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TOP 10 TIPS TO SAVE ON GAS
FOR MISERLY DRIVERS CAR CARE GUIDE ’11 SMART MAINTENANCE
here’s WhaT iT CosTs
Warning lights: What every driver must know
VEhiCLE TO-DO LiST CAR CARE QuiZ
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Car Care guide | 1
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car care guide
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The Cost of Neglect
What you don’t do will cost you. Practice proper maintenance to keep your car running longer and command a higher resale value down the road. 10 TOP TIPS TO BOOST ANY CAR’S FUEL ECONOMY
You, too, can be a hypermiler! Follow these easy tips to save big money at the gas pump. Warning Light! What to think – and to do – when one of a car’s many warning lights flashes on. How Long Will It Last? Fuel injectors leak, timing belts get tired and alternators can noisily grind to a halt. Get wise to the lifespan of your vehicle’s equipment. Car Care To-Do’s What to do, when, to keep a vehicle running strong. Test Your Car Smarts Is your vehicular relationship in tune or could it use some repair? Answer these 10 questions and see. Head’s Up Today’s head lamps are becoming more effective at lighting the road ahead. Oil’s Well Here’s how to avoid heading down a slippery slope to expensive engine repairs.
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553 Thain Rd, Lewiston 208.746.4954 • 800.509.4449
2 | Car Care guide
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Final Touch / Dent Pro’s
has been in business since 1997. ey pride themselves on quality work at a fair price. Final Touch has an experienced staﬀ to perform professional services – antique auto restoration, stainless straightening & polish, auto detailing on boats, RV’s, trucks and cars, auto paint chip repair, painless dent repair for those small door dings, and small body and paint work. ey oﬀer all the newest products available in auto and truck accessories and performance products. ey often attend SEMA (the largest automotive trade show in the world) to update themselves about new accessories and products in the auto industry. Visit Final Touch for all the latest and greatest the industry has to oﬀer. 1240 Cedar Ave, Lewiston, ID 746-8545 Hours: Monday–Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Weekend appointments available.
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Car Care guide | 3
car care guide
WhaT you doN’T do Will CosT you. PraCTiCe ProPer maiNTeNaNCe To keeP your Car ruNNiNg loNger aNd CommaNd a higher resale value doWN The road.
By JIM GORZELANY cTW FeaTureS
ThE COST Of NEgLECT
s the old saying goes, it’s cheaper to keep an old car running than to buy a new one. With the price of an average new car approaching $30,000, American motorists are holding onto their rides longer than ever. The average age of passenger vehicles on the road today is up to 10.6 years, according to the Car Care Council, an industry trade group in Bethesda, Md. With proper maintenance and timely replacement of worn parts, today’s cars and trucks can stay on the road for 200,000 miles or more. But even if you’re not intending on keeping your present vehicle until it literally falls apart, regular mechanical and cosmetic maintenance can make it more pleasurable to drive and can actually save an owner money in the long run. “Neglected vehicle care almost always means much higher costs down the line, either in the form of more extensive repairs or lost resale value,” says the CCC’s executive director Rich White. How much does the condition of a car count at trade-in time? Let’s take a close look at the bottom line, starting with a 2006 Toyota Camry SE V6 with 60,000 miles on the odometer. According to the valuation experts at NADAguides, in Costa Mesa, Calif., an example that’s in “rough” shape, meaning one that requires mechanical repairs and cosmetic reconditioning, would carry a resale value of $9,850. By comparison, one that’s in “clean” condition, with all mechanical systems in working order and an interior and exterior that are in good condition, would afford a trade-in value of $11,975. That pegs the cost of neglect at $2,125. What about an SUV? A five-year-old Chevrolet Tahoe LT with four-wheel-drive at 60,000 miles would command an estimated $16,450 as a rough trade-in versus $19,355 for one that’s considered clean. Here, proper maintenance puts an additional $2,905 in a conscientious owner’s pocket. Drive a luxury car? The stakes are even greater here. A 2006 Mercedes-Benz E500 sedan, also with 60,000 miles driven, would garner $15,275 in rough condition, versus an estimated $20,000 as a clean trade-in. This amounts to a $4,725 difference, which is a substantial 31 percent boost in resale value due solely to the vehicle’s upkeep. Follow the time-tested car-care tips presented in the following pages, and you’ll likewise be able to make the most of your automotive investment now and in the future.
