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5 winter car care tips that save you money

Tue, 01/20/2015 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Winter is when car trouble can cause big financial problems. So how do you keep your car winter-ready for severe weather and protect your budget? The right preventive care is essential, and the good news is that there are many simple things you can do to get your car ready for extreme weather without blowing your budget.

Before severe weather strikes, make sure to check these items off your car-care list:

* Avoid the “E.” A full tank of gas provides a comforting feeling. It’s also an effective way to protect your car in severe weather. An empty tank leaves room for the moisture inside to turn to ice. Keep your tank at least half full at all times to help prevent starting issues caused by a frozen fuel line.

* Check vital fluids. As simple as filling up, make sure to check and top off your vehicle’s antifreeze and examine your brake system, which includes your brake fluid. Ready-to-use Prestone 50/50 Prediluted antifreeze features Cor-Guard inhibitors that prevent corrosion and help keep your engine running longer while premium Prestone brake fluid helps ensure your vehicle’s brakes will be ready when you need them most.

* Double-check the tires. Driving on underinflated or worn tires makes it even more difficult to drive in ice or snow. Use a tire gauge to test the tire’s actual pressure and apply air as needed. Your tires should have the appropriate amount of pressure printed on its side. To check the wear of your tires, insert a penny into the tread. If you can see any part of Abraham Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the tires.

* Be ready to battle ice. Ice on the roads is one problem, but ice on your windshield is another problem entirely. Prestone’s De-Icer Windshield Washer Fluid is designed to help melt ice and frost fast for streak-free and clear visibility down to -27 degrees.

* Prep for emergencies. Sometimes even the best planning can’t prevent a severe-weather accident. That’s why it’s good to pack a winter survival kit with an ice scraper, shovel, blankets, extra clothing, bottled water, jumper cables and a first aid kit for the backseat or trunk of your car. And don’t forget the cat litter – in case your tires need a little extra traction.

Not all winter car care maintenance needs to be handled in a mechanic’s garage. Easy DIY projects can help ensure your vehicle’s performance this winter and save you time and money in the long run. Get started on your preventive list today and you’ll be ready for whatever the season brings.

Categories: Lifestyle

Tips for maintaining your diesel vehicle during the winter months

Fri, 01/09/2015 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Gone are the days when the only diesel vehicles on the road were commercial and heavy duty trucks. According to, 44 new clean diesel car, truck and SUV models were available in the 2014 model year. Experts are predicting consumers will have more than 58 diesel vehicle models to choose from in North America by 2017.

Consumers are choosing diesel over traditional gasoline vehicles for various reasons including better gas mileage, towing capacity and better resale value. If you are considering purchasing a diesel vehicle or you already own one, here are some tips to maintaining it during the winter months.

Replace your engine air filter - Diesels use a lot of air, so it’s important that your air filter is clean and able to work as efficiently as possible. While air filters can last between 10,000 and 30,000 miles, it is a good idea to have the air filter evaluated every 3,000 to 6,000 miles for wear. A clean air filter can improve the vehicle’s gas mileage.

Use a premium oil filter - Sulfur residue and carbon deposits are created when fuel does not burn completely. A premium oil filter made with high quality media will remove corrosive particles from the oil. Essentially, you get what you pay for when it comes to oil filters. Oil filters that cost less are often made with lesser-quality materials, resulting in quicker break down and little or no filtration.

Cooling systems are critical on diesel engines - Flush your cooling system and replace your antifreeze with the manufacturer’s recommended mix ratio. Also check that the engine light is working properly on the dashboard. An overheating engine that’s not caught in time can result in expensive engine damage.

One way to prevent condensation from building up in your fuel tank is to keep a full tank of gas, but an easy and convenient alternative is using a diesel performance product like Royal Purple’s Max-Tane. Formulated for year-round use, it is compatible with any type or grade of diesel fuel. Some of the benefits of using Max-Tane include improved engine start up in cold temperatures, improved cold flow by preventing gelling and cleans deposits from fuel injectors.

Taking care of your diesel during the winter months will ensure you can rely on your vehicle for years to come.

Categories: Lifestyle

The perfect car tips for any trip

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Across the country people are planning to take longer road trips this year. If you plan to be one of them, here are five maintenance tips to consider for today’s cars.

