Car Maintenance Tips For A Safer Road Trip

People across the country are packing up their cars and hitting the road for their summer vacations. But with gas prices on the rise and AAA predicting more than 7.5 million vehicle breakdowns over the warmer months, it’s important to make sure that your vehicle is prepared.

Begin by taking your car to a certified automotive technician for a full checkup to ensure that the engine, battery, exhaust system and cooling system are in good working order and the main fluids are filled to the recommended levels. You can find a technician in your area by visiting www.MasterCareUSA.com.

This is the perfect time of year to check your vehicle’s cooling system. The cooling system of most cars requires a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze, which should be flushed once every two years. Have a technician determine if your car is ready for a system flush; this preventive maintenance step can save you from an inconvenient roadside breakdown and a big repair bill in the future.

It also is essential to make sure that your tires are properly inflated, rotated, aligned and replaced as necessary. Under-inflated tires will actually decrease your vehicle’s gas mileage and shorten the life of your tires. A label on the driver’s inside door jamb, glove compartment door or fuel door lists recommended tire pressures for different speeds and loads. Never use the “max pressure” number found on the sidewall of your tire.

Check your tire pressure at least monthly and always when your tires are cold (driven less than 1 mile or stationary for at least three hours).

And watch your tire tread. Worn tires can be extremely dangerous on wet road surfaces. “Wear bars” – small raised points of rubber in the grooves – will show up when tires are worn. If the tread is the same height as the wear bars, it’s time for a new tire.

Car Diagnosis Made Simple

 

With a little research on your vehicle, you can avoid future repair problems. Whether you are mechanically savvy or not, you can detect many common vehicle problems simply by using your senses of smell and sight.

TAKE A GOOD LOOK!

Are there any stains or drops of fluid under your vehicle? There may be no problem whatsoever, however you do want to check for wet spots, as this could be a symptom of a serious problem.

What color is the liquid under the car? Yellowish green, blue or orange colors can show an overheated engine or an antifreeze leak. You could have a leaky radiator or a water pump in need of repair. If this is the problem, you need to get to a repair shop immediately.

A dark brown or black oily fluid can show that the engine is leaking oil. A bad seal or gasket could be the cause of the leak. The repair for this problem can be exorbitant, so you will want to seek out a reputable mechanic right away.

A red oily looking spot shows a transmission or power steering fluid leak. Another reason to see your car doctor!

Sometimes the liquid is clear, and this is usually normal condensation from your vehicle’s air conditioner. There is no need for concern.

If you see light smoke coming from a wheel – it could be a stuck brake. Call a tow truck.

Smoke coming from any part of the vehicle shows a need for repair.

TAKE A WHIFF!

Sniff around, and you may detect your vehicles problem.

The smell of burned toast can signal an electrical short and burning insulation. Have a mechanic come to look at your car. Do not risk driving it anywhere.

A rotten egg smell usually shows a problem in the catalytic converter. You will need to take the vehicle in for repair as soon as possible.

A thick sharp odor usually shows burning oil. Look under the car to see if there is a leak. There could be a bluish smoke coming from your vehicle, too. This problem needs to be addressed immediately!

The smell of gas after a failed start may mean the engine is flooded. Just wait a couple of minutes and try again. If you keep noticing the gas odor, this could be a sign of a leak in the fuel system – a potentially dangerous problem that needs immediate attention.

Do you notice a sweet odor? This may show a coolant leak. Watch your temperature gauge, warning light and drive to a repair shop. Now, if you see steam emerging from under the hood, stop and pull over. You definitely do not want to keep driving an overheated vehicle. Your engine will most likely be seriously damaged. Call a tow truck.

The basic rule of smell is that if you do notice an unusual odor – get to a mechanic or get one to come to you.

Follow these simple guidelines, keep your eyes and nose open, and you could end saving hundreds of dollars in repair!

Buying Tips for Used Cars

 

Resorting to buying used cars is not a bad idea. For some people who cannot afford to buy brand new cars, second hand cars offer valuable alternatives to saving money for other important matters.

In fact, in a 2017 survey, more than 60% of people surveyed are becoming more open to procuring used cars rather than brand new.

Attractive as it may seem, before you decide to make a purchase of and used cars models, there are some things you need to know and advice that will help you make the most of buying used cars.

Below are some recommendations that you may want to follow to secure your finances and optimize your car buying experience.

Research Police Records

Do some searching on the web or through your Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or local police. These agencies will be able to help you track the legal history related to the used car you are trying to purchase.