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4 | Car Care guide
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Car Care guide | 5
car care guide
10 TOp TipS TO BOOST ANY CAR’S fuEL ECONOmY
6 | Car Care guide
By JIM GORZELANY cTW FeaTureS
car care guide
you, Too, CaN be a hyPermiler! iT Takes a miNimum of efforT To maximize a model’s mileage aNd save big moNey aT The gas PumP .
ith gasoline prices surging well over $3 a gallon for the first time since 2008 and showing no signs of retreating, it’s no surprise that fuel economy is again a major concern among motorists. A recent Consumer Reports survey found that 80 percent of participants listed fuel economy as an important factor in choosing their next vehicle, and 40 percent listed it among the top three most important factors. Fortunately, those looking to save on fuel costs don’t necessarily need to spend the money necessary to trade their existing cars in for more-efficient models. Heeding the time-tested tips below compiled from the Environmental Protection Agency and other auto-care sources can reduce most any car’s fuel consumption, sometimes dramatically. Here’s the 10 easiest ways to be a successful “hypermiler.” 1. Stay in Tune Fixing a vehicle that’s in need of a tuneup or has failed an emission test can boost its mileage by about 4 percent. Simply changing a clogged air filter can improve a car’s fuel economy by as much as 10 percent, while addressing a more-serious problem like replacing a faulty oxygen sensor can increase it by as much as 40 percent. 2. Slow and Steady Wins the Race Lead-footed acceleration, heavy braking, high-speed driving, towing and engaging four-wheel-drive will drain a vehicle’s gas tank at a higher-than-average rate. Jackrabbit starts and sudden stops alone reduce a car or truck’s fuel economy by as much as 33 percent at highway speeds and by five
percent in the city. Driving at 75 mph uses 13 percent more fuel than cruising at 65 mpg, and 25 percent more than at 55 mph. Drive smoothly and anticipate the movement of traffic. Once up to speed maintain a steady pace in top gear. Use cruise control on the highway. 3. Tend to Tires Keeping a vehicle’s tires properly inflated according to the manufacturer’s specifications can affect both its mileage – running on under inflated tires can reduce a car’s mileage by as much as 3.3 percent – and lead to uneven and/or premature wear. And check it often, using a simple tire gauge, as tire pressure changes by an average of one PSI (pound per square inch) with every 10-degree F change in air temperature. When it’s time to buy a new set consider low rolling resistance tires, which can improve a car’s fuel economy by as much as 6 percent. 4. Be Aerodynamically Aware Removing a car or truck’s roof rack will improve its aerodynamics and, in turn, its fuel economy by about five percent. At highway speeds, more than half of the engine power goes to overcoming drag, so keep a vehicle’s windows closed to maintain optimal aerodynamics and prevent a 10 percent loss in fuel economy; open the vents to bring in outside air, but use the air conditioning sparingly because it causes to the car to consume more gas. 5. Lighten Up Reducing a vehicle’s weight is the easiest way to improve its fuel economy. Automakers regularly look to trim excess pounds out of each of their models to maximize their mileage. To that end, don’t treat a car as a rolling storage locker. Carrying an additional 100 pounds of gear in the trunk can increase a vehicle’s energy consumption by 1 to 2 percent. 6. Get Good Grades When it’s time for an oil change, be sure to use the recommended grade as stated in the owner’s manual. For example, using 10W-30-grade motor oil in an engine that’s otherwise designed to use 5W-30 can lower its gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent. Also, look
for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the label to be sure it contains frictionreducing additives. 7. Idle Worship One of the easiest and most significant ways to save gas is to simply turn off a car’s engine while waiting at a curb or sitting at an extended stoplight. This can conserve more than half a gallon of fuel for every hour that would have been spent idling, when a vehicle gets zero miles per gallon. This is why high-mileage hybrid-powered vehicles are programmed to power down their gasoline engines when they’re at rest. 8. Combine Trips Consolidating multiple errands into one trip saves both time and gasoline. Several short trips taken on different days, each from a cold start, can use twice as much fuel as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. 9. Take Directions
One way to avoid wasting gas is to take the most direct route to a destination and not get lost. Any number of inexpensive portable GPS navigation systems can do the job, with higher-end models providing realtime traffic information and the ability to re-route around jams or plot a more fuelfriendly course. Some can even plot a course to the gas station having the lowest per-gallon prices when it’s time for a fill-up. 10. Monitor Your Motoring. Just as it’s prudent to weigh in regularly when going on a diet, it’s a good idea to use a mileage monitor to help drive more efficiently. It’s easy to add one to just about any newer-model car by plugging it into the “OBD” (on-board diagnostics) port, which is typically located underneath the dashboard. Most can display both real-time and average mpg, along with other pertinent information.
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Car Care guide | 7
COLLISION REPAIR AND AUTO PAINTING
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car care guide
moTorisTs should be PrePared To reaCT WheNever oNe of Their Cars’ WarNiNg lighTs flashes oN To sTay safe aNd avoid exPeNsive rePairs.
