Avoiding Air Bag Fraud

air bags(NAPSI)—The next time you’re thinking of buying a used car, remember, what you don’t see can hurt you.

We’re talking about air bags. Be sure they’re present and working properly.

As many as 250,000 counterfeit air bags may have been used to replace deployed ones, according to the federal government. But that’s not all.

Air bag fraud also can involve:

• Stuffing things in the air bag compartment (newspaper, packing peanuts)

• Air bags found in junkyards

• Stolen air bags

• No air bags at all.

What To Do

Start by simply turning the ignition. If the air bag indicator doesn’t come on at all or stays on, there may be a problem.

Also, check Carfax for reported accidents and air bag deployments, and get a mechanic’s inspection.

Learn More

For further facts and reports, visit www.carfax.com.

You Can Learn A Lot By Listening To Your Car

Image(NAPSI)—Drivers who listen closely will find that their car is actually communicating with them by using a language all its own.

Sounds such as squealing, thumping, hissing and grinding are all signs that your vehicle may be trying to tell you something.

That’s the word from the experts at the Car Care Council. While many motorists are familiar with noises their vehicles make on a daily basis, any noise that is new, different or suspicious may indicate a problem.

For example, a high-pitched squeal that stops when pressing on the brake pedal is a sign that a vehicle’s brakes should be inspected. The same goes for grinding that could be the result of worn brake pads that should be replaced.

Thumping that increases and decreases with the speed of the vehicle could mean a trip to your local service center. The diagnosis may be a tire problem like a bubble in the sidewall or torn rubber that could lead to a blowout.

Under The Hood As Well

Sounds under the hood can also indicate that your vehicle is in need of attention. Hissing may be caused by a disconnected or cracked vacuum hose. A squealing noise while revving the engine could be due to a slipping drive belt. Inspection and repair will allow your vehicle to operate more safely and efficiently.

“It’s important for car owners to listen and act accordingly when their vehicle speaks up,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “By checking out what your vehicle is saying, you can take care of the problem now and avoid a breakdown or more costly repairs later.

“The number of sounds a vehicle may make is endless, so when your car is trying to tell you something, it’s important to be alert, listen carefully and take action,” added White.

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 more information, visit www.carcare.org.

If you are unsure of what you are hearing you can always come by the shop: Rick Stroud Auto Inc | NewTirePrice.com

Buyer Beware: Unsafe Used Tires For Sale

Used Tire Sign(NAPSI)—Whenever you hit the road, it’s your car’s tires that hit it first, so it’s important they be in good shape.

The Problem

Unfortunately, bald, damaged, unsafe used tires are available for sale in every state. New tires must meet stringent federal safety standards to be sold in theU.S. In fact, U.S. tire testing standards are the toughest in the world. Worn-out tires that have been removed from service can be resold as “used,” however, with virtually no restrictions.

A Solution

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the national trade organization for tire manufacturers, suggests there should be a law against that.

“We are working to educate policymakers and consumers about the dangers of unsafe used tires and will advocate state laws to prohibit the sale of used tires with conditions that pose a significant motorist safety risk,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president. “Consumers may think used tires are a bargain, but saving a few dollars isn’t worth the risk if your choice includes a worn-out or damaged tire.”

To demonstrate the problem, RMA and its members purchased several examples of unsafe used tires from used-tire stores. Each tire exhibited one or more conditions that are clearly unsafe: worn-out, visible damage to the tread or other portions of a tire, or being improperly repaired.

What To Watch Out For

Tires worn to 232 of an inch are considered bald and are dangerous. Such tires no longer provide sufficient grip on the road, particularly under wet conditions. Tires with damage exposing steel belts or other internal components threaten a tire’s structural integrity. Improperly repaired tires can suffer loss of inflation pressure or have hidden damage that may contribute to tire failure.

“Any used tire is a risky proposition since it’s impossible to know the service history of a tire used by someone else,” Zielinski advised.

Learn More

For further facts and tips on tire safety, visit www.rma.org.

Let us get you a great price on New Tires in Pinellas Park and Saint Petersburg, Florida: www.NewTirePrice.com.

