Identifying these suspect smells on your car

Most vehicles start out with a “new car smell,” but there are other specific odors that motorists should never ignore. Identifying these suspect smells early on can help car owners be car care aware and avoid the hassle and expense of an unexpected breakdown, says the Car Care Council.

“Unusual smells can be the sign of serious, and potentially costly, trouble for your vehicle. By acting quickly and making necessary repairs, you’ll be able to breathe easy knowing there is no harmful damage to your car,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

The Car Care Council recommends a sniff test of your vehicle to identify any unusual smells, including the following six warning signs:

1.  The smell of burnt rubber could be slipping drive belts or misplaced loose hoses that might be rubbing against rotating accessory drive pulleys. Do not reach in if the engine compartment is hot.

2.  The smell of hot oil could mean that oil is leaking onto the exhaust system. To verify the leak, look for oil on the pavement or smoke coming from the engine area.

3.  The smell of

Getting an oil change on your car

However, all oil changes are not alike. And whether you do it yourself or have it done for you by a professional, the same rules will apply.

So how can you make sure that your vehicle gets the best possible oil change? Simply follow the tips outlined below.

1. Allow your vehicle’s engine to warm up fully. Once an engine is warmed up completely, all the dirt particles and contaminants that settled at the bottom of the oil pan when the engine was off get churned up and suspended in the oil. This will ensure that most of the contaminants get removed when the oil is drained. In other words, they will be drained out with the old oil.

2. Make sure the vehicle is level when the oil is being drained. This enables the old, dirty oil to drain out as completely as possible.

3. Examine the waste oil as it is draining into the pan – look and feel. Look for signs of contamination such as water because with every drain, water will settle at the bottom of the pan. Also, feel for bits of

Simple Car Care Tips

It’s foolhardy to head out in a poorly maintained vehicle in the dead of winter, of course, but even vehicle owners in temperate zones need a car care check as the days grow shorter, note the pros with the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), an independent group that tests and certifies the competence of auto technicians.

Regular, routine maintenance can help improve your gasoline mileage, reduce pollution, and catch minor problems before they become big headaches.

ASE offers these car care tips to give you peace of mind during winter driving:

  • Before you do anything else, read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules.
  • Get engine performance and driveability problems — hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc. — corrected at a reputable repair shop that employs ASE-certified repair professionals. Cold weather makes existing problems worse.
  • Replace dirty filters, such as air, fuel, and PCV. A poorly running engine is less efficient and burns more gasoline.
  • As the temperature drops below freezing, add a bottle of fuel deicer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel

Family Finances and the Environment

According to the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), motorists can help the environment and their own finances by incorporating a few good practices. Regular vehicle maintenance and better driving habits are two simple ways any car owner can go “green” — both for the environment and one’s own wallet.

Here are a few specific, easy-to-implement tips from ASE:

  • Keep the engine running at its peak performance. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent. Replace filters and fluids as recommended in the manual. A well-tuned engine pollutes less and uses less. Moreover, neglected engine performance problems can cause costly repairs over time
  • If you do your own repairs, be a good steward of the environment. Dispose of engine fluids and batteries properly. A single quart of used motor oil can pollute thousands of gallons of water. Antifreeze poured on the ground can poison wildlife and household pets. Check around at local repair facilities to see if they accept used fluids and parts, or call your local government agencies for information on proper disposal and recycling.
  • Keep tires properly inflated and aligned. If your air pressure is low, you force the engine to work harder and burn