Stolen cars reported to police agencies are tracked for possible resale. Consulting a police agency would save you from potential headache and probable involvement in the sale of illegal or stolen item.

File a Vehicle History Report

The recent hurricanes gave us a new idea of how the business of used cars works in this diverse marketplace. Cars that are completely submerged in water and totaled are sent to motor shops for remodeling and washed to bring it anew.

An interesting example to cite is through ordering a CARFAX Vehicle History Report. This verification and research policy empowers consumers to choose the right products for them and optimize the use of used cars.

Take note of the detailed damage and its extent

The history report will provide details about the level of damage including but not limited to internal and external corrosion, broken parts such as frame damage due to accidental or intentional dilapidation, fluid leaks, corroded electronic main parts and accessories and tarnished frames and the location where the car was originally purchased and dismembered for resale.

Additionally, particulars about the source of damage like due to natural phenomenon such as hurricanes and flooding are detailed as well.

Getting Your Car Serviced Regular Can Keep You Green

Regular vehicle maintenance and sensible driving habits will help the environment and save you money in the long run, according to the pros at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

Well-maintained vehicles pollute less, last longer and command greater resale values. Follow these tips from ASE to become a more savvy and environmentally conscientious car-owner.

* Keep the engine running at peak performance. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent, for instance. Replace filters and fluids as recommended in the owner’s manual to keep your vehicle in peak condition.

* Keep tires properly inflated and aligned to reduce the effort required by the engine – and gasoline consumption.

* Find a good technician. Ask friends for recommendations or check the reputation of the repair shop you are considering by contacting your local consumer group.

Check the technicians’ credentials as well, including ASE certification. ASE-certified auto technicians have passed one or more national exams in specialties such as engine performance and air conditioning.

* Have your vehicle’s air conditioner serviced only by a technician certified to handle and recycle refrigerants. Older air conditioners contain ozone-

depleting chemicals, which could be released into the atmosphere through improper service.

* Avoid speeding and sudden accelerations; both habits guzzle gas.

* Don’t let the car sit idle with the engine running. When waiting for friends or family, shut off the engine to conserve fuel.

* Consolidate errands to eliminate unnecessary driving.

* Remove excess items from the vehicle to reduce weight and improve gas mileage. Also, be sure to remove that rooftop luggage carrier after vacations to reduce air drag.

ASE was founded in 1972 as a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive professionals. Its certified technicians wear blue-and-white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the ASE sign.

The Benefits of Leasing Your Vehicle

Despite aggressive low-interest financing, cash-back offers and other
purchasing incentives offered by leading auto-makers to buyers, leasing
numbers keep increasing steadily over the years. Leasing is not only an
attractive financial proposition to most auto-consumers, but also a
lifestyle and preference choice.

Benefit Number 1: Keeping up with the latest trends

Leasing is sometimes more of a personal and lifestyle choice than a
financial one. Many people are not comfortable with the idea of owning a
vehicle over a long period of time. Theyíd rather keep up with the latest
trends of the industry and drive the latest models every two to three
years.

Leasing a car gives you the convenience of having the latest technology
and safety innovation, such as an electronic stability system, DVD
entertainment systems and advanced stereo equipment. If you are willing to
forego ownership for the latest set of wheels, than leasing is your best
option.

Benefit Number 2: Purchasing Flexibility

Leasing also offers purchasing flexibility: it allows you to defer the
purchasing decision while using the car. You donít have to haggle with your
mechanic over repair expenses, deal with hefty maintenance bills or worry
about a depreciating asset. Provided you can keep the vehicle in good
condition and stay within the contracted mileage allowance, youíre
effectively getting a test drive for the length of your lease. At the end of your lease, you can purchase the vehicle or simply turn in the keys and walk away. No questions asked.

Benefit Number 3: Cash Flow

Leasing offers many short-term benefits. It reduces your initial cash
outlay as you do not have to pay the large down payment required for car
ownership. You only pay for the depreciation on the car – only the part you
will use during your lease, not the entire vehicle. This results in lower
monthly payments and frees even more cash. This cash can be put to use more intelligently elsewhere than the questionable investment of owning a
depreciating asset. If you are self-employed or use your car for your job,
then you can write off your leasing payment as a business expense.

Benefit Number 4: Negotiating Leverage

Although it may seem a little unorthodox in this industry, almost
everything about leasing is negotiable. If you know all the fees involved,
you can lower your monthly payments, negotiate the purchase price of the
vehicle at the end of the lease and contract additional miles on top of
your mileage limit. You can also do some shopping around and compare deals from different auto-insurers to get the cheapest GAP insurance for your lease.