Drive On: Tips To Make Your Vehicle Road Trip Ready

The joys of a road trip

The joys of a road trip

(NAPSI)—It’s summertime and the driving is easy. At least it should be, and fun too, especially with millions of vacation-hungry drivers preparing for the great American getaway, the annual summer road trip.

Road warriors be warned, though: Hitting the highway for a long haul could turn fun into glum. Typical scenarios include the kids getting bored and antsy (“Are we there yet?” sound familiar?), the car/van/SUV is not exactly comfy (too hot, rough ride, etc.), you’re burning through fuel faster than your bank account can keep up, and/or you’re simply directionally challenged (“Uh, honey, are we supposed to be in Texas?”).

So before you round up the family and friends and head toward the national park, theme park or a relative’s house a few states away, best to make sure your vehicle’s really ready to roll. “You want to first make a checklist of the essentials,” says Peter MacGillivray, vice president of events and communication for the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), an automotive trade organization with 6,500-plus member companies.

“The list should include things like getting your air conditioner serviced, checking the battery for corrosion, testing wiper blades (it might be time to change them), making sure the tires are properly inflated and aligned correctly, inspecting hoses and belts for cracks, and replacing all fluids: oil, transmission, brake, power steering, coolant, etc. That’s a good start.”

The finishing touch, MacGillivray says, is to look into the bevy of cool automotive aftermarket products designed to enhance the road trip ride and the daily drive. “SEMA-member companies have been making innovative appearance, performance, comfort, convenience, fuel-saving and technology products for passenger and recreational vehicles for more than 50 years.”

Consumers can find these products and more at www.enjoythedrive.com.

For a summer road trip, MacGillivray offered some suggestions:

• Beat the heat: There are tons of products designed to keep drivers cool and comfortable for the long, hot ride. They include window tinting and seat coolers. There’s even an app to tell you which side of the car the sun will be shining on during your vacation journey.

• Getting there: There’s nothing worse than being lost, especially after a long day’s drive with impatient kids about to explode. Be prepared with a GPS-equipped smartphone, along with a docking station and Bluetooth devices to ensure you’re able to use it hands-free.

• Fuel for thought: With a tank of gas costing as much as a motel room, any way to squeeze more miles out per gallon is a welcome relief. An easy and inexpensive way to improve your gas mileage is by replacing your old paper/cotton air filter with a new performance-type air filter. Another product that may help to save on fuel costs is “low roll resistance” tires.

• Creature comforts: Keep your passengers happy—especially the young and restless ones—with boredom—controlling technology devices such as TV screens mounted in the seats and/or dash, good for hours of video game playing and movie-watching fun.

“If you’re going to be on the road a good amount of time, products like these can really make a difference,” says MacGillivray. “They can be found almost everywhere, from specialty shops to auto retailers to big box stores. And like everything else, they are also sold online.”

Simple Steps To Save Gas Without Driving Less


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These are some great tips to save fuel. Here at Rick Stroud Auto, Inc, we can help with a lot of these. The truth is, regular maintenance will aid in keeping the fuel costs down and will extend the life of your auto.

Fuel Guage(NAPSI)—Just because gas prices go up, that doesn’t mean your driving has to go down.

You can’t control the price of gas but you can control how much you use with some simple and inexpensive vehicle maintenance.

Save Gas And Cash

Consider these simple steps to save gas without driving less:

• Keep your car properly tuned to improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.

• Keep tires properly inflated and improve gas mileage by 3 percent.

• Replace dirty or clogged air filters on older vehicles to improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.

• Change oil regularly and gain another mile per gallon.

• Check the gas cap. Damaged, loose or missing gas caps let the gas just vaporize into the air.

• Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 mph.

• Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Warming up the vehicle for one or two minutes is sufficient.

• Avoid quick starts and stops. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city.

• Consolidate trips. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much gas as one longer multipurpose trip.

• Don’t haul unneeded items in the trunk. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces fuel economy by up to 2 percent.

“Some motorists think they are saving money when they put off needed vehicle maintenance,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “What they don’t realize is that neglecting routine maintenance can end up costing a lot more. Keeping your car running efficiently and modifying your driving behavior is the best way to improve your vehicle’s fuel economy and keep more money in your pocket. Fuel consumption is directly related to vehicle care and driver behavior and both can have a significant impact on how much motorists pay at the pump.”

