Summertime Safety Tips For The Home And On The Road

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Here’s some good info for keeping summer safe and fun.


 

Caution triangle on road behind car(NAPSI)—Fun activities such as barbecues and road trips with family and friends can be more joyful if you heed a few helpful tips to keep yourself safe.

“Families across the nation will enjoy lots of opportunities to have outdoor fun and occasions to visit family and exciting destinations this summer,” says Paul Quinn, assistant vice president for Farmers Insurance. “Whatever their plans, staying safe, whether at home or on the road, will help keep the experiences and memories happy ones.”

For those planning to hit the road:

• Check belts, fluids and brakes—Before leaving your garage or driveway, be sure to check all the belts for wear and tear. These belts are crucial components of your vehicle, controlling your air-conditioning compressor, power steering pump, alternator and water pump. It is also important to make sure to check your vehicle’s fluids. These include coolant, oil and even the windshield washer fluid; you don’t want to be empty when you go through a swarm of bugs on the highway. Replacing any worn belts and replenishing fluids will help improve your chances of reaching your destination without unexpected problems. Also, make sure to check your car’s brakes as they are one of the most essential safety mechanisms on your vehicle. Grinding, pulling, brake dust and squeaking are just a few signs that your brakes and brake pads may need to be checked or replaced.

• Share the driving—You don’t have to do all the driving yourself. In fact, you may be lucky enough to be traveling with an eager teenager with a valid permit. Letting them drive along the open highway could be a great opportunity for adults to observe their driving habits firsthand and provide immediate feedback, if warranted. It could also be a great confidence builder for nervous teens. Remember that when it’s your turn to drive, they are observing you, so be a good mentor.

• Avoid potholes—No one likes driving over potholes, yet it happens quite often. Frequently, we notice them too late because we are driving close to the vehicle ahead of us. Leaving a bit more space between your car and the one ahead will help avoid those uncomfortable hops and bounces while keeping yourself and your passengers safe. If you hit a significantly large pothole, make sure to get your vehicle’s alignment checked as it can negatively affect steering and suspension.

• In case of a roadside emergency—Sometimes, in spite of all the planning and preparation, something will happen to cause you to pull to the side of the road. Whether it’s a flat tire or a flashing check engine light, getting off the road safely is just the first step. Once you’re off the road, make sure others know you’re not there just to take a nap—use your hazard lights, flares and other roadside indicators to alert other drivers you may need assistance. Lifting the hood of your car, whether there’s trouble with your engine or not, is a good idea to help gain attention from fellow motorists or roadside assistance technicians. A few important items to have in the car include, but are not limited to, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, extra water and food, and a properly inflated spare tire.

Keeping safe at home:

• BBQs and other outdoor flames—Whether it’s the backyard BBQ or citronella candles to keep pesky bugs at bay, summer and controlled flames seem to go hand in hand. Yet few homeowners can remember where their fire extinguishers are or whether they are still in good working condition. Make it a habit to pull out the fire extinguisher every time you barbecue. If you still don’t have one, be sure to get one right away. It is recommended that fire extinguishers be checked at least once a month and undergo maintenance by a professional once a year.

• Prepare for severe weather—While we all look forward to enjoying summer weather, severe patterns can still arise during warmer weather months. Tornadoes, hurricanes, strong winds and flooding often occur during this time. It’s important to prepare now, in case these natural occurrences happen to you. Be sure to restock your emergency kit with fresh supplies (or start one if you don’t have one). Know where to go in an emergency—basement, storm shelter and so on. Before a storm hits, be sure to bring in or secure anything you keep outside; lawn chairs or umbrellas can become projectiles against your home.

• Take care of the “honey-dos”—There are always home projects, big and small, that need attention. An important outdoor project is to clean the rain gutters. Not only will it help during summer rains, it will also prevent any stray embers from igniting decaying foliage in your gutters. A helpful indoor project is to replace the hoses connected to your washing machine. Every year, thousands of hoses burst unexpectedly, cause for an unhappy family disruption. You can avoid these types of situations by proactively attending to household needs and upkeep.

As a national insurer that believes in helping consumers get smarter about insurance and risk management, Farmers wants consumers across the country to know there are many things they can do to keep their family and friends safe throughout the summer season. Additional tips and consumer-friendly insights are available at www.farmers.com/ inner-circle.

For more information about Farmers, visit www.farmers.com orwww.Facebook.com/FarmersInsurance.

Slow Down To Get Around Trash Trucks

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(NAPSI)—Road accidents caused by distracted or speeding drivers are a huge risk for the more than 135,000 men and women of the waste and recycling industry who are out in force each day keeping our communities clean and healthy-but you can be part of the solution.

Just as most drivers tend to drive carefully when they see a school bus, in many places, it’s now required to give trash collection vehicles the courtesy of slowing down when trying to get around them.

The Problem

Some drivers try to speed up to avoid garbage trucks. Others don’t even realize one is nearby, since they’re such familiar presences. Because of such roadway dangers, trash collection is one of the country’s most dangerous professions.

What’s Being Done

To help, the National Waste & Recycling Association’s (NW&RA’s) “Slow Down to Get Around” campaign urges drivers to be more careful around solid waste collection vehicles.

“It’s critically important for everyone’s safety to slow down to get around garbage trucks,” said Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of NW&RA, which represents the waste and recycling companies in the U.S. “It only takes one smart and cautious driver to set an example for the rest of the cars on the road.”

Many people are asking their community leaders about legislation and regulations aimed at keeping trash collectors and drivers safer on the roads. Several states have recently passed such laws.

Learn More

For more information, see http://beginwiththebin.org/slowdown.

Potholes Can Be A Menace To Shocks And Struts

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Muddy Pot Hole.(NAPSI)—The most enduring memory of the winter of 2014 just might be the millions of potholes that continue to dish out punishment to drivers and passengers across the U.S. and Canada. But abominable road conditions can cause more than just a bone-rattling ride; they can also damage important steering and suspension components, including shock absorbers and struts.

“Many drivers understand that their vehicles have taken a severe beating over the past several months, but they might not be able to detect some damage without having a professional technician inspect their steering and suspension system,” said Bill Dennie, director of ride control channel management for the Monroe® brand of shock absorbers and struts. “Because this damage can occur over a period of months rather than days, the driver might not notice how much worse his or her vehicle handles today as compared to last fall.”

Although potholes are a year-round issue in many regions, they are most prevalent during and immediately following winter due to repeated freeze-thaw cycles. By almost any measure, however, 2014 has been unusually painful and expensive for road repair crews and consumers.

Shocks and struts play important roles in safe driving by helping to deliver satisfactory steering, stopping and stability. Their damping action helps maintain movement of the vehicle’s suspension within safe limits. This, in turn, helps the brakes do their job by maintaining tire traction and distributing the vehicle’s weight across all four wheels. Shocks and struts also limit the transfer of vehicle weight from front to back when braking, and from side to side around turns. And properly functioning shocks and struts help protect tires from abnormal wear.

“Automotive repair shops have reported dramatic increases in tire and wheel damage as a result of potholes and other hazards related to winter weather. Your shocks, struts and other chassis components have faced the same abuse and in some cases might have experienced physical damage or accelerated wear,” Dennie said. “It’s a good idea to ask a service provider to inspect your steering and suspension system before making any road trips.”

To learn more about how shocks and struts contribute to driving safety, visitwww.monroe.com or contact your automotive service provider.

And remember, here in the Pinellas County area we can help you with any shocks and struts problems you have, www.NewTirePrice.com: Rick Stroud Auto, Inc..

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

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(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.

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