By JIM GORZELANY cTW FeaTureS
ANTILOCK BRAKING SYSTEM
What it looks like: The letters “ABS.” What it means: There’s a problem with the antilock function in the braking system that otherwise modulates brake pressure to prevent skidding during sudden stops and on wet or slick pavement. What to do: Have the technician check the system as soon as possible; normal braking will not likely be affected.
What it looks like: A seated stick figure with a round symbol at the abdomen. What it means: One or more of the car’s air bags is defective or has come disconnected and may not deploy in case of a collision. What to do: Have the air bags checked out by a technician as soon as possible.
What it looks like: A circular symbol with an exclamation point or the word "BRAKE." What it means: Either the emergency brake is engaged or there is a loss of fluid pressure in the braking system. What to do: Check the emergency brake and release it if necessary. Otherwise head straight for a repair center to have the braking system checked out; slow down and drive with caution as it may take more pressure on the brake pedal than usual to bring the car to a stop. If the brake pedal travel is significantly longer than usual or you find it difficult to stop the vehicle, pull over and call for assistance.
oday’s automobile dashboards are bedecked with an array of illuminated dials and gauges, buttons, dials, displays and touch screens that all come on at once when the ignition is engaged in a frenzy that would have driven a Model T owner from the early days of motoring into convulsions. The instrument panel alone is home to myriad warning lights. While some alert motorists to benign situations like low fuel or windshield washer fluid levels or the fact that the head lamps are on or the trunk is open, others point to potentially serious operating situations, like faulty brakes or an engine that’s overheating. They all come on briefly when the car starts up, but motorists should respond accordingly to those that
8 | Car Care guide
stay on or light up while the car is running to avoid a breakdown and the need for major mechanical repairs. “Warning lights are there for a reason, to let us know something is wrong with our car,” says John Nielsen, national director of auto repair and buying for the AAA in Orlando, Fla. “In some cases, ignoring a warning light can quickly result in catastrophic damage to your car’s engine, so it’s important to know what each light means and what you should do if it comes on while driving.” Here’s an “illuminating” look at instrument panel warning lights that indicate mechanical problems, what they mean and what a driver should do if one flashes on while on the road - as always, be sure to check a car’s owner’s manual for detailed explanations of its assorted warning lights.
What it looks like: An engine symbol and/or the words “CHECK ENGINE.” What it means: Typically, there’s a problem affecting the vehicle’s emissions system. This could be something as minor as the fuel filler cap missing or not replaced properly, or a more significant issue, like a failed oxygen sensor or vacuum hose leaks, that can adversely affects a car’s performance and/or fuel economy.
“In some cases, ignoring a warning light can quickly result in catastrophic damage to your car’s engine. It’s important to know what each light means and what you should do if it comes on while driving.”
What to do: If the light comes on and stays on, make an appointment with a technician in the near future to have the problem evaluated. If the light flashes it indicates that the car’s catalytic converter is overheating; drive the vehicle to a technician immediately to avoid an engine fire and/or costly emissions system repairs. pull off the road as soon as it’s safe to do so and allow the engine to idle. Check for cooling system leaks under the car or steam coming from under the hood, but be cautious when opening the hood to avoid burns from boiling coolant and never remove the radiator cap until the car is sufficiently cooled down. If the light goes out, check the coolant level from the reservoir (not the radiator cap) and replenish as necessary with a 50/50 percent mixture of antifreeze and distilled water - auto parts stores sell premixed coolant and it’s handy to keep a jug in the trunk for such emergencies. If the light does not go off after the car idles for a few minutes call for assistance. If the light goes out and the car is drivable, still have the cooling system subsequently examined by a technician.
What it looks like: A car battery or the word “ALT” or “GEN.” What it means: The car’s alternator is no longer sending electrical power to the charging system. What to do: Turn off the climate control, radio and any other accessories (the exception here would be to keep your head lamps on at night for safety’s sake). Immediately head for a service facility or home of you’re a short distance away; at the least find a safe place to park the car until assistance arrives - you’ll likely have at least 15 minutes of driving with all accessories off before the car’s battery discharges and the car stops running. Call for assistance and have a technician check the car’s electrical system. The problem could be a faulty alternator, a loose or broken alternator belt, or other system failure.
What it looks like: An oil can or word “OIL.” What it means: A potentially calamitous drop in oil pressure due to a malfunctioning oil pump, low oil level or other issues. What to do: Pull off the road as soon as it’s safe to do so, turn off the engine and call for assistance. Don’t drive any further than necessary to avoid serious engine damage.