* New tires? “For four-wheel drive cars and trucks, buy new tires as a complete set,” says Engineer and Vice President Tom Taylor. “Mixing old and new tires or just mixing tire brands can create small differences in tire diameter that may be enough to overheat and damage four-wheel drive parts.”

* What spare tire? Adding air to the spare used to be all that was needed, but many newer cars do not have a spare tire. They may have “run-flat” tires or come equipped with an air compressor and sealant. Become familiar with your vehicle’s spare tire system before you leave town and decide if it is adequate. Maybe you will want to upgrade to a full size spare.

* Why new struts? Pushing down on a fender and counting the bounces is not a good test for the shocks and struts on modern cars. “Some people are happy that their struts seem to be lasting forever but they don’t realize that the struts actually wore out thousands of miles ago,” says Taylor. “Bad struts lead to unnecessary wear on a whole slew of additional parts including the brakes, rubber boots, suspension bushings and engine mounts.” For the safest handling and braking, replace your struts and shocks at 50,000 miles or at the mileage recommended by the manufacturer.

* Just the belt? Modern engine belts last a long time. Most car owners do not resist when their mechanic tells them it is time to replace the belts after many miles or years. “Owners should listen to their mechanics when they are told the belt tensioners need to be replaced along with the belt,” says Taylor. “Those are the spring-loaded pulleys that keep the belt at the correct tension. Putting a new belt on old tensioners can mean premature wear on the new belt or damage to the alternator or other components spun by the belt.”

* Hose looks new? New engine hoses also now last much longer than they used to. Hoses do eventually fail and the damage often starts in the hose’s inner layers where it is out of sight. A burst radiator hose still means a disrupted trip and today’s aluminum alloy engines are often even more susceptible to heat damage. Follow the guidance of your repair manual or mechanic on when to replace hoses.

Some owners may get away with leaving a radiator hose untouched for decades, but for the rest, common sense assessment of risks and rewards shows why these tips are worth following.

Categories: Lifestyle

Winter driving habits improving in some areas

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Whether it’s figuring out how to balance your checkbook, determining the healthiest snack, or attempting to pick up a new hobby, many people are looking for positive lifestyle changes and to be educated about how to be a better person. How you behave while behind the wheel is no different, and Hankook Tire’s latest Quarterly Gauge Index reveals that drivers can improve with a little simple education.

Jumper cables are a common staple for those frigid mornings when you need to jumpstart a dead battery. The latest Gauge showed that 66 percent of Americans have found themselves stranded at some point in their lives. Although this is a common occurrence, 54 percent of drivers do not know how to properly jumpstart a car, and 42 percent are under the incorrect impression that they should connect the cables to the dead battery first when beginning the procedure.

While many drivers can educate themselves on how to properly bring a dead battery back to life, others have to learn how to maneuver the wounds of a road – particularly potholes, which are every driver’s worst enemy. The Gauge showed that when a driver comes to a pothole, 54 percent swerve around it, which is considered the incorrect approach, as swerving can cause your front wheel and tire to hit the edge of the pothole, causing significant damage to the car. When up against the pothole, don’t swerve or stop. Decrease your speed, take it head-on and slowly roll over it for the least amount of damage.

Some good improvements have been reported, especially when it comes to texting while driving. Drivers have become more educated with this dilemma and are looking to improve. According to the Gauge, 52 percent of Americans say that they have in fact changed the way they thought about texting and driving after having seen an advertisement related to the issue.

The new year is always an ideal time to turn things around, and here are some road resolutions to consider for these winter months:

Pothole improvement – Tis the season for those inevitable, dreaded potholes, and 39 percent of drivers said they received damage from driving over one. If you can’t avoid a pothole, slow down before you hit it. But don’t brake directly over a pothole, which can actually cause more damage.

Properly inflate your tires – As the temperature outside drops, the air inside a tire contracts and the pressure drops – one or two pounds for every 10-degree drop. Underinflation does not give tires better traction in the snow. Check your tires this winter season, and bring them up to correct pressure.

Choose the right tire – Make sure your tires are season-appropriate. Twenty-seven percent of drivers say their tires are what receive the most damange out of any other car part due to winter weather. The Hankook Winter i-cept evo is a durable, high-performance winter tire that is perfect through these tough winter weather conditions.

Categories: Lifestyle
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