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

Beware of Potholes

They’re back and they’re bad. Potholes have returned and hitting one with your car can do a number on tires, wheels, steering and suspension, and alignment. To help determine if hitting a pothole has damaged your vehicle, watch for the following warning signs provided by the Car Care Council.

  • Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming-out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads. These are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. The steering and suspension are key safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine your car’s ride and handling. Key components are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/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 symptoms mean there’s an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of tires and helps ensure safe handling.
  • Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the rim. These problems will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible as tires are the critical connection between your car and the road in all sorts of driving conditions.

“Every driver knows

Air Flow Sensor Tells No Lies

Every sensor on or in a computer-controlled car or truck talks to the “on-board PC” in a kind of language you’ve never heard or seen. All of the inputs are in a voltage-speak and are all numbers. All of these signals to and from the PC travel in and out at up to 300 times per second. That is some party line!

Your PC knows the amount of air going into or being inhaled by the engine. It knows the temperature of the air, the barometric pressure, the outside temperature, if it’s raining and if the engine is pinging. It knows if the engine has too much fuel or too little fuel being delivered to it. It knows the temperature of the coolant and the catalytic converter, and it knows how cold it is inside the car and how that compares to the temperature you are requesting.

Most of the voltages start at zero and have a high end of 5, 8 or 12 volts. For instance, 1.0v means low and 5.0v means high. Or 1.0 means cold and 5.0 means hot, hot, hot.

But most scanners convert these numbers to a range we can understand, like 20 grams or 212F or 45{13259275bfc3a9ffa409d3d46d5b0afe81a2ba9b95573d773aeed87710dd9f13} throttle.

The mass

Due to the current economic climate

Due to the current economic climate, many Americans are becoming less willing to make expensive purchases. Even the nation’s long-held love affair with the automobile hasn’t escaped the penny-pinching trend.

The latest trends demonstrate that Americans are trying to stretch the mileage of their current vehicles. In 2006, the average car owner drove their car for 68 months before trading it in for a new vehicle. By the fourth quarter of 2008, the average trade-in was 76 months old.

The following simple and inexpensive preventive checks provided by The Automotive Service Association (www.ASAshop.org), which represents thousands of repair shops nationwide, will greatly extend the life of the vehicle and ensure safer operation:

– Always consult your owner’s manual, but a good rule of thumb is to have the oil and filter changed regularly, every 3,000 to 4,000 miles.

– Have all fluids checked, including brake, power steering, transmission and transaxle, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze. These fluids play a large role in the safety and performance of the vehicle.

– Keep your engine tuned. A fouled spark plug or restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.

– Have the chassis lubricated frequently. This step extends the life of the moving

Find Mechanics Who Will Come to You

When it comes to managing vehicle repairs, the associated hassles and inconveniences that come about — whether from having no vehicle or the process of finding a reputable repair shop — can become a major annoyance.

However, according to a new start-up business from San Francisco called YourMechanic, a new system is “changing the nature of auto repair.” YourMechanic is a car repair marketplace that connects people to certified, trustworthy, local mechanics. The best part: there’s no need to spend your entire lunch break finding an opening at the repair shop, since the mechanics will come to you.

This new way of fixing your car is getting great reviews and earning awards. YourMechanic recently won TechCrunch Disrupt, the annual start-up competition pitting the best new ideas in Silicon Valley.

TechCrunch, a leader in reviewing the latest tech developments and profiling worthy start-ups, compared YourMechanic to Uber — the company that effectively helped turn every cab driver into a potential entrepreneur. Using Uber, commuters can call a taxi with a smartphone app instead of waiting to hail the next one. As TechCrunch pointed out, YourMechanic has key similarities: mechanics will come to you, and the process is simple.
Anyone can go online to

Helps Decide Fathers Day Gift

There are two types of fathers, those who work on their cars and those who don’t. Whether your dad is a do-it-yourselfer (DIY) or a Do-It-For-Me type (DIFM), consider an automotive gift for dad this Father’s Day.

69% of male drivers work on their car, truck, mini van or SUV, according to the Car Care Council. Whether it’s light maintenance, like changing the oil and replacing the wiper blades, or heavier projects, such as replacing brakes, most dads enjoy taking care of their vehicles. Automotive accessories, tools, parts and products make ideal Father’s Day gifts.

If Dad’s a do-it-yourselfer, a gift certificate from the local auto parts store would be appropriate.

If he’s a do-it-for me, think about a gift certificate for an oil change or other service at his favorite repair shop.

Everyone loves a clean car, so offer to clean and polish Dad’s vehicle yourself. Remember to use automotive washes and waxes, not dishwashing detergent from under the kitchen sink. This can harm the vehicle’s finish.

  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

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

Tax Refund on One of Your Biggest Investments

Maintaining Present Vehicle May Be Key to Long-Term Financial Happiness. How will you spend your tax refund? Big-Screen TV? Cell Phone? Clothes? The Car Care Council has a better idea for your money: spend it on your second biggest investment, your car.

“Whether it’s an oil change, replacing brakes or new belts and hoses, that periodic repair bill is a drop in the bucket compared to monthly payments on a new car,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “The bottom line is that a properly maintained vehicle is safer, more dependable, more fuel efficient, less polluting and more valuable. The smartest way to get a solid return on investment is to keep your car through what we call the ‘Cinderella Era’. It’s that period of time after the payoff when your car is still in great shape and needs only modest repairs.”

The Car Care Council estimates that more than $68 billion in vehicle maintenance and repair is not performed every year, evidence that there is considerably more that consumers should be doing to protect their automotive investment.

“We advise our clients that if they want a 10-percent increase on their investments every year they need to cut down

Driving on Halloween

Driving on Halloween can be frightening for motorists, especially when little “ghouls” and “goblins” – out after dark and full of excitement – forget road safety rules or wear costumes or masks that limit their vision. To help ensure safety on a night reserved for fun, the Car Care Council reminds motorists to drive slowly, be extra careful when entering or exiting driveways or alleyways, and make sure the vehicle’s brake system works properly.

The vehicle’s brake system is its most critical safety item but brakes wear out and eventually need replacement. The factors that affect wear are driving habits, operating conditions, vehicle type and the quality of the brake lining material. Symptoms of brake problems include the following:

  • The car pulls to one side during braking;
  • The brake pedal pulsates when the brakes are applied;
  • The brake pedal feels “mushy;”
  • There is a noise when stepping on the brake pedal; and
  • There is a repeated need to add brake fluid to the master cylinder.

Drivers should also check the windshield wipers and windshield fluid, as well as the vehicle’s lights for maximum performance and visibility on Halloween.

Parents and adults should remind their trick-or-treaters to get out of cars on the curb side and not the traffic