Treat Your Engine to be Nice

We all know that the Golden Rule reads, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Well, here’s your chance to implement that rule and enhance the life and value of your car at the same time. Over the last decade or so we’ve learned that breathing dirty air can be hazardous to our health. The same logic applies to the engine in your car, SUV, or light truck or van. Keeping the inside of your engine clean will keep it healthy, longer, and will enhance its value if you decide to sell or trade it. MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters is one of the largest suppliers of filters for cars and trucks, so they know a thing or two about treating engines nice, and their spokesman Kevin O’Dowd offers the following advice: “Internal engine parts are made to extreme levels of precision. For instance, hydraulic valve lifters are manufactured to tolerances as stringent as one ten thousandths of an inch (0.0001”). So even tiny particles can interfere with the engine’s operation, and can cause damage to piston rings, engine bearings, and other critical engine components.” Filters are the guardians of your engine, and can do a very effective

How to make fresh cabin air

If you are driving a vehicle with cabin air filters you are in luck, especially if you reside in a metropolitan area where air pollution levels are high or if you suffer from a respiratory condition such as asthma or seasonal allergies.

Cabin air filters capture potentially harmful particulates so they are not recycled into the passenger compartment and compromise the driving comfort of the people in the vehicle.

Normally, motorists roll down their windows to get ‘fresh’ air. Instead, you may want to roll up the windows to prevent the environmental pollutants from entering your vehicle because, whether you turn on the air conditioning or open the fresh air vent, the cabin air filter will provide clean, fresh air while filtering out the environmental pollutants.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (www.aafa.org) 60 million Americans (one in every five) suffer from asthma and seasonal allergies and the numbers are increasing. To highlight the problem and related issues with children and adults, May has been declared National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.

“For people who suffer from a respiratory-related illnesses or those who are passionate about breathing clean air, cabin air filters are an extremely useful feature on vehicles,” said Kevin

How Best To Do It Shield Your Children From Dirty Air While Driving

The Council states, that children, by virtue of their physical size and lifestyle, are more exposed to pollution and also more susceptible to its adverse effects than adults. Whether at school or at home, on the soccer field or at a softball game, children are more likely to be exposed to outdoor pollution. They are also more likely to being driven to these venues in cars, vans or SUVs that potentially only add to their exposure. Particulate and exhaust fumes such as fine dust, diesel soot, pollen bacteria and nitrogen oxides enter the vehicle through the vents and concentrations of these toxic substances inside can be higher than at the side of the road in urban traffic conditions. All this when children’s immune systems are not developed enough to be able to resist and overcome the toxins they encounter.

Plus, because they are young, there is plenty more time for these toxins to get absorbed into their systems and affect children’s growth and development. However, the news is not all bad for parents and guardians who want to shield their young charges from environmental toxins … especially when driving or stuck in traffic even if the vehicle’s windows are rolled up

A variety of existing potential problems

“When the check engine light comes on, it means that a vehicle system, such as the ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating properly, even if the vehicle appears to be running normally,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A glowing check engine light doesn’t mean you have to immediately pull the car to the side of the road, but it does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible. Ignoring the warning light could result in costly repairs. At the very least, the light could alert you to an engine problem that is negatively impacting fuel economy.”

Some common malfunctions that can cause the check engine light to illuminate include a faulty oxygen sensor, mass air flow sensor, or spark plugs and wires. If the light flashes, the condition is more critical and must be checked immediately to prevent severe damage, which may include catalytic converter damage.

When scheduling service, make sure the automotive shop that examines your vehicle has professional technicians who are trained and certified in OBDII diagnosis and repair. The technician will connect your vehicle’s computer system to a diagnostic scan tool, which will provide trouble codes indicating why the

Change Your Driving Style

changing your driving habits to suit a car that performs better will use less fuel and protect your wallet at the pump. Clean air = long life and improved performance “The logic is the same,” O’Dowd says. “Just as breathing clean air contributes to a long and healthy life, so also a vehicle’s engine that ‘breathes’ clean air performs better over a longer period of time. Abrasive dust, dirt and other contaminants that can enter through the engine’s air intake ducts while you are driving can damage a car’s internal engine components, increase wear and ultimately reduce the engine’s power, performance and long life. A vehicle ingests about 10,000 gallons of air to burn a single gallon of fuel and, air along roads and highways contains all kinds of contaminants such as soot, dirt, leaves, straw, tiny bits of rubber, etc. Large quantities of unfiltered air entering the engine compartment can damage critical engine components and cause cylinder wear. Choosing a quality air filter “Capacity and efficiency in capturing the dirt before it enters the engine combustion chamber are key to determining the quality of an air filter,” says O’Dowd. “Capacity is the amount of dirt the filter can hold