What it looks like: A thermometer or the word “TEMP.” What it means: The engine is overheating, likely due to a low coolant level or a malfunction in the cooling system. (In some cars this light may stay illuminated after a cold start for a short time until the engine is fully warmed up - this would not indicate a problem.) What to do: Slow down, switch off the air conditioner, roll down the windows and turn on the car’s heater to its highest fan and temperature settings. If the car’s cooling system is simply overloaded in hot weather or when pulling a trailer, this can help relive the pressure and keep the car going for a time. If your car is equipped with an engine temperature gauge look to see if this gets the needle out of the red zone. If the light does not go off and/or the engine temperature gauge remains in the red zone,
What it looks like: A cross-section of a tire with an exclamation point. What it means: On later-model cars equipped with a tire-pressure monitoring system this indicates one or more tires are significantly under inflated, either because of gradual leakage or a puncture. What to do: Pull off the road when it is safe to do so and visually inspect the tires to see if one is flat or is significantly deflated. If that’s the case, change the tire according to the manufacturer’s instructions or call for assistance. Otherwise, use a gauge to check the tires’ air pressure or listen for leaks and feel for objects in the tread of a tire that seems low on air. Head for the nearest gas station to refill the tire that’s low on air and monitor the pressure daily; better yet, have a service facility inspect the tires for leaks or damage.
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Car Care guide | 9
car care guide
fuel iNjeCTors leak, TimiNg belTs geT Tired aNd alTerNaTors CaN Noisily griNd To a halT. geT Wise To The lifesPaN of your vehiCle’s equiPmeNT.
hile a meticulous maintenance program can help keep your car on the road for 200,000 or more miles, not all of its components will go the distance. Many “wear and tear” items, like batteries and brake components, need replacing on a regular basis. Others, like the alternator and fuel pump, can fail nearly without notice. How long can you expect key components to last? Though some cars prove to be more reliable in some areas than others over time, and given motorists will operate their vehicles more severely than others, some reasonable assumptions can still be made regarding the expected life span of a vehicle’s major elements. The following predictions, expressed in miles driven or years of use, were compiled with input from multiple expert sources and tend to be on the conservative side. Though you should treat these as broad estimates, they can help you anticipate, budget and “shop” for required repairs before they necessitate expensive emergency service. As always, follow your car’s recommended maintenance schedule as outlined in its owner’s manual
hOw LONg wiLL iT LAST? W
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10 | Car Care guide
FUEL & EXHAUST Catalytic Converter 100,000 Fuel Filter 30,000-40,000 Fuel Injector 100,000 Fuel Pump 70,000-90,000 Fuel Tank lifetime Muffler & Pipes 50,000-80,000 PCV Valve 30,000-40,000
ELECTRICAL Alternator 40,000-80,000 Battery 3-5 Years Battery Cables 3-5 Years Starter 80,000-100,000 Voltage Regulator 80,000-100,000
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION Electronic-Control Unit (ECU) 80,000-100,000 Electronic-Ignition Module 100,000 Engine Belts 40,000-60,000 Oil Pump Lifetime Timing Belt 60,000-100,000 Timing Chain 100,000 Valve Lifters Lifetime
ACCESSORIES Air Conditioning Compressor 80,000-100,000 Heater Core 80,000-100,000 Horn 100,000 Power-Window Motor 60,000-90,000 Wiper Blades 20,000-1 Year Wiper Motor 80,000-100,000 Washer Pump 80,000-100,000
COOLING Radiator 100,000 Radiator Hoses 40,000-60,000 Thermostat 60,000-75,000 Water Pump 60,000-90,000
BRAKES, STEERING & SUSPENSION AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION LIFETIME Control Arm, Lower (Ball Joint) 70,000-100,000 Clutch 40,000-60,000 Disc-Brake Calipers 80,000-100,000 Disc-Brake Pads 30,000-60,000 Disc-Brake Rotors 40,000-60,000 Drum-Brake Shoes 30,000-40,000 Drum-Brake Cylinders 70,000-90,000 Struts 50,000-60,000 Power-Steering Pump 80,000-100,000 Shock Absorbers 35,000-50,000 Springs 100,000 Tie Rod 70,000-90,000 Universal/CV Joint 80,000-100,000
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Car Care guide | 11
car care guide
By JAY KOBLENZ cTW FeaTureS
every TriP behiNd The Wheel sTarTs – liTerally – WiTh a baTTery. doN’T geT CaughT flaT-fooTed.
