Thanksgiving Weekend Road Trip be a Turkey

One way to ensure you will get to dinner in time for turkey on Thanksgiving weekend is by making sure that the vehicle you will be driving is running well. A 10-minute pre-trip check is small potatoes compared to a big helping of inconvenience if you break down many miles away from home, according to the Car Care Council.

“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 can’t see or be seen.

•       Check wipers. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months. Make sure the windshield wipers are working properly and keep the reservoir filled with solvent.

The Car Care Council also recommends that motorists restock their emergency kit. To save on fuel costs during the trip, the council suggests that motorists avoid aggressive driving, observe the speed limit and avoid excessive idling. Gas caps that are damaged, loose or missing should be replaced to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.

Cleans and removes corrosion on car batteries

Battery Cleaner with Acid Indicator from CRC Industries, helps quickly identify acid leaks, and cleans and removes corrosion on car batteries.  Clean battery terminals improve the connection and maximize a vehicle’s electrical system performance.  You may or may not see visible corrosion as whitish or bluish deposits on the battery posts, and you can experiences rough starts, or the vehicle won’t start at all.

To apply CRC Battery Cleaner, remove the negative terminal connection first, followed by the positive terminal.  Using a wire brush, remove any corrosion that has accumulated around the posts. Avoid contact between the disconnected terminals and posts.  Shake the can well and spray the product liberally over the battery surface, terminals and posts, and any visibly corroded areas.  The yellow foaming cleaner turns a pink color if battery acid is present. Technicians know this is a powerful visual for customers. Allow the cleaner to soak for a few minutes.  Use a wire brush if necessary to remove heavy deposits and then rinse with water.   Another application is recommended to ensure that all acid has been removed, and another rinse is needed.  Reconnect the positive terminal first, followed by the negative terminal.

A battery that is clean and free of corrosion will ensure easier starting, maximum current flow and longer battery life.  After reconnecting the battery, you’ll want to follow with an application of CRC Battery Terminal Protector.

Shake well and apply an even coat to hold-downs, bolts, brackets and terminals.  CRC Battery Terminal Protector is lead-free and provides a long-lasting protective film coating.  The product is red in color when you first apply it and, the red dye will fade over time, letting you know when it’s time to reapply.

Clean and protect your vehicle’s battery with Battery Cleaner with Acid Indicator, and Battery Terminal Protector from CRC Industries, for easier starting, improved current flow and longer battery life!

Certain that your brakes are functioning properly

To be certain that your brakes are functioning properly, it’s important to maintain and clean all brake surfaces and components and make sure that they stay dirt and grime free.  After using CRC Brakleen Brake Parts Cleaner, the original aerosol brake parts cleaner, it is recommended to apply Silaramic Brake System Grease from CRC to protect critical brake system components.  Use Silaramic on all moving caliper hardware, backing plates and any mating surfaces.  It protects these components from dirt and corrosion, extending parts life and improving performance.

After using CRC Brakleen to clean the caliper housing and backing plate to remove all grime and dust, apply CRC Silaramic Brake System Grease, then remove any excess grease.  Be careful to avoid getting the lubricant on pads and rotors.  Silaramic is for all brake systems and brake components such as calipers, bushings, holes, pins, inserts, anchors, bolts and boots.

Silaramic is a ceramic fortified, pure silicone dry-film lubricant.  It outperforms ordinary caliper and brake system greases, withstanding extreme temperatures up to 3000°F.  Silaramic helps prevent uneven pad wear and, is engineered to last the life of your brake pads.  It protects brake systems under the harshest of conditions and temperatures.

Use Silaramic Brake System Grease from CRC Industries to help protect critical brake system components from heat, friction and corrosion!

With the engine off, remove the air intake duct to expose the throttle body.  It may be necessary to remove the mass air flow sensor.  Place a rag under the throttle body to collect run off.   Spray CRC Throttle Body and Air Intake Cleaner in 3 to 5 short bursts, not continuously, manually moving the butterfly valve back and forth as you spray.

Many vehicles have electronic throttle control and use drive-by-wire technology to connect the throttle to the pedal.  However, if your vehicle has a throttle cable or linkage, be sure to clean that as well.  Brush parts inside and out with a toothbrush then re-spray and wipe down.

The air intake system controls

The throttle body in the air intake system controls the air that flows into the engine.  The amount of air depends on the position of the gas pedal.  If you press the pedal harder then the throttle plate opens wider to give the engine more air, resulting in more power and increased speed.

Eventually, dirt, carbon and other debris buildup inside the throttle body on the throttle plate and butterfly valve, reducing airflow and causing parts to stick.  When this happens, you may experience noise at higher engine speeds, fluctuating idle or stalling, rough or slow acceleration, and higher emissions.  Throttle Body and Air Intake Cleaner from CRC Industries effectively cleans and removes power robbing gums from air intake components on fuel-injected vehicles.

With the engine off, remove the air intake duct to expose the throttle body.  It may be necessary to remove the mass air flow sensor.  Place a rag under the throttle body to collect run off.   Spray CRC Throttle Body and Air Intake Cleaner in 3 to 5 short bursts, not continuously, manually moving the butterfly valve back and forth as you spray.

