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Updated: 42 min 58 sec ago

Auto insight: What makes synthetic oil different from conventional oil?

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - There was a time when you were considered a “responsible” vehicle owner if you changed the oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles and had your tires rotated every other oil change. It turns out that while it is good practice to maintain your vehicle on a schedule, breaking out of that traditional oil change mind set and utilizing premium synthetic oil can ultimately save you time and money.

What makes synthetic oil different from conventional oil? There are two components that determine how well motor oil will perform in your car. One factor is the base oil and the second is the combination of chemicals (additives) that are added to the base oil.

Mineral or conventional oils are by-products of refined crude oil. Refining helps reduce the impurities in the oil, but its end product has molecules that vary in size. This inconsistency in size can result in restricted flow when working its way through the engine. Synthetic oil molecules are manufactured and are all the same size and shape. This creates less friction in the engine and allows the oil to move throughout the engine smoothly resulting in better performance.

Additives added to the base oil are what give the oil the characteristics needed to do its job. Although additives are typically only 15 to 25 percent of the make-up of motor oil, they can impact a lubricant's performance much more than the base oil. For example, mineral-based motor oil with a very good additive package can easily outperform synthetic motor oil with a mediocre additive package. There is no easy way for a consumer to determine the quality of motor oil's additive package. Price is often an indicator of quality since the more advanced additive technologies cost more to produce. Performance is the ultimate measure of additive package quality.

There have also been advancements in additive technologies that allow synthetic oil manufacturers to offer consumers a product that will allow them to go more miles between oil changes. By going 10,000-12,000 miles instead of three, depending on your driving habits, you could be changing your oil once a year instead of four times! This benefit of using synthetic saves the owner time and money, and reduces the impact on the environment with less oil waste that has to be disposed of.

So you decide to switch to synthetic oil, but even then not all synthetics are alike. For example premium synthetic lubricant manufacturer Royal Purple offers three different types of synthetic oils to meet a variety of consumer needs.

* Warranty compliance – This API licensed motor oil is for consumers who have newer vehicles and are concerned about warranty compliance in both gasoline and diesel engines.

* High performance - High Performance Street (HPS) motor oil is ideal for vehicle owners who are no longer worried about warranty compliance and are seeking a higher level of performance and protection.

* High mileage - HMX is high mileage motor oil especially formulated with zinc and phosphorus and Royal Purple’s proprietary additive technology Synerlec in vehicles with 75,000 miles or more.

There are several benefits can you gain from using premium synthetic oil. This includes: increased fuel efficiency; better wear; and corrosion protection that will extend the life of your vehicle. Taking care of your investment by using synthetic motor oil is a money saving step that savvy owners choose.

Categories: Lifestyle

Teenagers not driving safe cars, study shows

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Taking the driving test and earning a license is a cherished rite of passage for teenagers across the country. With their license in hand, they view the road as their gateway to independence and they eagerly look forward to what’s around the next curve. In order to do this, however, a teen must have access to a car.

Many families with teens look for a used car for the family’s newest driver. Used cars can help a family stay on budget with a new driver in the family, but new research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that many teenagers are not driving vehicles that have good crash-protection features. The research found that teenagers tend to drive older vehicles, which are less likely to have safety features such as electronic stability control and side airbags. Teenagers who drove a vehicle that the family already owned were even more likely to drive an older model. In a survey, two thirds of parents with teens driving a car that was already in the family said the vehicle was a 2006 or older model. Another study found that among 15 to 17-year-old drivers in fatal crashes between 2008 and 2012, 29 percent were in mini cars or small cars, and 82 percent were in vehicles at least 6 years old.

In light of these reports, here are some guidelines for providing teenage drivers with the safest vehicles:

* Avoid high horsepower – Teens may want speed and power, but this temptation can overwhelm immature and inexperienced drivers. Vehicles with higher horsepower can tempt teens to exceed the speed limit or cause them to lose control on curvy and hilly roads.

* Weight and size – Vehicles that are larger and heavier provide better protection for drivers and passengers in a crash. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did not include any mini cars or small cars on its list of best vehicles for this reason. There are some small SUVs included because they are heavier vehicles.

* Electronic Stability Control – Computer technology is helping to make cars safer for all drivers. Be sure the car you purchase for your teen has Electronic Stability Control, which helps drivers maintain control of the vehicle on curves and slippery roads. This technology started appearing in luxury cars in the 1990s, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has implemented rules requiring this technology in all new passenger vehicles sold in the United States since 2012.

* Best crash test ratings – The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides safety ratings for the most popular cars, SUVs and minivans. Vehicles for teens should perform well in these tests and those conducted by NHTSA.

Based on these guidelines the IIHS has created a list showcasing the best choices for used vehicles in several price ranges. The list of the best vehicles for teenage drivers includes vehicles that meet these safety recommendations, including standard electronic stability control, which is especially important for teens. They are also sorted by price to help parents research the best vehicles and match their own budget. The research found parents pay on average about $9,800 for vehicles for their teens, but many spend far less.

“Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to get a safe vehicle for a teenager at the prices most people are paying,” says Anne McCartt, IIHS senior vice president for research. “Our advice for parents would be to remember the risks teens take and consider paying a little more.”

Visit the IIHS to learn more about safe cars for teens.

Categories: Lifestyle

Teenager danger: Five rules for young drivers

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - If you’re feeling nervous about handing the car keys to your teenager for the first time, you’re not alone. It’s a common sentiment given some sobering statistics. According to, 20 percent of all 16-year-old drivers will be involved in an accident during their first year behind the wheel.  And studies show more teenage motor vehicle fatalities happen during the summer than any other time of year. But there are some things you can do to help keep your teenager from becoming a statistic. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has some tips and tools to keep your teen safe.

Though auto accidents are a fact of life for most drivers, even a minor fender bender can impact insurance rates, costing parents and teens for years to come. The good news is research shows teen drivers who follow rules are half as likely to get in an accident. Before your teen hits the road, consider establishing some simple guidelines to protect his or her safety and your wallet:

1. Set a driving curfew. More than 40 percent of teen auto deaths occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Set a curfew to keep your teen off the road during these times.

2. Limit passengers. A teen’s relative risk of being involved in a fatal crash increases with each additional passenger. More passengers equal more potential distractions.

3. Make the cell phone off limits while driving. Talking and texting can double the likelihood of an accident. If your teen must use the phone, instruct him or her to pull over before doing so and be sure to set a good example when you are behind the wheel.

4. Empower your teen to exercise his or her rights as a passenger. Only 44 percent of teens say they would speak up if someone were driving in a way that scared them. Remind your teens they are just as vulnerable in an accident as the driver, so they should speak up if they feel unsafe.

5. Be Prepared. Arm your teens with the knowledge of what they should do if they do get into an accident. Mobile apps such as WreckCheck can help take the guesswork out of a tense situation, guiding users through a step-by-step process to create an accident report. WreckCheck uses your device’s location service, camera and audio recorder to document all pertinent information about the incident and provides tips on how to file and follow up on a claim.

A Teen Driver Contract is a simple way to keep your teen accountable. It establishes basic driving ground rules and clearly lays out the consequences associated with driving privileges. The NAIC has developed an online tool to guide parents through building a customized Teen Driver Contract. There’s also a downloadable sample contract to help get you started.

Educating yourself and your new driver about the risks and insurance implications of unsafe driving can save lives and money. As your teen begins his or her journey on the roadways, take time to speak openly and candidly about your expectations for behind-the-wheel behavior.

Categories: Lifestyle

Carpools and school buses: tips for arriving to school safely and on time

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Your children are getting older and with each new grade level they want more independence. You’re OK with that, but you still get a little worried when you think about them getting to school safely each day. Whether they drive themselves, ride in a carpool or they take the bus, safety is paramount.

Follow these safety precautions and you’ll make sure your independent student is there and ready to focus on schoolwork each and every morning.

Tips for traveling by car

* Take your time. Leaving plenty of time to arrive at school ensures no one will be late. It also prevents the driver from speeding, or failing to look before changing lanes or pulling into an intersection.

* Wear your seatbelt. This one’s easy if you’re driving the carpool – everyone buckles up. If your teen is driving alone however, make sure you stress the importance of seat belts. Research shows 17,000 people a year died in crashes, who could have been saved if they had worn a seat belt. No one wants to join that list.

* Make sure the car is ready. Sometimes the weather conditions are less than optimal. That’s why it’s important to have your car ready for any weather. Rain-X Latitude Wiper Blades offer virtually streak-free visibility in rain, sleet or snow, assuring no matter what Mother Nature is doing outside, you or your teen will have clear visibility. And to keep the rain from collecting on your windshield in the first place, use Rain-X 2-in-1 Glass Cleaner with Rain Repellent. It automatically repels rain, sleet and snow, improving your wet weather visibility. Better visibility means better response time. In tests conducted by a major university, response time improved up to a full second or more. At highway speeds, that is almost four car lengths of extra stopping distance.

* Don’t drive distracted. Focus on something other than the road and you or your teen risks causing an accident. When operating a motor vehicle, there’s no place for cellphones, tablets, eating or anything else that might shift focus away from the road. It all can wait until you or your teen reach the destination.

How to keep the bus ride safe and simple

* Head out early. Make sure your kids give themselves plenty of time to get to the bus stop in the morning. Rushing to the stop can lead to accidents, especially if kids must cross a street or two.

* Help the driver. Children should stay 10 giant steps away did this recommendation come from the bus as it pulls up to the stop. This will enable the driver to see them and prevent accidents.

* Dress appropriately. Wearing a hood at the bus stop makes it more difficult for children to see or hear the traffic around them. Ask your child to keep his or her hood down until they get on the bus.

* Wait their turn. Children who run toward the bus as it is pulling into the stop risk falling under or in front of the bus. Instead kids should wait for the bus to come to a complete stop and open its door before walking – slowly – to get on.

A new school year means more responsibility for your child. Whether that responsibility includes getting on the bus by themselves or driving their own car to school, following the proper safety procedures will ensure everyone arrives safely and ready to learn.

Categories: Lifestyle
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