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.

Learn More

For a free copy of the council’s “Car Care Guide” or for further information, visit www.carcare.org.

Everything Gets Old-Even Your Shocks

Car shocks.(NAPSI)—Look around your home and you’ll probably see a few important items you are planning to replace—a tattered chair, those old running shoes,the living room wallpaper.

There are also important parts on your vehicle that need to be replaced when they get old—including your shock absorbers and struts. But replacing them is more than just a matter of keeping your vehicle fresh—it can also help keep you and your family safe.

“Shocks and struts are hidden behind the wheels, so their condition isn’t as easy to see, and drivers tend to miss the gradual loss of steering, stopping and stability that occurs as they wear out,” says Carri Irby, brand manager for Monroe shocks and struts manufacturer Tenneco Inc. “So it’s important to have the vehicle’s ride control system inspected at least once a year and to replace worn shocks and struts at 50,000 miles.” (Actual mileage may vary depending on driver ability, vehicle type and driving and road conditions, according to Irby.)

Shocks and struts are part of a system of interrelated under-car components known as the “Safety Triangle.” Other elements of this system are the tires, brakes and chassis parts, such as ball joints and tie rod ends. When any of these parts is worn, the entire system can be compromised, leading to a loss of steering precision, stopping performance and overall vehicle stability in a variety of driving situations.

To reinforce this important safety message, the Monroe brand recently launched an extensive North American marketing campaign titled “Everything Gets Old. Even Your Shocks.” The campaign contrasts these vital but often overlooked vehicle components with worn everyday items that most consumers replace on a more frequent basis—shoes, toothbrushes, batteries, and even tires.

“It’s vital to understand that while you might not be able to see them without getting down on your hands and knees, shocks and struts take an incredible beating and they do get old,” said Irby. “Protect your safety by asking your vehicle service provider for a ride control inspection and, if your shocks and struts are worn out, have them replaced.”

And yes, we do shocks at the shop as well, www.NewTirePrice.com.

Avoid Odometer Fraud



(NAPSI)—Smart used car shoppers know they’re better able to get a car that can take them far if they’re not misled about mileage.

According to the Consumer Federation of America, one in 10 used cars on the market has had its odometer rolled back. Fortunately, there are five ways you can tell if the car you’re considering is among them:

1. Check the vehicle’s title and compare the mileage listed on the title with the car’s odometer.

2. Compare the odometer’s mileage with mileage recorded on maintenance and inspection documents.

3. If the vehicle has a traditional mechanical odometer, check that the numbers are aligned correctly.

4. Examine the tires. The car should have its original tires if the odometer reads 20,000 miles or less.

5. Get a free Odometer Check at www.carfax.com/odo. Carfax provides trusted information that helps millions buy and sell cars with confidence.

More advice from us: Swing it by the shop

If you reside in Pinellas County / St. Petersburg and have a question about an auto you are considering buying, you can always bring it by the shop and let us give it an examination: www.NewTirePrice.com.

E15 Fuel: More Harm Than Good?


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Here’s an interesting article from the president of AAA:

by Robert L. Darbelnet, AAA President & CEO
Gas Pumps

Gas Pumps

(NAPSI)—To keep more American motorists on the road to safety and savings, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and gasoline retailers should suspend the sale of E15 gasoline until more is done to protect consumers from the potential for costly auto damage and voided warranties.

The Problem

Recent research raises serious concerns that E15, a fuel blend consisting of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, could cause accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel system damage and other problems such as false “check engine” lights. This potential damage could result in costly repairs for unsuspecting consumers.

Nearly all the gasoline sold in the United States today is E10, which contains up to 10 percent ethanol, primarily produced from corn. While AAA believes ethanol-blended fuels can save Americans money and reduce the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels, sufficient evidence has not been found to show E15 is safe for most vehicles. In fact, the Renewable Fuels Association warned retailers that some underground storage tank systems exhibited reduced levels of safety and performance when exposed to E15.

What’s more, many automakers say they may void warranties for anyone using E15. That’s understandable, since most cars were never designed for E15. Unless you drive a Porsche or a brand-new car, you could be out of luck when it comes to E15-and you might not even know you’re using it. A recent survey by AAA found an overwhelming 95 percent of consumers surveyed have not even heard of E15.