12 | Car Care guide
ince the automotive industry traded the hand crank for the turn of a key or the press of a button, having a reliable battery under the hood is a necessity for starting a vehicle’s engine. There are few sounds less welcome that hearing a faint, tired “whirrrr…” when hitting the ignition or – worse – the dreaded feeble clicking sound that indicates a completely dead battery. Technology has advanced remarkably, with newer battery types having more cranking and residual power in smaller and lighter packages and requiring minimal attention. Still, proper battery maintenance and timely replacement is vital to avoid being saddled with a battery that seems to groan and die just when it’s needed most. The first step is to simply check the connection on a regular basis. If a battery cable is loose, it won’t properly charge. Simply looking at and wiggling the cable is all it takes to be certain; tighten the connection with a small wrench or pliers if necessary. Look for corrosion on the battery terminals
– this usually appears as a white powdery substance. Large amounts of corrosion can be removed with a wire brush, and then the terminal can be cleaned with baking soda and wiped with a damp rag. The next step is to check the electrolyte levels, which is the fluid in the battery cells. A lead acid battery (by far the most common type) will have multiple cells. While a “maintenance-free” battery might offer no way to check or add fluid, other types will have caps over each cell with a “minimum” and “maximum” fill line. It is best to add distilled water, but according to autobatteries. com, any good drinking water can work in a pinch. Car batteries operate optimally when they’re charged and discharged regularly, but never to the extreme. That’s why those planning to store an automotive battery, such as with a car that won’t be driven for the winter or while its owners are living elsewhere for a season, should attach a “trickle” charger to the terminals. A good charger will keep the battery topped off without overcharging, thus keeping it healthy while not otherwise in use. Starting a car in cold weather is challeng-
ing because it both weakens the power of the battery and makes an engine more difficult to start by thickening the oil. What many people don’t realize, however, is that hot weather actually does more to shorten the life of a battery. According to the Car Care Council, heat will damage a battery by evaporating the fluid more quickly and causing more charging system malfunctions. A battery will discharge quickly if there is a problem with the vehicle’s charging system. A failing voltage regulator causes a too-high
charging rate, which the Council calls “slow death for a battery.” Even with the best maintenance, a battery will eventually lose its ability to hold a proper charge and will need to be replaced, ideally with a high-quality, maintenancefree battery. For those seeking the latest technology there are “gel” batteries that won’t spill if tipped over and lightweight lithium-ion batteries (the type found in cell phones, notebook computers and a few hybrid-powered vehicles). However, these can be quite expensive and offer few advantages for the average motorist. The two crucial factors to watch for in shopping for a new battery is to get one that’s the right size (so if fits tightly in the allotted space) and has the proper amperage. Except for some old classics, all modern cars have 12-volt systems. Size or Group Size refers to the height, width and length of the battery so it fits properly in the compartment. This information can be found in a vehicle’s manual, or it can be found easily online and at auto parts stores. The owner’s manual will also provide the recommended cold-cranking amps for a replacement battery. Don’t go below this number, although it’s perfectly fine to go a little higher. Batteries also list the manufacturing date, usually stamped with two characters: a letter for the month (A=January, B=February, etc.) and the second a number, the last digit of the year. A battery made in December 2010, for example, would say L0. Look for a battery that’s no more than six months old. One last warning: Car batteries are filled with acid and can give off explosive hydrogen gas. Rarely dangerous when handled properly, there are significant hazards in lack of caution. Those unfamiliar with proper procedures should find a knowledgeable professional to replace – and recycle – a battery.