Readings and negatively affect the air to fuel ratio

Signs of a dirty MAF sensor could be a check engine light.  You may experience a loss of power, stalling, rough idle.  Your engine may also be running rich and producing excess emissions.  The original Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner from CRC Industries is a unique precision cleaner specifically developed to clean sensitive components in MAF sensors without damaging or degrading plastic or painted surfaces.

Use CRC Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner with the engine off. Always wear gloves and eye protection, and insert the straw into the nozzle before an application.  Remove the air filter to gain access to the MAF sensor located between the air box and the throttle body.  It is recommended that you remove the sensor for best cleaning, but it’s not absolutely necessary.  Place a towel under the MAF to catch any run-off.  Using the straw attachment, apply 10 to 15 short bursts of CRC Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner to the hotwire or the hot plate.  Be careful not to let the straw, or anything else come in contact with hotwire. Keep the end of the straw 4 to 5 inches from the hotwire.  Be sure to spray all sides of the MAF sensor and

A fact that deposits form in every fuel system

GDI engines are particularly prone to rapid build-up of fuel deposits because they’re never cooled or washed with fuel.  Deposits can form in as few as 5,000 to 10,000 miles, restricting proper airflow and increasing engine operating temperatures.  These harmful fuel deposits cause a variety of problems, preventing your vehicle from operating properly.  Unlike common fuel additives that are diluted into fuel before reaching critical fuel system components, GDI IVD Intake Valve Cleaner from CRC Industries is sprayed directly into the air intake system.  This powerful cleaner hits the back of the intake valves at 150 times the concentration of premium fuel additives.  Intake Valve Cleaner is proven to remove up to 23% of carbon build-up in the first hour of use.  It works in all gas-powered engines, not just GDI.  When using Intake Valve Cleaner from CRC, time consuming and costly engine teardown is no longer required to clean intake valves, especially on GDI engines where previously, engine teardown was the only option.

Apply GDI IVD Intake Valve Cleaner with the engine running and at operating temperature.  The unique PermaStraw actuator locks into place, preventing the straw from being drawn into the air intake.  Remove the air filter cover and

A hydraulic assist system

When you turn the steering wheel, a spool valve directs the system pressure towards the direction you turn the wheel.  Fluid is constantly pumped from the power steering pump through the system when the engine is running.  After the fluid passes through the steering rack, it returns as a low pressure fluid back to the reservoir that maybe mounted on the pump.  This cycle repeats itself over and over through the life of the system.

 

Over time and exposure to high and low pressures, heat and cold, the “soft parts” of the power steering system will start to harden and sometimes shrink.  Hoses and seals will eventually not work as they were designed, allowing pressure to drop or cause a system leak.  Losing the power steering fluid and running the system dry will result in expensive repairs from over heating and lack of lubricant.

 

Determining that your power steering system has a leak can be as simple as checking the fluid level and noting that it has dropped in the reservoir.  Some reservoirs have dipsticks, others have a window where you can inspect the level.  There are usually two marks to check against, “Hot and Cold”.  The fluid expands as it heats

How to make driving run so well

“A Thanksgiving pre-trip inspection helps reduce the chance of costly and possibly dangerous on the road trouble. It also provides an opportunity to have repairs done by one’s own technician locally who knows the vehicle,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Especially important, it provides peace of mind. While no inspection can guarantee a car’s performance, it’s comforting to know proper precautions were taken to avoid a ‘turkey’ of a weekend.”

