Are Your Brakes Trying to Tell You Something?

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If your brakes are trying to tell you something, you should pay attention. A properly operating brake system helps ensure safe vehicle control and operation and it should be checked immediately if you suspect any problems, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

“While an annual brake inspection is a good way to ensure brake safety, motorists should not ignore signs that their brakes need attention,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Knowing the key warning signs that your brakes may need maintenance will go a long way toward keeping you and others safe on the road.”

The Car Care Council reminds motorists to look for the following warning signs that their brakes need to be inspected:

  • Noise: screeching, grinding or clicking noises when applying the brakes.
  • Pulling: vehicle pulls to one side while braking.
  • Low Pedal: brake pedal nearly touches the floor before engaging.
  • Hard Pedal: must apply extreme pressure to the pedal before brakes engage.
  • Grabbing: brakes grab at the slightest touch to the pedal.
  • Vibration: brake pedal vibrates or pulses, even under normal braking conditions.
  • Light: brake light is illuminated on your vehicle’s dashboard.

Because brakes are a normal wear item on any vehicle, they will eventually need to be replaced. Factors that can affect brake wear include driving habits, operating conditions, vehicle type and the quality of the brake lining material. Be sure to avoid letting brakes get to the ‘metal-to-metal’ point as that can mean expensive rotor or drum replacement.

The Car Care Council offers a free custom service schedule and email reminder service to help car owners remember to have their brakes inspected and take better care of their vehicles. It is an easy-to-use resource designed to help motorists drive smart, save money and make informed decisions.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

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Auto Collision Tips

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An auto collision can be an emotional and exhausting experience. Many motorists drive defensively, take driver education courses and prepare for stressful driving situations, but unfortunately vehicle collisions still occur.

A driver is responsible for knowing what to do if they are involved in a collision. Even the most prepared and competent drivers sometimes find themselves involved in a crash. It does not matter who is at fault, the most important thing to do first is make sure everyone is OK, then seek medical and law enforcement help and know what to do to protect yourself from legal or financial problems down the road.

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Can a cracked windshield be fixed?

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There are two main solutions to dealing with a broken windshield. You can either fill a crack if it’s small enough, or you can replace the whole windshield. The latter is the more expensive option, while the former is for smaller imperfections. It’s like dealing with serious body damage or chipped paint, but your windshield is much more important in terms of your safety than your car’s paint is.

Whether or not a break can be repaired, rather than replacing the glass, depends on a number of factors including type of break, location of break and amount of time the glass has been broken. But what’s important is that it gets fixed soon, cracks and chips can grow longer or wider if not repaired or replaced. Continue reading

Should You Replace or Fix a Cracked Windshield?

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We’ve all been driving along, minding our own business when a rock the size of a melon comes flying like a targeted asteroid and smacks right into your windshield, leaving a chip or crack in your car’s visor and ruining your day.

In reality, that rock probably wasn’t all that big, but driving at speed certainly makes the scene more dramatic. What’s not to be taken lightly is that mark on your windshield. Cracks and chips in your window may not seem like a big deal, but they impact your visibility and are a safety hazard.

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Do I Need to Replace a Damaged Wheel?

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If it’s cosmetic or superficial damage, such as from scraping a curb, the wheel is probably still round and has no bent sections or chunks of metal missing. On the other hand, if the wheel is bent, cracked or structurally weakened from hitting a massive pothole, running over a steep curb or some other mishap, it may need to be replaced, though it could possibly be repaired.

A dented wheel may not be able to maintain a seal with the tire bead, resulting in consistent slow leaks or blowouts, and will be difficult if not impossible to balance so that it doesn’t vibrate at speed. A wheel with structural damage could eventually break apart. When in doubt about the severity of damage, a mechanic experienced in assessing wheel damage should inspect the entire wheel with the tire removed.

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Why Are My Brakes Squealing?

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If you’re lucky, the squealing (or squeaking) noise that your brakes make when you first drive your car in the morning, particularly after rain or snow, is just surface rust being scraped off the rotors by the pads the first few times you apply the brake pedal, or the result of moisture and dirt that collects on the rotors, including from condensation caused by high humidity. If it goes away after a few brake applications, no worries.

If the noise persists most times or every time you apply the brakes or stays on continuously while you’re driving, the cause is more serious — and the fix will be more expensive. Continue reading

Going Green (Part 2)

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A/C Maintenance and Use – The A/C system should be inspected annually, during which a technician checks pressures to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures. Use the window to help keep the car cool.

Vehicle Fuel System – By properly maintaining your vehicle’s fuel system, such as replacing your car’s fuel filter every two years or 24,000 miles and having your fuel injectors flushed our every 30,000 miles, you will not only have a cleaner, ‘greener’ car, but you will save money at the pump.”

Emission systems – Emission systems control a vehicle’s emissions, exhaust and pollutants using an array of sensors, computerized engine controls and the exhaust components. Emission systems substantially reduce harmful gases such as carbon monoxide (CO), unburned hydrocarbons (HC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and prevent harmful gasoline vapors from escaping at the fuel tank. Your car’s emission system keeps the engine running cleanly and efficiently in all sorts of operating conditions, and keeping it in proper working condition can save money and protect the environment. Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve gas mileage by 40%!