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My love affair with cars started at the age of ten. It was 1976 and my family had just moved to Lewiston so that my father and grandfather could open an auto repair business together. In 1977, Cook’s Auto Repair ofﬁcially opened it’s doors. Over the next few years I worked in the shop ever day after school and most Saturdays. I swept ﬂoors, emptied garbage, and dumped waste oil – basically any odd job that was needed – all the while, trying to learn as much as I could from my father, grandfather, or any technician that would take the time to teach me. The three years came and went with me saving all of my earnings and waiting to get my daylight drivers license. Finally it happened, I turned 14, was a legal driver, and in need of a car I could call my own. After a few weeks and much help from dad, I struck a deal on a 1973 Chevelle SS that had been sitting in a ﬁeld about 20 miles up the road. This was one of many cars I owned throughout my school years. Eventually the day came that I had to enter the working world so with my love of cars, I chose the automotive ﬁeld. Over the years I held jobs as a parts person, service manager, sales manager, and have run multi-franchise new car dealerships all the while missing the feel and smell of the old cars. One day not so long ago and with my family grown, I decide that I wasn’t getting any younger and I missed playing with the cars of my youth. So with the support of my wife and parents, Cook’s Car Company was started. I carry all makes, models, and years but really try to specialize in the classics. It is my sincerest hope you will ﬁnd a car from your past that renews in you a forgotten love affair or maybe sparks in you a new passion. Pete
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Car Care guide | 13
car care guide
CAR CARE TO-DO’S
WhaT To do, WheN, To keeP your vehiCle ruNNiNg sTroNg
rudent car care is an interactive endeavor that requires owners to keep tabs on their vehicles’ systems and replace wear and tear items when necessary or according to recommended service intervals. Moderately handy motorists can perform most inspections and many simple service procedures themselves; others are encouraged to consult with a trusted service technician on a regular basis to keep their cars in top shape. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for model-specific service intervals you’ll need to follow to maintain your vehicle’s warranty coverage. You’ll also find pertinent information on where and how to check fluids and what types to use, recommended tire pressure and other details. Otherwise, here’s a recommended schedule of inspections and service intervals, with input provided by the Car Care Council:
TraCk auTo maiNTeNaNCe oN The go WiTh These mobile aPPs
ThE AppS fOR ThAT
Headlights/Tail Lights/Turn Signals/Backup Lights Visually inspect and replace as necessary. Tire Pressure/Tread Wear Maintain manufacturer-recommended air pressure. Check for uneven, irregular or excessive wear, and cuts and bruises in sidewalls, replacing (in pairs or all four at once) as necessary. Wash Exterior/Clean Interior Only use specific car-wash products (not dish washing detergent) to prevent stripping wax. Windshield Washer Fluid Replenish with washer fluid only, never tap water. Have brake linings, rotors and drums professionally inspected; pay attention to symptoms of worn components like grinding and squealing noises and fading brake grip. Cabin Air Filter Replace yearly, or more frequently if driving in dusty areas. Engine Coolant (Antifreeze) Change annually; check level weekly at reservoir and replenish with 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water (only use coolant type recommended for vehicle). Spark Plugs Remove and clean excess carbon with a wire brush and check gap according to specification; replace if damaged or according to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. Steering and Suspension Look for symptoms of worn components like uneven tire wear and excessive bouncing over bumps; have a technician inspect system components and replace as necessary.
Free – Android Track maintenance, mileage and general auto expenses
$3 – iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad Given a 4.5/5 rating from MacWorld, this app lets you select your vehicle make and get reminders about scheduled maintenance
EVERY 3 MONTHS/3,000 MILES
Exhaust Check under the vehicle for leaks and damage; repair as necessary. Fuel Filter Remove and inspect for clogs; replace every two years/24,000 miles. Hoses Raise the hood and inspect; replace when leaking, brittle, cracked or otherwise damaged. Power Steering Fluid Check level with the car warmed up, replenish as necessary.
Automatic Transmission Fluid Level Check with engine running and transmission in “park;” replenish as necessary and change every two years/24,000 miles. Battery and Cables Should be securely mounted with clean, tight and corrosion-free connections; test every three years and replace if necessary Belts Check for looseness and condition; replace when frayed or worn. Engine Air Filter Shake out loose dust/dirt; replace every year/12,000 miles or if damaged, worn or excessively dirty. Engine Oil and Filter Replace every 3,000-5,000 miles according to how and where you drive and the manufacturer’s recommendations; check level weekly.
14 | Car Care guide
$4.99 – iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad Track gas mileage and vehicle maintenance
EVERY 6 MONTHS/6,000 MILES
Polish Exterior Use a good-quality wax to maintain the finish; apply and buff in a shady spot. Windshield Wiper Blades Replace twice a year or if they’re cracked or torn, or chatter or streak. EVERY 12 MONTHS/12,000 MILES Brakes
Car Maintenance Reminder
$2.99 – iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad Reminds drivers of what to do when. New for 2011: A Motorcycle Maintenance Reminder app.
