When it comes to your car’s safety, brakes top the list of systems that need monitoring. However, many people are unaware of the signs that indicate a car’s brakes may need maintenance or repair. For routine maintenance, it’s important to check the vehicle’s braking system at least once a year. A thorough inspection should include brake lining wear, brake fluid level, rotor thickness, condition of hoses and brake lines, brake and dash warning lights, as well as taking the car for a test drive to detect other potential brake system problems. Check out this brake system diagram to better understand how the braking system works. It is important to be alert and recognize the danger signs of brake problems. Other warning signs include an illuminated brake warning light, brake grabbing, low pedal feel, vibration, hard pedal feel and squealing. “Sometimes it’s only a few miles between a soft brake pedal and a pedal that goes […]
Brake fluid, which can become contaminated, should be replaced periodically as a safety measure. Six fluids that require periodic replenishment or replacement in most vehicles are the engine oil, transmission fluid, anti-freeze/coolant, windshield washer solvent and fuel. Number six, the one most often neglected, is brake fluid. You’ve known about topping off brake fluid, you may say, but changing it? According to the Car Care Council, brake fluid in the typical vehicle can become contaminated in two years or less. This is because the fluid absorbs moisture, which works its way through the hydraulic system. Under heavy braking conditions, such as encountered in mountainous or hilly driving or when towing a trailer, moisture in the overheated fluid vaporizes (boiling point of water is lower than that of brake fluid) and braking efficiency is reduced. Even under normal driving circumstances, this condition can develop if the brake fluid is seriously contaminated. Not only is the contaminated […]
Most motorists don’t realize that contaminated brake fluid creates a dangerous situation. System should be flushed and fluid changed periodically. A Change for the Better? Just Ask Your Brakes Changing the many fluids in a vehicle is always a change for the better. Dirty engine oil, transmission fluid or anti-freeze are bad news for a car. But what about brake fluid? Many motorists know that this fluid should be topped off, but changed? According to the Car Care Council brake fluid in the typical vehicle can become contaminated in two years or less. This is because the fluid absorbs moisture, which works its way through the hydraulic system. Under heavy braking conditions, such as those encountered in mountainous or hilly driving or when towing a trailer, moisture in the overheated fluid vaporizes (boiling point of water is lower than that of brake fluid) and braking efficiency is reduced. “Even under normal driving conditions this condition […]
This article explains why motorists would give their vehicle a complete physical before a vacation trip. It includes the items to check. Comprehensive Pre-Trip Checkup Can Pay Off Tow truck operators in resort areas or along Interstate highways see all too many travelers forced to return home ahead of schedule. Car trouble, usually due to neglected preventive maintenance, brings an abrupt end to vacation plans. The situation usually means more than just a repair bill. It can involve towing charges, lodging and possibly a rental car. Add to that the cost of extra phone calls, meals and general inconvenience, and the ordeal becomes expensive. This scenario usually can be avoided with a pre-vacation inspection performed by a qualified automotive technician. This “physical” for your automobile should address the following systems: * Cooling * Braking * Emission control * Steering/suspension * Fuel * Electrical and ignition In addition, the tech should evaluate engine performance, tires/wheels, A.C./heater/defroster, […]
This article explains how to connect jumper cables safely. Connecting Jumper Cables In the world of automotive emergencies, motorists need to learn certain procedures for “safety’s sake.” Two of the most valuable lessons, changing a tire and hooking up jumper cables are best learned before an emergency arises, according to the Car Care Council. The process of boosting a battery is especially important in cold weather. Jumper cables or cables on a portable battery booster should be connected properly to avoid sparks, which can cause an explosion of the hydrogen gas emitting from a battery. Beyond this, an incorrect hook up can damage critical, and expensive, electronic components. The procedure is simple: Connect the positive (+) clamp to the positive terminal of the healthy battery and the other positive clamp to the corresponding terminal of the dead battery. Next, the negative (-), or ground, terminal on the good battery and, finally, the negative clamp to […]
A cell phone, like so many other things in a vehicle can be a life saver…or a dangerous distraction. Here are some points to consider. Does “On the Road Again” Mean “On the Phone Again”? These days you see more cell phones than ever, and many of them will be on the ears of people behind the wheel of an automobile. Some of these phones and their owners will wind up in car crashes, but don’t be too quick to blame the cell phone. Blame the drivers who use them in the wrong place at the wrong time, allowing conversations to divert their attention from the road. “Hands-free devices make it easy to eliminate reaching and dialing, but it’s not about having your hands free,” said Rich White, a spokesman for the Car Care Council. “It’s about having your mind free to concentrate on driving. It’s best to pull off the road, or even better, […]
Why put up with worn wipers? They’re so easy to replace. Replace Wiper Blades for Safety Are you tired of smearing, screeching and chattering wiper blades? Do you dread another rainy drive without the benefit of an unobstructed view of the road? Buy a set of wiper blades and install them yourself. It takes only a few minutes, and simple instructions are right on the box.
Before you begin, here are two suggestions:
* You can make the wiper blade more accessible by stopping it in the most convenient location with the ignition key. Don’t use the wiper on-off switch, as it causes the wipers to stop in their parked position.
* Look for replacement rubber squeegees to avoid the cost of buying the entire blade and holder. They’re usually easily installed and can restore wiping action, as long as the rest of the components are OK. 15 percent of the vehicles passing through check […]
Proper vehicle lighting will be vital to safety when daylight-savings time ends on October 26. To prepare for fewer hours of daylight and the extra hours of darkness, the Car Care Council encourages motorists to take a few minutes to inspect their vehicles to ensure that all of the lights are working properly. Vehicle Prep for Daylight Savings Time: Inspect Your Vehicle’s Lights So You’re Not Left in the Dark Proper vehicle lighting will be vital to safety when daylight-savings time ends on October 26. To prepare for fewer hours of daylight and the extra hours of darkness, the Car Care Council encourages motorists to take a few minutes to inspect their vehicles to ensure that all of the lights are working properly. The Car Care Council recommends checking all vehicle lighting on a monthly basis, including the headlights, turn signals, brake lights, side lights, parking lights, tail lights, backup lights and license plate lights. […]
In the modern automobile and truck, the windshield is part of the vehicle’s safety restraint system (SRS), that also includes air bags and seat belts. If any of these safety components are damaged or are inoperable for any reason, the effectiveness of the entire SRS could be compromised. Your Windshield IQ – What You Don’t Know Could Be Dangerous Most of us would conclude that our windshield was a very useful piece of equipment. It keeps cold and heat; wind and rain; and untold numbers of bugs and other airborne road debris out of our faces. The problem is that consumers have different and more limited expectations from the windshield than the automotive engineer. In other words, we worry about water leaks or ugly “dings” and cracks affecting our car’s value, while the engineer understands how such damage can affect the vehicle’s structural integrity and passenger safety. The fact is that the modern automobile and […]
The windshield is a crucial component in preserving the structural integrity of the vehicle‘s passenger compartment during rollovers. If a damaged windshield is not properly replaced and becomes dislodged from the vehicle during rollover, roof crush resistance may be compromised. After Vehicle Roll Overs Properly Replaced Windshields Are Essential America’s drivers have not been adequately alerted to the increasing frequency of rollover crashes and the danger these rollovers constitute to all vehicle occupants. According to the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHTSA), a total of 10,666 people died in rollover crashes in 2002, a 5 percent increase from the prior year. While rollover crashes account for only 3 percent of all collisions, they result in 31percent of the fatalities. The reason behind this grim record is the high incidence of occupant ejection and head injuries. Many consumers have seen the media reports and believe the rollover danger is confined to certain sports utility vehicles […]