"Green" Auto Tips Not Just for Earth Day:
Today (4/22/11) is Earth Day!
These tips will keep your Vehicle running Clean and Efficient ALL the time!
Brought to you by ASE - National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence
When it comes to celebrating Earth Day and helping the environment, vehicle owners and drives should not feel left out. By changing a few habits, motorists can do their part in helping the environment, say the experts at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
ASE recommends regular vehicle maintenance and better driving habits as two easy-to-implement strategies. What’s more, better automotive habits will help your vehicle last longer and command a better resale price.
The following tips from ASE can put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care:
•Keep the engine running at peak performance—a misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent. Replace filters and fluids as recommended in the manual.
•Today’s vehicles have much cleaner tailpipe emissions that they did thirty years ago. But a poorly running engine or faulty exhaust system will cause your vehicle to pollute much more than it would otherwise. Don’t ignore that ‘Service Engine’ light.
•Keep tires properly inflated and aligned to reduce the engine’s effort and, thus, gasoline consumption. What’s more, your tires will last longer too, saving you money and easing the burden at recycling centers.
•Have your vehicle’s air conditioner serviced only by a technician certified to handle and recycle refrigerants. Older air conditioners contain ozone-depleting chemicals, which could be released into the atmosphere through improper service.
•Avoid speeding and sudden accelerations; both habits guzzle gas. When waiting for friends or family, shut off the engine. Consolidate daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving.
•Remove excess items from the vehicle, since less weight means better mileage. Remove that roof-top luggage carrier after vacations to reduce air drag.
•If you do your own repairs, properly dispose of engine fluids and batteries. Some repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local government. Remember too that improperly disposed fluids such as anti-freeze can harm pets and wildlife.
Make your Appointment now with the Carbiz Service Center to get your Vehicle running in Top Condition!
I found this great article on Womansday.com and it has great information not just for Women but Men also! These 10 things are useful for everyone to know when it comes to your Vehicles repair and maintenance.
10 Things Your Mechanic Wants to Tell You
Find out what auto experts wish their customers knew about car repairs
By Amanda Greene Posted January 14, 2011 from WomansDay.com
Photo: © Jupiterimages
Failing catalytic converter? Warped brake rotor? It sounds like you need a mechanic. But if you're in the habit of dropping off your car and bolting, it's time to take pause. The auto technicians who save the day have a few things they'd like you to know. From the best ways to report car problems to how you can find a trusted repair shop, we talked to car experts across the country to find out what they wish their customers would do.
1. "My car died" isn't the most helpful explanation you can provide.
While auto technicians are always happy to diagnose your car's problems, giving them as many details as possible is the key to an efficient repair. "The more details a car owner can provide about a particular problem, the less they'll pay in diagnostic time," says Tony Molla, a technician who is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). He encourages car owners to have answers to the following questions when they drop off their car: When does the problem occur? Are any dashboard lights illuminated? Can you describe what the car is doing or not doing when the problem occurs? Is the problem intermittent? Are there any unusual noises, odors or vibrations when the problem occurs?
2. Leave the diagnosing to us.
Doing your research and coming to the repair shop with all the details about your car is great. But don't be so informed that you distrust your mechanic. "Sometimes a little knowledge is dangerous," says Gus De Ipola, owner of APA Automotive Center in Woodland Hills, California. "It's especially frustrating when a customer comes in having incorrectly diagnosed a problem and orders a specific repair. He may be wrong, but he doesn't want us to argue with him."
3. If you don't have an appointment, be prepared to wait.
Minor repairs or safety checks can be performed while you wait, but according to Molla, it's best to have a scheduled appointment. "It allows the shop to prepare in advance and allows enough time to do the job properly. If you drop by unannounced, you're probably going to have to either leave the vehicle or wait while they work your repair into the day's schedule." Can't wait to make an appointment? Molla recommends avoiding repair shops' two busiest times: first thing in the morning, when everyone drops their car off, and around 5 p.m., when they pick it back up.
4. Pay attention to your warning lights.
"They're called warning lights for a reason," says Michael Anderson, proprietor of Wagonwork Collision Center & Consultants in Alexandria, Virginia, and member of the Automotive Service Association (ASA), an organization for auto business owners. Letting your car deteriorate because you don't want to take the time to handle the problem when it first appears will only make things more difficult down the road. If you get your car serviced regularly (consult your owner's manual for a recommended service timeline) and bring it in right away if you see a light come on, you can prevent larger repairs later on.
5. You may actually be the one to blame for certain car problems.
Worn-out brakes? Troubled transmission? You may actually be the one at fault when it comes to some automotive issues. Thanks to the way we drive, we often unknowingly inflict damage upon our vehicles. De Ipola notes that hill driving can wear down brakes, stop-and-go traffic can cause overheating and flooring it as soon as the light turns green can wreck a transmission. To prevent future problems, pay attention to road conditions, slow down for speed bumps and keep clear of the curb when parking—knocking into it can really mess up your car's alignment, says Molla.
6. We wish you knew more about your warranty.
"It would be helpful if the customer would read their warranty to understand the limits of what is covered and who must do the service," says Howard Fleischman, owner of Community Tire and Auto Services in Arizona and member of the Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals Network (NARPRO), an organization for family-owned auto repair shops. He adds that many people leave the dealership believing they can only go there for services covered by the warranty, but often "that's simply not true." According to Fleischman, a qualified repair facility can perform all manufacturer maintenance to support warranty requirements. One thing to note: Most warranties cover breakage, not wear, so if your brakes are worn out from overuse, you might not be covered.