Many vehicles have electronic throttle control and use drive-by-wire technology to connect the throttle to the pedal.  However, if your vehicle has a throttle cable or linkage, be sure to clean that as well.  Brush parts inside and out with a toothbrush then re-spray and wipe down.

If you removed the mass air flow sensor, you may want to take this opportunity to clean it with CRC Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner.  Reassemble the mass air flow sensor, air intake duct and filter.

Halloween can be frightening for motorists

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 side, to stop at all corners and to use crosswalks. Children should look left, right and left again before crossing, stay on sidewalks, avoid crossing through yards and wear bright, reflective and flame retardant clothing.

“We can help keep young pedestrians safe on Halloween by checking the vehicle’s safety items, reminding children of basic safety rules and taking extra precautions when driving through neighborhoods,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

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 should include an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, candles/matches, bottled water and dry food snacks.

Water Has Damaged Your Car

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 technician should make the evaluation.
  • Check the air filter for water. If it is wet, replace the air filter and change the oil.
  • Check the undercarriage, bumpers, radiator area and frame for mud, grass, dirt, debris and rust. If any of these are present, the vehicle should be washed and cleaned as soon as possible.
  • Have the brake system checked by a professional automotive technician.
  • Check the exterior lights for moisture and water. Replace headlights and bulbs that contain water.
  • Listen for abnormal noises while the engine is running. Make a note of where the noise is coming from and take the vehicle to a professional automotive technician as soon as possible. Pay particular attention to the alternator, serpentine belt, starter, power steering unit, air conditioner and wheel bearings.
  • Inspect the suspension joints and lubricate as necessary. Many newer vehicles are lubricated at the factory for life; however, these joints should be checked for rust.

Focus on Your Vehicle Investment

National Car Care Month, in April, is the perfect time for motorists to learn more about the very real economic benefits of performing regular vehicle maintenance, according to the Car Care Council.

Each year, community car care events routinely identify that consumers are not taking proper care of their vehicles. Neglected vehicle care almost always means much higher costs down the line, either in the form of more extensive repairs or lost resale value.

Results of free community car care inspection events throughout the US showed that consumers are neglecting their cars. 8 out of 10 vehicles failed at least one component of the vehicle inspection process. Even with an estimated 20% more vehicles inspected last year, the overall failure rate remained unchanged.

Of the vehicles checked, 27% were found to have low, overfull, or dirty engine oil, which affects vehicle performance and damages internal parts. Low, leaky, or dirty coolant in the radiator or surge tank was identified in 26% of the inspected vehicles. Cooling system protects against damage by keeping the engine operating within the correct temperature range.

51% of all belts in the vehicles inspected were reported as unsatisfactory. 10% of the vehicles required at least one new hose. Roadside breakdowns can be avoided by checking belts and hoses and replacing them when worn.

Seriously thinking about Mothers Day

It’s time to be seriously thinking about Mother’s Day. A great place to look for useful ideas is her driver’s seat, especially if Mom spends a lot of time behind the wheel.

Her vehicle is her home away from home and gifts that enhance her enjoyment of that second home are likely to be appreciated, suggests the Car Care Council. We tend to gravitate toward gifts like jewelry, a framed photo or flowers. But why not break from the traditional and dress up her car? Maybe she’s always wanted a sunroof or a cool sound system. Her wish could come true, with the help of your local auto specialty shop or service dealer.

Beyond the obvious gifts such as seat covers or floor mats, Mom might appreciate having her damaged steering wheel replaced with one that’s stylish, possibly even leather covered. A sun-damaged and faded dash could be repaired, replaced, or recovered to upgrade the interior. How about a GPS navigation system, remote starter, or satellite radio?

Security devices such as a remote keyless entry or alarm systems are also popular add-ons, as are custom wheels or wheel covers. Most women are interested in the safety and appearance accessories as opposed to those, which are performance related. Gifts can be inexpensive. Net shopping bags, that hook on back of the driver’s seat, are great gift items too. Just look around.

Right on the heels of Mother’s Day, of course, is Father’s Day, with additional categories of gifts to consider: special tools, custom rims, window tinting, or sound system enhancements, to mention a few. Gifts for vehicles are always well received and the variety of innovative products never stops growing.

For more ideas and prices visit your auto supply store, service dealer, or specialty shop.

Prepare You for Winter Driving

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 line. Keeping the gas tank filled also helps prevent moisture from forming.
  • Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual — more often if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips. A poll of ASE Master Auto Technicians revealed that regular oil and filter changes is one of the most frequently neglected services, yet one that is essential to protect your engine.
  • The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended. Do-It-Yourselfers: Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses also should be checked regularly by a professional technician.
  • The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility.
  • Replace old blades regularly. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent — you’ll be surprised how much you use during the winter months. And don’t forget to always carry an ice scraper.
  • Have your battery checked. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. However, most motorists can perform routine care: Wear eye protection and protective rubber gloves. Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; retighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. A word of caution:  Removal of cables can cause damage or loss of data/codes on some newer vehicles, so always check your owner’s manual first. Be sure to avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid.