Money

How NOT To Save Money

It doesn’t take an accountant to recognize that it costs more money to operate a vehicle than it did a few years ago. This may cause some motorists to try saving a few dollars by using cheap gas delaying needed maintenance. “That’s a classic case of false economy,” says Rich White, of the Car Care Council, “and it’s no surprise that these ‘money-saving’ measures can cost big money in the long run.”

Ease Gas Pump Pains by Replacing Old Habits with New Ones

Gas pump prices remain on their roller-coaster ride, with more ups than downs. They’re hard on the budget and beyond consumers’ control. With some changes in our daily habits, however, we can compensate, at least partially, for rising fuel costs. Adhering to your errand list, thereby eliminating an extra trip to the store for a forgotten item, saves miles and dollars. (U.S. Department of Transportation reports 63% of all trips are 5 miles or less)

Faith in Your Tech = Faith in Your Vehicle

“I feel like such a fool,” Sandra complained. “All I did was take my car in for an oil change and wound up paying for oil, an oil filter and an air filter. Plus, because he called to tell me my fan belt was shot, I had to get one of those installed.

“How am I supposed to know if the old one really was in bad shape? How am I supposed to know if they took advantage of me?”

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.

Cold Fact About A/C Refrigerant

How did we ever get along without air conditioning in our cars? It's a feature we take for granted until, suddenly, it's blowing hot air.

In the past few years, many owners have discovered that fixing an inoperative air conditioner can cost a few hundred dollars or more, depending upon the make and model of vehicle. The reason is that the old standby R-12 refrigerant, trade named DuPont Freon, has been replaced by R-134a. Touted as being environmentally safer than its predecessor, R-134a has been standard since 1994.

Citizens and Vehicles, Getting Older, Working Harder

Thanks in part to advancements in health care, our 65 and over population, presently at 13% of the total, will be 20% by 2030 (source Washington Post). Technology has worked wonders in extending the life of our vehicles, too. Median car life has nearly doubled to more than 9 years. “As a result of technology the quarter million mile vehicle no long is a miracle,” says Rich White of the Car Care Council. Engines and drive trains are superbly refined, as are fuels and lubricants. Equipment developments and the personnel training to go along with them have added to this formula for long life.

Can you See, Steer, and Stop? Check Lanes Raise the Question

The car in front of you has no brake light and an approaching vehicle has only one headlight. Have you ever considered how many vehicles surrounding you are in less than in tip-top condition? The number is astounding, according to results of National Car Care Month vehicle check lanes. In fact, less than one out of four get a clean bill of health.

Botox for Your Car

America’s growing obsession with younger looking faces evidenced by the Botox craze, is inspiring car owners to prolong the appearance of their automobiles as well. Four billion dollars were spent last year in the United States on enhancements to keep the interior and exterior of vehicles looking like new, according to the Car Care Council.

“As consumers spend more time in their vehicles and drive more miles each year, they are placing more importance on comfort, luxury and appearance,” said Rich White, spokesperson for the council.

"Bells & Whistles" Enhance Your Bland Vehicle

As they make the rounds to select their new vehicle, many shoppers recoil at sticker prices. With cars now averaging well above $20,000, some buyers reevaluate their needs and desires, reluctantly settling for the no-frills, "plain vanilla" model. With time, however, these same motorists may find themselves with a few extra dollars they can invest in their vehicle. Is it time to buy another car, even though there still are payments to make? The Car Care Council says instead of replacing your vehicle, consider repairing and upgrading what you already have.

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?

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