Some Answers

Fortunately, there may be a solution: The EPA, fuel producers and automakers can collectively develop a long-term plan that promotes public education, while implementing improved labeling and warnings at the pump.

Meanwhile, AAA urges consumers to carefully read pump labels and follow the recommendations of manufacturers to protect themselves from voided warranties or potential damage.

E15 is not yet ready for public consumption and government regulators should suspend sales until consumers are better informed and protected.

• As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. More at www.AAA.com.

• First published in The Hill.

Getting The Right Price When You Sell Your Car

best price for your auto.(NAPSI)—Selling your car yourself may be easier-and more financially rewarding-than you realize. Here are some tips:

• Come Clean. Start by throwing away all trash and removing all personal items from the vehicle. Some believe that having the car detailed before you list it is an investment that can pay off at sale time.

• Check it Out. Have a trusted mechanic inspect your car. [This is where we come in here in the Pinellas County area. www.NewTirePrice.com ] The mechanic’s analysis and feedback can help you develop a negotiating strategy, particularly if there are parts of the car in need of repair.

• The Right Price. Setting the right price for your car is key. Set it too high and you waste time-too low and you lose money. Fortunately, you can refer to the Kelly Blue Book to determine the car’s value.

Sellers can also purchase the Carfax “Unlimited For Sale By Owner” package. It provides interested buyers with the detailed Carfax history of your vehicle.

To learn more, visit www.carfax.com.

Tips On Caring For Your Battery This Winter


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It’s that time of year again. The weather is changing and that does put stress upon your batteries. Thankfully, here in Florida, it’s not as much stress as say, Maine, but than Maine doesn’t have to deal the the heat of summer which is a issue for us down where.

None-the-less, here’s an article that I think we all can benefit from:

(NAPSI)—Cold weather affects a car’s battery more than any other engine component. Filled with fluid containing mostly water, batteries are susceptible to freezing.

Additionally, cold weather thickens engine oil, forcing the battery to work harder when starting the car. A vehicle’s battery loses 33 percent of its power when the temperature dips below freezing and more than 50 percent of its power when the temperature falls below zero.

Plus, the more electrical devices in the car—such as electronic fuel injection systems, electric windows, sunroofs and audio systems—the more power the battery should have. If the car is exposed to extreme cold, the best guarantee against failure is a battery with a high level of cold cranking amps, at least 550, depending on the type of engine in your vehicle.

“Motorists should have their battery checked when they learn of an incoming wave of cold weather,” Interstate Batteries Technical Services Manager Gale Kimbrough said. “A fully charged battery is the best defense against cold weather and vehicle nonstarts. In cold weather, engines require more cranking amps and batteries are less efficient, reducing their charge acceptance and ability to start an engine.”

To help, the experts at Interstate Batteries recommend the following:

• Have the vehicle’s starting and charging system tested every three months or every oil change.

• Use a battery charger to maintain charge levels and keep the battery in good condition. If the battery is more than three years old, have it tested to ensure it can survive the coldest winter months.

• Have the battery tested before taking a long trip or after it has been recharged.

• Inspect the battery cables, posts and fasteners. Make sure the cables are in good shape and are secured firmly to the battery.

• Clean the battery terminals with a wire brush or battery cleaner spray.

• Choose the appropriate battery for the vehicle. It should be the correct size and voltage, especially for a vehicle that experiences extremely harsh winter conditions.

• When possible, keep the vehicle in a garage overnight, especially in areas with extremely harsh winter conditions.

• Avoid damage to the battery and keep connections from loosening with a snug-fitting battery in the battery tray.

• If the battery is not a sealed model, check the fluid levels, using distilled water to fill any cells that appear low.

• Always wear protective eyewear; remove all jewelry and wear long sleeves to protect skin from an explosion of battery acid.

In just 30 seconds, Interstate All Battery Center® locations can provide motorists with a free printout analysis of their vehicle battery condition. In addition to automobile batteries, Interstate All Battery Center offers an Outrageously Dependable® line of more than 16,000 different portable power products. For information, go to www.interstatebatteries.com.


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