The Car Care Council suggests the following 10-minute checkup to help ensure vehicle safety and reliability on Thanksgiving, when millions of Americans take to the roads to visit family and friends:

•       Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.

•       Check the hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.

•       Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.

•       Check lighting to identify any problems with exterior and interior lighting as the chance of an accident increases if you

The Scare Out of Driving

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

Make Perfect Holiday Gifts

It’s crunch time and if you’re still struggling with what to give a loved one, family member or friend this holiday season, the perfect gift can be an item related to vehicle safety. Tire pressure gauges, ice scrapers, emergency kits, windshield wipers or the consumer Car Care Guide, published by the Car Care Council, are suitable items for any drivers on your list.

“These small and relatively inexpensive items play a big role in vehicle safety and reliability especially during winter driving when road conditions can be hazardous and unpredictable,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “They’re a perfect stocking stuffer or holiday gift that shows the drivers on your list that you truly care about them this holiday season.”

Low tire pressure and windshield wipers were among the top six items that had the highest failure rate during National Car Care Month check-up events. Tire pressure should be checked at least once a month as properly inflated tires are critical to the vehicle’s ride, handling, traction and safety. For optimum performance, wiper blades should be replaced every six months or when cracked, cut, torn, streaking or chattering.

An emergency road kit is something that can be easily compiled or purchased. A kit

Solving Problem of Water Car Damaged

With heavy rain pounding many parts of the country, there’s a good chance that you’ll drive through high water that could damage your vehicle. Even though your vehicle may not have been flooded or completely covered in water, the Car Care Council recommends that motorists follow these guidelines to check for damage due to water intrusion or contamination:

  • Check interior carpets, upholstery and door and trim panels for dampness. If they are wet, then the vehicle will need professional attention. If you simply let the carpet dry, it will quickly grow mildew and give off nasty odors. Seat brackets, motors and modules should also be checked for rust and proper operation.
  • Pull the engine oil and transmission fluid dipsticks and differential plug. If the fluid appears milky, diluted, is no longer its original color or is beige in color, then it is likely the pans contain water. The vehicle should be towed to your ASE-certified technician or repair shop. Driving the vehicle with water present may damage the internal parts and require extensive overhaul or repairs. The council reminds motorists that some new synthetic differential fluids may appear to be milky but are not water contaminated. When in doubt, a professional automotive

Auto technicians to ensure your vehicle

Studies from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) show vehicles that receive regular maintenance and service retain more of their value, get better gasoline mileage, and pollute less than cars that are neglected. But today’s computer-loaded systems leave many former do-it-yourselfers hesitant to do much weekend tinkering. What’s a conscientious vehicle owner to do?

How Consumers Benefit from ASE Certification

Finding a competent auto repair professional should not be difficult … and with that guiding principle, the nonprofit, independent ASE was founded in 1972.

The mission was clear: Develop a mechanism by which working auto technicians could prove their competence to themselves, their employers, and to consumers.

The solution: A series of national certification exams covering all major automotive repair and service specialties.

The result: An elite group of automotive service professionals at work in repair establishments throughout the nation.

Why Use ASE-Certified Auto Technicians?

Consumers benefit from ASE’s certification program because it takes much of the guesswork out of finding a competent technician.

Perhaps years ago, any shade-tree mechanic would do; after all, cars were simpler, less complex. But with today’s high-tech vehicles — family sedans, sports coupes, rugged SUVs, and powerful pickups — the margin for error is small because mistakes are more costly.

Maintaining Present Vehicle

“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 on their expenses,” said Terry Mulcahy, vice president of investments for R.W. Baird in Mequon, Wis. “A new automobile is for most people their second biggest investment next to a home, so a great way to save money and increase financial assets is

What happen with 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

Do You 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 the mix (once again, unless otherwise specified by the vehicle manufacturer) to increase its percentage in the mixture is not better. Generally speaking, after the ratio exceeds more than about 65%