7. We like coming in under our estimate!
Think all auto technicians are out to swindle you? An honest repair shop aims to give you the best deal possible. "We shop the competition to be sure we're in the right ballpark for maintenance costs," says Fleischman. "For repair estimates we make an educated guess, but if we miss the mark and cut ourselves short, we just live with it. If it's the other way around, we love the expression on our clients' faces when we come in under estimate!" And don't expect a very accurate estimate online or over the phone. "Oftentimes the vehicle owner just doesn't have enough information, so an accurate estimate can’t usually be given on the Internet or over the phone," says David Kusa, owner of Autotrend Diagnostic in Campbell, California, and an ASA member. The bottom line: Feel free to use the Web or call your shop to get a ballpark estimate for your repairs, but don't expect to nail down an exact figure until you bring in your car.
8. Do your homework—it will pay off.
To be sure you're seeing a trusted auto technician, look for credentials, such as Better Business Bureau ratings, ASE certification and AskPatty.com or NARPRO approval, says Fleischman. He also recommends checking out the shop you're considering on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Look for positive comments, but also note how the shop responds to negative ones. "If they don't reply to social media, they may not respond to customer concerns at their counter," he says.
9. It's best to have an exclusive relationship with your mechanic.
Once you've found a mechanic you trust, stick with him. "Auto repair is very much a relationship business," says Molla. "Having a vehicle history with one repair shop will allow them to keep track of what work is done, and as mileage builds, they can recommend various periodic maintenance services that will keep your car running efficiently." Plus, the more familiar your mechanic is with your car, the more likely he or she will notice when something seems off—which could prevent a major headache down the line.
10. Not every shop can accommodate your problem.
Don't get frustrated if you bring your vehicle to get serviced only to be told the facility can't help you. "Some repair shops only offer a limited menu of services. Some specialize in certain types of service, while others only service certain makes and models," says Molla. "Full-service shops do exist, but it's not unusual for them to refer a specific problem to a specialist, just like doctors do." When considering a new repair shop, be sure to ask the service desk what types of repairs they typically handle so you don't show up only to be turned away.
The Future is Looking pretty Safe for Drivers and Passangers!
Autos may soon have 'conversations'
8 automakers refine technology that helps avert crashes
David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau
A group of eight automakers that includes Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG is working in Farmington Hills on technology to enable vehicles to talk to each other, to prevent crashes.
Ford demonstrated the emerging technology on three Escape SUVs Tuesday, ahead of this week's Washington Auto Show.
"If every car had it, it would be like another pair of eyes," said Mike Shulman, technical research leader at Ford's active safety research and advanced engineering team. "You wouldn't know it was there unless you need it."
The wireless technology alerts drivers to oncoming vehicles, when other technologies such as radar are unable to pick up on their approach. It sends out the vehicle's position 10 times a second.
Working with funding from the Transportation Department, the automakers' consortium plans to build 64 vehicles — eight from each — and retrofit 2,000 vehicles on the road for a study of technology next year. The test site hasn't been decided.
"It can't just be a Ford-only system because we need to get messages from Hondas, Hyundais, Kias and send them data," Shulman said.
But there are lots of concerns that have to be addressed, including security. "How do you make sure some bright college kid with a laptop is not sending out messages," Shulman said.
Peter Appel of the U.S. Department of Transportation said the government "is helping to lay the groundwork for a national system where all cars, trucks, buses and trains are aware of other vehicles around them." He said connected vehicles "will significantly reduce crashes and generate enormous amounts of new data about travel — data that will make our transportation system safer, more efficient and even 'greener.'"
Ford's vehicle communications technology allows cars to talk wirelessly with one another using a short-range dedicated communications network.
Vehicles will warn drivers of potential dangers, particularly those not detected with radar or that are not perceived because of weather, distance, or other cars or objects impeding the driver's view.
For example, drivers would be alerted if their car is on path to collide with another at a four-way intersection or when a car several vehicles ahead slams on the brakes.
From The Detroit News:http://detnews.com/article/20110126/AUTO01/101260316/Autos-may-soon-have--conversations-#ixzz1E8qXBH9t
Below is an interesting Article from usedcarnews.com on the percentages of what people spend their Tax Refund money on
Consumers Plan on Buying Cars with Refunds
About the same number of consumers plan on using their tax refunds to buy cars this year as did last year.
According to a survey conducted by Taxsoftware.com, 23 percent of respondents plan on using the money to buy cars, electronics or furniture.
Thirty percent plan to spend their anticipated federal and state tax refunds on vacations. This is up dramatically from 16 percent when a similar poll was first taken in 2006.
More people plan to spend their refunds on savings or investments this year than in 2006 (66 percent vs. 55 percent) or to pay off debts (59 percent vs. 52 percent).
Fewer people plan to give their refunds to charity (15 percent vs. 20 percent).
About the same percentage plan to make home improvements (31 percent vs. 30 percent); buy products such as (23 percent vs. 24 percent); or pay mortgages or education loans (19 percent vs. 20 percent).
Those who plan to "do something else" with their refunds rose to 38 percent in 2011, up from 27 percent in 2006.