You've laundered all your bedding, wiped down your windows and removed lint from your dryer hose. But have you taken a peek in your garage? There's something in there you may have forgotten to add to your spring cleaning checklist... your car!
Warmer weather and the prospect of summer road trips are certainly reasons to get your vehicle in good working order. People are also keeping their cars longer (the average is now 11 years), so it's more important than ever to take care of all your regular maintenance needs to extend the life of your vehicle. But if, after all that hard work, you still end up needing a new or pre-owned car, there are some new ways to "spring clean" the car buying process.
Take "DIY" from the home to the garage
Due to the sluggish economy, more people are choosing to change oil, replace filters and batteries and add antifreeze themselves. This includes a large number of women. A survey by CTEK identified that while only 27 percent of females had changed their car battery themselves, 61 percent said they would attempt a change if required. This shouldn't be too surprising. In 2012, women held more drivers' licenses than men for the first time in U.S. history. They're also becoming the primary person in U.S. households to handle vehicle service and repairs.
Look for more ways to increase fuel efficiency
Our economy continues to drive people to find even more ways to increase fuel efficiency. Checking your tires' tread depth and keeping them inflated properly is already on most drivers' checklists, but consider using nitrogen air fills. Jody uses nitrogen, and it helps extend her tire pressure between refills. You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires are also a serious safety hazard and can increase the risk of a blow out, especially in warmer temperatures. Keep an eye open for uneven wear, which can reflect an alignment or shock issue that can also impact fuel economy.
Tire selection can also affect not only fuel economy, but also traction, which is important during the spring showers. Jody suggests checking out the Goodyear Assurance family of tires. Each tire in the Goodyear Assurance family of tires offers confident all-season traction plus a relevant benefit that enhances the driving experience for consumers, offering refined handling and comfort, ultra traction and fuel efficiency. For more information on the Assurance line of tires, visit www.goodyear.com.
Motor Oil Matters
In the effort to save money, consumers sometimes delay necessary maintenance and look for cheaper alternatives to automotive maintenance costs. This should never be done when it comes to your oil changes. Motor oil is the lifeblood of an engine and we’re supposed to follow the oil change recommendations in our owner’s manual. But owners today need to be aware that some service locations offer discounted motor oil specials that are far from special to capitalize on value seekers. It’s important to read the fine print when it comes to these discount coupon specials…a promise of “up to five quarts conventional or standard oil” doesn’t really tell you much about the quality of the oil being installed.
In order to make sure that car and truck owners get the high-quality oil they expect when they pull into a service location The American Petroleum Institute has introduced a new program, Motor Oil Matters or “MOM.” MOM is dedicated to helping consumers with the oil change process. This includes reminding them to follow owner’s manual recommendations, to pay attention to the change-oil message on the dash, and to remember to ask for a receipt that lists the brand, viscosity grade and performance level of the oil installed. Before heading into the shop, it’s important to know the right questions to ask before the oil is changed. To help consumers know what questions to ask, MOM has put together a checklist that covers all bases to help make sure you’re confident when going into a shop. Access the checklist at www.motoroilmatters.org or check them out on Facebook and Twitter at @motoroilmatters.
Check out what's new in auto apps
Despite the controversies behind texting and driving, drivers are demanding more mobile connectivity in their cars along with more apps. This includes mobile apps for working in your car, setting appointments for service, viewing repairs in progress, staying connected to your social networks, streaming entertainment in your car and even for buying cars.
There are several apps that can help ease the car buying process, but Jody has a favorite that can provide shoppers with the potential to save thousands on their next vehicle and create a hassle-free car-buying experience. As the first mobile application of its kind, SNAFU Scan gives used-car buyers the upper hand by providing a VIN scanner that checks for factory recalls and calculates dealer auction values; arming buyers with all the facts to make a smart and safe purchase. Now you're really in the driver's seat! For more information, visit, www.snafuscan.com.