pros with the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), an independent group that tests and certifies the competence of auto technicians.

Regular, routine maintenance can help improve your gasoline mileage, reduce pollution, and catch minor problems before they become big headaches.

ASE offers these car care tips to give you peace of mind during winter driving:

  • Before you do anything else, read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules.
  • Get engine performance and driveability problems — hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc. — corrected at a reputable repair shop that employs ASE-certified repair professionals. Cold weather makes existing problems worse.
  • Replace dirty filters, such as air, fuel, and PCV. A poorly running engine is less efficient and burns more gasoline.
  • As the temperature drops below freezing, add a bottle of fuel deicer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Keeping the gas tank filled also helps prevent moisture from forming.
  • Change your oil and oil filter

Focus on Your Vehicle Investment

National Car Care Month, in April, is the perfect time for motorists to learn more about the very real economic benefits of performing regular vehicle maintenance, according to the Car Care Council.

Each year, community car care events routinely identify that consumers are not taking proper care of their vehicles. Neglected vehicle care almost always means much higher costs down the line, either in the form of more extensive repairs or lost resale value.

Results of free community car care inspection events throughout the US showed that consumers are neglecting their cars. 8 out of 10 vehicles failed at least one component of the vehicle inspection process. Even with an estimated 20% more vehicles inspected last year, the overall failure rate remained unchanged.

Of the vehicles checked, 27% were found to have low, overfull, or dirty engine oil, which affects vehicle performance and damages internal parts. Low, leaky, or dirty coolant in the radiator or surge tank was identified in 26% of the inspected vehicles. Cooling system protects against damage by keeping the engine operating within the correct temperature range.

51% of all belts in the vehicles inspected were reported as unsatisfactory. 10% of the vehicles required at least one new hose. Roadside breakdowns can

Small Car Repairs Now

As drivers hold on to cars longer, small repairs now can save money, time in the future

(ARA) – Drivers are holding on to their cars longer in these tough economic times, so AutoZone, the nation’s leading auto parts retailer, is offering tips to help motorists get the most out of their investment.

“Holding off on purchasing a new vehicle can be a smart financial decision, especially if drivers properly maintain their vehicles to ensure they’re running safely and efficiently,” said Steve Stoll, Merchandising Director of AutoZone. “Maintaining and replacing key components, such as brakes and batteries, can keep vehicles on the road and help prevent costly repairs in the future.”

The average length of time consumers hold on to their vehicles is more than five years, according to a recent automotive industry study. Older cars can be safe and dependable, but need ongoing maintenance to keep them running at their best. According to the National Car Council, 80 percent of vehicles on the road are in need of service or parts.

Motorists who know the signs of impending failure and understand the impact extreme weather conditions can have on various car components, can plan ahead for repairs and replacements instead of being