© CTW Features
car care guide
or many of us, our cars are more than mere transportation. We name them, customize them and care for them as if they were members of our families. When they break down – even if it’s through our own neglect – it’s a personal disappointment. Answer the following questions to help determine whether your vehicular relationship is in tune or could use some repair. – Deb Acord 1. After a do-it-yourself oil change, the used oil should be disposed by: ❍ a. Pouring it down the drain ❍ b. Put it in a closed container in the garbage ❍ c. Taking it to a service station or any shop that changes oil 2. When topping off the coolant in a car’s radiator, add: ❍ a. 50 percent water, 50 percent antifreeze ❍ b. 100 percent antifreeze ❍ c. 70 percent antifreeze, 30 percent water 3. True or False: A motorist can tell when a tire is inflated properly by simply checking to see if it’s low 4. When changing a tire, the proper way to make sure the lug nuts are secure is to: ❍ 1. Hand-tighten each lug nut, then use a pneumatic wrench ❍ 2. Tighten each nut until it squeaks ❍ 3. Tighten each nut in a four- or five-pointed star pattern to one half of the torque specification given in the owner’s manual, and then again to full value
TEST YOuR CAR SmARTS F
5. To determine the recommended oil viscosity for a car’s engine, look: ❍ a. In the owner’s manual ❍ b. On the dipstick ❍ c. On the sticker from the shop that changed the oil the last time 6. Carrying sandbags in the trunk can best improve wet-road traction in: ❍ a. A rear-wheel-drive vehicle with high-performance tires ❍ b. A front-wheel-drive vehicle ❍ c. Rear-wheel vehicle with all-season tires 7. True or False: All cars get better fuel economy running on premium gas 8. How often should an engine’s oil be changed? ❍ a. Every 3,000 miles ❍ b. At frequency owner’s manual suggests ❍ c. Whenever it seems low 9. What causes damage to a car’s exterior? ❍ a. Precipitation ❍ b. Environmental “crud”– bird droppings, tree sap, road grime ❍ c. Road salt 10. If engine begins overheating, immediately: ❍ a. Stop the car and wait 15 minutes ❍ b. Turn on the heat ❍ c. Turn on the air conditioning
Heritage Wheel & Tire Advanced Muffler
Gordon Wallen - Owner
520 S. Grand Ave Pullman, WA 99163
• Free Estimates • Fully Trained Technicians • Nova Verta Spray/Bake Booth • Unibody Frame Repair • PPG Certification • Other Auto Clubs
1. C Most states require such businesses to accept used oil for disposal 2. A In most climates, a 50-50 solution offers protection to -34 degrees F. 3. False. A tire can be low by as much as 10 pounds per square inch and not show it. 4. C 5. A 6. A 7. False. Unless it’s required by the automaker, buying premium is a waste of money 8. B 9. A, B and C. Even the pollutants in rainwater can have an adverse effect 10. B The excess heat goes into the heater core, which lowers the temperature of the coolant, hopefully long enough to get the car home or to a mechanic
2530 South Grand Avenue • Pullman, WA
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Car Care guide | 15
car care guide
Today’s headlamPs are beComiNg more effeCTive aT lighTiNg The road ahead
etting the most illumination from a car’s headlights has been a goal – and a source of concern – for decades. An article in a 1936 Popular Mechanics magazine, “Riddle Challenges Inventors,” detailed the frustration of owners complaining about their cars “outrunning their lights.” Lighting technology has seen incredible advances in the past century, and those vexed inventors at General Electric who were running tests in the 1930s would no
By dEB ACORd cTW FeaTureS
doubt be amazed by one of the newer developments, the High Intensity Discharge headlamp. Instead of a tungsten filament, an HID light uses a high-voltage electrical arc. The result is a bluish-white light that seems to pierce the dark, providing about twice as much illumination as conventional head lamps, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. HID lights provide greater lighting intensity in all parts of the beam except for a narrow central cone near the horizon and an area above the horizon, the agency reports. An NHTSA survey found that 57 per-
cent of drivers whose cars had HID headlamps said they were safer drivers because of the technology. Scientists at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute agree. In a 2010 report, the center reported that “HID headlamps are functional; they actually provide more light than halogen, especially in the visual periphery, which leads to greater visual performance.” Researchers at the LRC also found that light common to HID headlamps provides longer visibility distances than halogen headlamps. They are also more energy efficient than halogens (35 watts compared to 55 for a halogen), and have a longer operating life (3,000 hours compared to 1,000 hours for halogen).
HID headlamps have been in use since the early 1990s, and were originally only available on luxury cars. Today, almost every manufacturer has one or more models equipped with HID lighting. It has become popular for owners of older-model cars to update their headlight systems with HID headlamp conversion kits. NHTSA says such retrofits don’t conform to government headlight standards. Headlight restoration kits use a sanding and polishing process to rejuvenate yellowed or cloudy headlamp covers on cars. 3M’s kit sells for around $14 and is available at big-box and auto parts stores.
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16 | Car Care guide
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C a r C a r e g u i d e | 17
The AUTO Street SHOP 325 E. Main
car care guide
here’s hoW To avoid headiNg doWN a sliPPery sloPe To exPeNsive eNgiNe rePairs.
