Car Care Council
7101 Wisconsin Ave, Suite 1300
Care Care Council Website
The stalled car syndrome, more noticeable on our roadways than in our driveways, has been with us for generations. But it becomes more critical with increased population. Beyond missed appointments or being late for work it also results in the condition known as road rage. Not only can a disabled vehicle have an annoying "ripple effect" that goes beyond the immediate scene; it can be disastrous for the driver who is left vulnerable to roadside crime or to the elements.
It was among travelers’ worst nightmares and a very expensive trip for this motorist. His beloved pickup blew the engine and had to be towed 250 miles home. The temperature gauge didn’t work, nor did the check engine light. By the time he realized the engine was overheated the damage was done.
As they make the rounds to select their new vehicle, many shoppers recoil at sticker prices. With cars now averaging well above $20,000, some buyers reevaluate their needs and desires, reluctantly settling for the no-frills, "plain vanilla" model. With time, however, these same motorists may find themselves with a few extra dollars they can invest in their vehicle. Is it time to buy another car, even though there still are payments to make? The Car Care Council says instead of replacing your vehicle, consider repairing and upgrading what you already have.
America’s growing obsession with younger looking faces evidenced by the Botox craze, is inspiring car owners to prolong the appearance of their automobiles as well. Four billion dollars were spent last year in the United States on enhancements to keep the interior and exterior of vehicles looking like new, according to the Car Care Council.
“As consumers spend more time in their vehicles and drive more miles each year, they are placing more importance on comfort, luxury and appearance,” said Rich White, spokesperson for the council.
Six fluids that require periodic replenishment or replacement in most vehicles are the engine oil, transmission fluid, anti-freeze/coolant, windshield washer solvent and fuel. Number six, the one most often neglected, is brake fluid. You've known about topping off brake fluid, you may say, but changing it?
The car in front of you has no brake light and an approaching vehicle has only one headlight. Have you ever considered how many vehicles surrounding you are in less than in tip-top condition? The number is astounding, according to results of National Car Care Month vehicle check lanes. In fact, less than one out of four get a clean bill of health.
A fairly common household disaster is flooding of the laundry area due to a split hose on a washing machine. Also vulnerable to a similar disaster is your car. A bulging radiator hose, carrying hot water (coolant) under pressure, can rupture.
Thanks in part to advancements in health care, our 65 and over population, presently at 13% of the total, will be 20% by 2030 (source Washington Post). Technology has worked wonders in extending the life of our vehicles, too. Median car life has nearly doubled to more than 9 years. “As a result of technology the quarter million mile vehicle no long is a miracle,” says Rich White of the Car Care Council. Engines and drive trains are superbly refined, as are fuels and lubricants.
How did we ever get along without air conditioning in our cars? It's a feature we take for granted until, suddenly, it's blowing hot air.
In the past few years, many owners have discovered that fixing an inoperative air conditioner can cost a few hundred dollars or more, depending upon the make and model of vehicle. The reason is that the old standby R-12 refrigerant, trade named DuPont Freon, has been replaced by R-134a. Touted as being environmentally safer than its predecessor, R-134a has been standard since 1994.
Tow truck operators in resort areas or along Interstate highways see all too many travelers forced to return home ahead of schedule. Car trouble, usually due to neglected preventive maintenance, brings an abrupt end to vacation plans.
The situation usually means more than just a repair bill. It can involve towing charges, lodging and possibly a rental car. Add to that the cost of extra phone calls, meals and general inconvenience, and the ordeal becomes expensive.
In the world of automotive emergencies, motorists need to learn certain procedures for "safety's sake." Two of the most valuable lessons, changing a tire and hooking up jumper cables are best learned before an emergency arises, according to the Car Care Council.
When it comes to your car's safety, brakes top the list of systems that need monitoring. However, many people are unaware of the signs that indicate a car's brakes may need maintenance or repair.
For routine maintenance, it's important to check the vehicle's braking system at least once a year. A thorough inspection should include brake lining wear, brake fluid level, rotor thickness, condition of hoses and brake lines, brake and dash warning lights, as well as taking the car for a test drive to detect other potential brake system problems.
These days you see more cell phones than ever, and many of them will be on the ears of people behind the wheel of an automobile. Some of these phones and their owners will wind up in car crashes, but don't be too quick to blame the cell phone. Blame the drivers who use them in the wrong place at the wrong time, allowing conversations to divert their attention from the road.
Your car's drivetrain is a vital power-transmitting component, and key to dependability. It's responsible for transmitting the flow of power from the engine to the wheels. The components include the clutch, torque converter, transmission, driveshafts (or axle shafts in front wheel drive), U-joints, CV joints, differential and axles.
Gas pump prices remain on their roller-coaster ride, with more ups than downs. They’re hard on the budget and beyond consumers’ control. With some changes in our daily habits, however, we can compensate, at least partially, for rising fuel costs. Adhering to your errand list, thereby eliminating an extra trip to the store for a forgotten item, saves miles and dollars. (U.S. Department of Transportation reports 63% of all trips are 5 miles or less)
“I feel like such a fool,” Sandra complained. “All I did was take my car in for an oil change and wound up paying for oil, an oil filter and an air filter. Plus, because he called to tell me my fan belt was shot, I had to get one of those installed.
“How am I supposed to know if the old one really was in bad shape? How am I supposed to know if they took advantage of me?”
When it comes to smart shopping, women generally have the upper hand and, because they buy their share of batteries, this information will help the ladies stay up to date in the automotive department.
Gender-wise or otherwise, if your car battery is dead or even weak, you’re not going anywhere. It is the leading cause of starting trouble, whether because of lights left on, a charging system problem or other cause. Sometimes it is just that the battery has outlived its usefulness.
Moms are the ones who usually cart kids around from school to scouts to baseball. More often than not, these women take responsibility for the repair and maintenance of their vehicles. But what happens when the kids grow out of the backseat and into the driver's seat? Who's looking after their vehicles?
With gas prices exceeding four dollars a gallon in many parts of the country, the Car Care Council is offering gas-saving maintenance and driving tips that really work.
"Millions of dollars worth of gasoline is wasted every day by motorists, because simple and inexpensive vehicle maintenance is neglected," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "Loose or missing gas caps, under-inflated tires, worn spark plugs and dirty air filters all contribute to poor fuel economy."
It doesn’t take an accountant to recognize that it costs more money to operate a vehicle than it did a few years ago. This may cause some motorists to try saving a few dollars by using cheap gas delaying needed maintenance. “That’s a classic case of false economy,” says Rich White, of the Car Care Council, “and it’s no surprise that these ‘money-saving’ measures can cost big money in the long run.”