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Car Care 101912

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  • The average age of a personal vehicle on the road today is more than 11 years, according to recent news reports. In tough economic times, its natural to rein in spending. But the experts at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) warn that putting off routine auto maintenance or ignoring service intervals is false economy. Small issues can morph into more expensive repairs. For example, failure to replace worn brake pads or a faulty oxygen sensor both relatively easy serv -ices for qualified auto technicians can result in expensive brake rotor service or costly replace -ment of the vehicles catalytic converter.

    Frequently neglected items include oil changes, tire and brake service, wheel align -ment, air and fuel filters, and transmission serv -ice, according to ASE-certified auto technicians.

    Besides, a well-maintained vehicle gets better gasoline mileage, pollutes less, is safer to operate, and lasts longer than one thatsneglected, notes ASE.

    To help consumers choose a repair shop that fits their needs, ASE offers the following

    Advice from the Pros: Do notneglectauto service

    c h e c k - list:

    Look for a neat, well- organized facility,with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.

    Look for a courteous staff, with a serviceconsultant willing to answer all of your ques - tions.

    Look for policies regarding estimatedrepair costs, diagnostic fees, guarantees, and acceptable methods of payment.

    Ask if the repair facility specializes or if it usually handles your type of repair work.

    Look for signs of professionalism in thecustomer service area, such as civic, com -munity, or customer service awards.

    Look for evidence of qualified technicians:trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and certification by ASE.

    Look for the ASE sign or logo; it means the shop employs nationally certified tech - nicians.

    The National Institute for AutomotiveService Excellence (ASE) was founded in 1972as a non-profit, independent organization dedi -cated to improving the quality of automotiveservice and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians.

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  • Debunking popular automotive myths

    Certain myths about automobiles have been around as long as there have been cars on the road. Many drivers adhere to driving and repair theories out of sheer force of habit, without ever knowing if these strategies are legitimate. Here are some common myths revealed and debunked.

    High-octane gas improves performance in all vehicles. Most cars will not get any added benefits from the use of high octane fuel, which is designed for higher-performance engines that burn hotter than those of most vehicles. Drivers will only waste their money putting in more expensive gas. Always use the fuel recommended in the owners manual.

    Longer cars are more stable.Many believe the longer the wheelbase the more stable the car will be. But wheelbase is only one of the factors that deter -mines a vehicles stability and reaction time.

    Four-wheel-drive vehicles are invincible in poor weather. Four-wheel-drive capabilities may improve traction and handling when driving off-road or when the road conditions are not ideal. But no car is invincible when it comes to driving on snow and ice..

    Side mirrors are properly adjusted when you can see the side of the car in them. Actually, the mir -rors should be adjusted so you cant see the sides of the car. The mirrors work in concert to allow a pano -ramic view around the car. This eliminates the need to turn your head to check blind spots, which takes your eyes off the road.

    Automatic braking system (ABS) was designed to shorten stopping distances. ABS was created to give drivers the ability to steer around obstacles while braking instead of spinning out of

    control. Engine

    oil should be changed every 3,000 miles. Theres no need to change engine oil that frequently, as motor oils today are much more durable and protect engines for longer dis -tances. Unleaded fuels and clean-burning enginestypically require oil changes every 7,000 to 10,000miles, but consult your owners manual.

    There is a 72-hour cooling off period offeredon automotive sales in the U.S. There is no such pro -vision for auto purchases, as there is for many con -sumer products and even home sale contracts. Onceyou buy a car, youre stuck with it, no matter howquickly you begin to experience buyers remorse.

    Myths prevail in daily life and in the automotive realm as well.Know the facts to avoid losing money or being unsafe on the road.

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