• Four Symptoms of a Sick Cooling System – Be Car Care Aware

    Four Symptoms of a Sick Cooling System

    June 10, 2014

    With the hot summer temperatures on the rise, knowing the symptoms of a sick cooling system are critical to your summer driving plans, since cooling system failure is a leading cause of vehicle breakdowns. The most noticeable symptoms are overheating , leaks , a sweet smell of antifreeze and repeatedly needing to add coolant , according to the Car Care Council.

    Coolant reservoir and level indicator- image “Neglecting your cooling system can result in serious damage and even complete engine failure, which would put a sudden end to your summer road trip,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “If the
    cooling system doesn’t receive regular maintenance, it’s not a question of whether it will fail, but rather when it will fail. Performing regular checkups of belts, hoses, the water pump and fluids will ensure your car remains properly cooled and healthy for many miles down the road.”

    The primary job of the engine’s cooling system is to remove the heat that is generated during the combustion process. The coolant temperature can be well over 200 degrees and that heat has to go somewhere, otherwise engine components are going to start failing. The key parts of the cooling system remove the heat from the engine and automatic transmission and dispel it to the air outside. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine. The coolant absorbs heat and returns it to the radiator where heat is dissipated. The thermostat regulates the coolant temperature to keep it consistent for efficient engine operation.

    A major factor that affects the replacement of cooling system parts is the frequency of regular maintenance, such as coolant changes. Motorists should consult their owner’s manual for specific recommendations about how often to change antifreeze and flush the coolant system. A coolant flush and fill is basic to cooling system maintenance as new antifreeze helps the engine run cooler and a flush removes dirt or sediment that could damage other cooling system parts.

    Low Coolant The coolant level should be checked regularly at the reservoir and motorists are reminded to NEVER open a hot radiator cap. If the coolant is low, a 50/50 mix of approved antifreeze and distilled water should be added.

    Motorists can also do a visual inspection of hoses, belts and the radiator to help identify cooling system problems before they escalate. Radiator leaks, bulging hoses or frayed and cracked belts are clues that the cooling system is in need of maintenance.

    Additional signs of cooling system problems include the vehicle temperature gauge rising near the danger zone, coolant leaks, steam or hissing sounds under the hood or the district smell of an engine that’s running hot.

    The Car Care Council’s free personalized schedule and email reminder service is a simple way to help you take better care of your vehicle this summer and throughout the year. It is an easy-to-use resource designed to help you 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 .

  • Car Dashboard Warning Lights – Understanding What They Mean & How to Act

    Shared from the website Visual.ly

    A car’s dashboard is a communication device that relays important pieces of information to the driver. Utilizing a vast range of sensors and sophisticated on-board equipment, your vehicle is able to self diagnose a wide range of issues relating to its condition and performance. With the advancements in modern day motoring technology, the number of potential problems the dashboard can warn the driver on has risen dramatically. This infographic provides an overview of the most common and universally used car warning lights, what they mean and how the driver should act once illuminated.

    Please note that every car has its own individual set of specific dashboard warning lights and precise information relating to each one can be found in the driver handbook. This allows consumers some ability to self diagnose a wide range of issues relating to its condition and performance.

    For a comprehensive look at most warning lights and what they mean go to the following link on the Visual.ly website: http://visual.ly/car-dashboard-warning-lights-understanding-what-they-mean-how-to-act-they-mean-how-act

  • Five Child Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know In the Car – Fast Lane

    June 17, 2014

    Five Child Vehicle Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know

    5 tips every new parent should know to protect their children in the car

    Statistics show more children are born in the summer than any other time of year. As such, thousands of new parents will soon face important decisions in order to keep their newborn bundles of joy safe and happy. In order to help keep your family safe in the car, we’ve compiled five of the most important safety tips new families need to know.

    1. Use the proper child safety restraint for your child’s age, and make sure it’s installed properly . According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, 7 of 10 car seats are not installed properly . Consult both your vehicle’s owner’s manual and child seat safety instructions to ensure proper fitting and use. Many parents also attempt to use child seats that are far too large for their children. Ensure the seat you’re using not only supports your child’s height and weight, but also conforms to state and federal mandates.Not sure if you’ve picked the right seat or installed it properly? Local events sponsored by Safe Kids Worldwide can verify your car seat installation. To find an event near you, go to: http://www.safekids.org/events/field_type/check-event
    2. Keep harness straps snug, straight, flat, and the harness’s chest clip is level with your child’s armpits. When properly used, a child seat’s harness can distribute forces encountered in a collision at the strongest points of a child’s body. Keeping harness straps straight, flat, and as snug as possible, along with placing the chest clip at the same level as the child’s armpits reduces the chance of injury.
    3. Keep your children in rear-facing child seats as long as possible, or at least through age 2. Rear-facing child seats are preferable due to how they support your child in case of an accident. In a collision, a rear-facing seat supports a child’s head, neck, and torso. A forward-facing seat secures the body, but not the head, meaning a child might be more susceptible to severe neck injuries in a collision. Use a rear-facing seat until your child outgrows the height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer.
    4. Don’t allow kids under 3 years old to eat or drink in the car unless an adult is seated next to them. It’s difficult to keep tabs on kids at all times, especially if they’re seated in rear-facing child seats. As such, it might be possible for kids to choke on food or drink without the driver noticing. Only allow snacking if an adult is seated nearby to monitor and assist in an emergency.
    5. Never leave a child alone in the car, not even for a second. This is especially true in the summer. Research shows if a car is parked in temperatures between 72 and 96 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes only 10 minutes for its interior temperature to jump 19 degrees . After 30 minutes, a car’s interior temperature rises by 34 degrees. Further, a child’s body temperature rises nearly three times quicker than an adult’s . Heatstroke is the #1 cause of non-crash vehicle-related deaths for children under 14.

    Patti Laird is the founder of Safer Kids and Homes, a Miami-based firm that has specialized in babyproofing and child safety for over two decades.