By JAY KOBLENZ cTW FeaTureS
mong the highest car-care priorities is to maintain a well-oiled machine. Sure it’s a cliché, but automotive experts agree it’s crucial to ensuring a vehicle’s engine will run smoothly for tens of thousands of miles. Motor oil has four primary functions. The first is lubrication, which simply prevents moving parts from destroying each other by friction. The second is to prevent deterioration so an engine’s internal components won’t rust or become corroded by chemical reactions. The third task is to help maintain proper engine cooling, while the fourth role is to remove contaminants and debris by carrying them to collect in the oil filter, where they can be taken out of the flow. That fourth function is the main reason why motor oil – and the oil filter – must be changed at regular intervals. Engine oil becomes contaminated with the by-products of combustion and pollutants, which causes it to break down and become less able to do its job. It sounds simple, but many motorists are unsure how often to have the oil and filter changed and which type of oil to use. There’s no harm in changing the oil too frequently, other than wasting money and resources, but it’s more prudent to follow an automaker’s recommendations, which can be found in an owner’s manual or maintenance schedule. Oil change intervals are usually given for “normal” driving and for “severe” conditions. It may come as a surprise, but most cars fall into the “severe” driving category,
18 | Car Care guide
which can be as often every three months or 3,000 miles, though this varies by model. That’s because today’s traffic, pollution and stopand-go driving puts more stress on a car’s engine. Other factors considered severe would be taking frequent short trips, carrying heavy loads (or towing a trailer), driving under dirty or dusty conditions and in extremely hot or cold weather. That means just about everyone except the rare person who drives almost exclusively for moderate distances at slower speeds will fall into the severe category. It can be a bit more difficult to decide which type of oil to choose. A vehicle’s manufacturer may either recommend a specific type of oil or a choice of various viscosities; this is often referred to as its “weight.” This is actually a grade of oil’s thickness or resistance to flow. A lower number is thinner, a higher number is thicker. Most motor oil today is multi-grade, which means it features properties of both low and high viscosity, expressed in a numerical range, such as 10W-30 or 20W-50. (The “W” stands for “winter” to indicate cold-weather performance.). Older cars often require different weights for warmer and colder climates and seasons, while most late-model vehicles are able to run the same oil year-round except under extreme circumstances, such as when driving continually below zero or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, be sure to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s advice.
So-called synthetic oils provide a wider viscosity range than traditional oils and can withstand a wider variation in climates. Synthetics can also be more resistant to breaking down. To that end they’re typically recommended for high-performance cars. Their durability also means oil-change intervals can be extended, but this again depends on the type of vehicle and how it’s driven. Unfortunately, synthetic lubricants are more expensive than the conventional kind, and may not provide any real advantage for those who change their car’s oil frequently. Also, be aware that motorcycles and cars or trucks having diesel engines require specific types of motor oil that are labeled accordingly. Always use a brand and type of oil that’s been approved by the American Petroleum Institute and carries the API symbol. This round emblem will give the oil’s weight, whether it’s “energy conserving” (meaning it contains friction-reducing additives) and its service category. Regarding the latter, “SN” is the current top-grade category, and is said to afford top fuel economy and lower emissions. For diesel engines it’s CL-4. The previous top designation, which may still be found on retailers’ shelves, was “SM;” it’s best to avoid oils with older designations, such as SL, SG, SH and SF, especially for use in newer cars. High-mileage vehicles sometimes need more frequent oil changes because worn engine parts allow more pollutants into the oil, allowing it to get dirty more quickly. Older-car owners should check their oil frequently, keeping it topped off as necessary. But beware that if a car’s engine requires frequent oil replenishment between changes, that’s a warning sign of mechanical problems that will require an expert mechanic’s attention. Finally, those changing their own oil are advised to recycle it properly. Because used motor oil is considered a toxic waste, it can’t be just thrown away or, even worse, poured down the drain. Many facilities that sell or change oil will accept used oil for recycling, sometimes for a modest fee.
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215 E Palouse River Drive Moscow, Idaho 208-883-3368 N. 2445 Grand Pullman, Washington 509-332-7274 Main Street Deary, Idaho 208-877-1635
Providing Quality Service For Select Asian, German & Swedish Cars For the Last 50 Years
1315 SE Bishop Blvd • Pullman, WA 509-332-2314 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Car Care guide | 19
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WE REPLACE Bleeder Screw Caliper p Housing
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WE REPLACE econdary Shoe Return Spring WE REPLACE Primary Shoe WE REPLACE Shoe Hold-Down Parts WE REPLACE Adjuster j Lever Spring
WE REPLACE Outer/Inner Pad & Plates
Boot Piston Seal ea WE REPLACE WE REPLACE Sleeve & Bushings
WE REPLACE Wheel Cylinder y Assembly
WE RESURFACE BRAKE ROTORS
WE RESURFACE BRAKE DRUMS
WE REPLACE Secondary y Shoe
There are many important parts that wear out in your brake system. This is why we don’t just replace your brake pads and shoes. It’s also why we can stand behind our brake service with the best brake warranty (Free Replacement 25,000 Miles – Parts & Labor).
20 | Car Care guide