Free Car Care Guide For Motorists


Car maintenance is what will save you money in the long run and provide you a vehicle that will get you where you need to go.

We are all about car maintenance here at Rick Stroud Tire and Auto Service.

If you ever have questions here in the St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park area, come on by!

(NAPSI)—When it comes to keeping your car running smoothly, one of the most important pieces of equipment may not be under the hood but in the glove compartment.

Free Auto Guide

That’s because that’s the place to put the totally redesigned “Car Care Guide” from the nonprofit Car Care Council. The 80-page guide uses easy-to-understand, everyday language rather than technical automotive jargon and covers the most common preventive maintenance occasions and procedures that should be performed to keep cars safe, dependable and efficient. It also includes descriptions of major vehicle systems and parts, and a list of questions to ask about maintenance or repair procedures. A car care checklist reminds motorists what vehicle systems need to be maintained and when service should be performed.

Twenty additional pages provide new information on finding an automotive repair shop, alternative fuels, understanding the warranty, vehicle telematics, and careers in the auto care industry, and include an expanded environmental awareness section.

Expert Advice

“Because properly maintained vehicles perform more safely and dependably for drivers and their families, the Car Care Council is committed to providing useful information and tools for motorists, like the newly updated, easy-to-follow ‘Car Care Guide,’ to help take the mystery out of auto service and repair,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

How To Get The Information

Available in English and Spanish, individual copies of the new guide can be ordered, free, from . For more information, visit or follow the Car Care Council on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest


Teens And Tires: What They Don’t Know Can Hurt Them


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Here’s a good article about the highlights the need to teach your teens about tire safety and the need to check those round rubber things on their vehicles regularly.

Remember, if you or your teens are concerned or need advice about your tires you can always swing by the shop and we’ll double check things for you.

Young woman and technician looking at tire on auto.

Tire Check

(NAPSI)—Nearly 300,000 car crashes involving inexperienced drivers can be prevented each year with better driver’s education, recent research shows. Teenagers often lack the essential knowledge and skills that can help keep them safe on the roads.

The Problem

Of the 2.2 million vehicle accidents per year, 12 percent are among inexperienced drivers and involve tire-related issues such as insufficient tire tread or improperly inflated tires, a number that is nearly three times higher than with experienced drivers. That’s an accident every two minutes.

According to the survey commissioned by Michelin and the nonprofit FIA, the governing body for world motor sport, less than half of teens and their parents believe their driver’s education program completely prepared the teens to drive. Only 16 states require tire safety information as part of driver’s education, while only seven include tire safety information and require classroom time devoted to vehicle maintenance and tire safety.

Perhaps as a result, 27 percent of teens never check the condition of their tires; less than half check their tires monthly (the recommended frequency); and nearly three-quarters said their parents taught them about tire maintenance, although only around a third of parents consider themselves to be extremely knowledgeable about tire maintenance.

A Solution

Young drivers can take two easy, quick steps to help them avoid an accident. Tires are the only parts of a car that touch the road, so it makes sense that driving safety begins with tire maintenance.

That’s why you should check the tread by putting a penny in it upside down. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, the tires are too worn. Next, check the tire pressure with a gauge when they’re cold and be sure they’re inflated to the number posted inside the car door.

To address the safety gap, the FIA and Michelin North America launched Beyond the Driving Test, to raise awareness of tire maintenance and safety. They’re mobilizing parental involvement, encouraging peer education and working to update Department of Motor Vehicles’ education curricula. To those ends, they created a downloadable glove box guide with important tips and a new series featuring popular teen YouTube stars sharing tire safety tutorials. They’re also calling for all 50 states to include tire safety information in their official driver’s education materials by the year 2020.

Learn More

For further facts about the research findings, as well as to access educational resources, visit

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 inner-circle.

For more information about Farmers, visit

Slow Down To Get Around Trash Trucks


(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

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, 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, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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