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.

Kids’ Road To Safety: Child Safety Seats



(NAPSI)—Hundreds of young lives can be saved annually if parents understand how to use child vehicle restraints properly.

To help, Mitsubishi funds a nonprofit called Kids Safety First that offers free child safety seat inspections at select Mitsubishi Motors’ dealerships and provides free educational materials. The organization gives families hands-on instruction from certified child passenger safety technicians on how to select, install and use child restraint systems. Certified technicians have been through extensive training with a national standardized course and have field experience.

It’s vital for parents to learn how to install and use child safety seats correctly.

The all-volunteer grassroots organization also provides free automotive child safety materials to police, fire and rescue departments, hospitals, schools and prenatal centers.

“Your children rely on you to help keep them safe,” explains Jorgen Weterrings of Kids Safety First. “We created the program because of our own experiences that child safety seats and booster seats were difficult to select and even more difficult to install correctly. Providing child safety seat inspections is a critical resource for parents and caregivers.”

Dorel Juvenile Group, the world’s largest car seat manufacturer, has joined the effort by donating over $55,000 in car seats over the past three years.

For safety tips and a list of participating dealerships, visitwww.kidssafetyfirst.org. For other safety advice, follow Jorgen Weterrings and Kids Safety First on Facebook.

Signs you need to change your brakes


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Auto Brake(NAPSI)—If you’re like most motorists, you’re concerned about safety. In fact, research shows that vehicle safety is a top motivator for most motorists when it comes to vehicle maintenance and the brake system is at the top of the vehicle safety checklist.

“Brakes are a normal wear item for any car and eventually they’re going to need to be replaced for both performance and safety reasons,” explained Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A properly operating brake system helps ensure safe vehicle operation and control under a variety of conditions. However, many motorists are unaware of the signs and symptoms that their brake system may need maintenance or repair.”

What To Look For

It’s important to be alert and recognize the warning signs of brake trouble. If your car is pulling to the left or right, or if you hear odd noises when you apply the brakes, you should inspect your brakes. Other warning signs include an illuminated brake warning light, brake grabbing, low pedal feel, vibration, hard pedal feel and squealing.

What To Do

For routine maintenance, check your vehicle’s braking system at least once a year. A thorough inspection should include brake lining wear, brake fluid level, rotor thickness, condition of hoses and brake lines, brake and dash warning lights, as well as taking the car for a test-drive to detect other potential brake system problems.

What Not To Do

Several factors that affect brake wear include driving habits, operating conditions, vehicle type and the quality of the brake lining material.

“Never put off routine brake inspections or any needed repair, such as letting the brakes get to the ‘metal-to-metal’ point, which can be potentially dangerous and lead to a more costly repair bill,” White added. “If you haven’t checked your brakes in the past year, it’s a great time to ‘give your car a brake’ and make sure it’s in safe working condition.”

The Car Care Council’s “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promotes the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers.

Where To Learn More

For a “Car Care Guide” or more information, visit www.carcare.org.

Dash Cam DailyRoads Voyager App


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With all the video dash cams coming out of Russia and China and other nations because insurance fraud is so high, I thought I would try a dash cam app on my Android Samsung Galaxy S3.

After all here, in the St Petersburg / Pinellas Park area we have seen in the news in the last year several insurance fraud schemes by people forcing rear end collisions.

So I did a search for dash cam in the Google Play market place and grabbed the top rated app, DailyRoads Voyager.

It is a nicely laid out app and records beautifully. Uses GPS to record position and speed and comes with a host of recording settings.

Got to say it’s an easy to use product in that it works right out of the virtual box.

You need to take time to figure out how to use it however, and I ran into a couple of problems right away because I didn’t want to leave my display running. So in my first use of it, utilizing the default settings, I clicked on the record button then once I realized the screen wasn’t going to turn off, I clicked the button on my phone to turn the screen off. This turned the video recording off.

The way to get around this is to go into the settings for the app and turn on background recording. You can also click on the check boxes to display a recording buttons which get overlaid on the screen so that you don’t have to be in the app to start and stop video. This seems to bring up another problem that I’ve had to learn to work with. Once you launch the app and start recording then turn the screen off so as to conserve battery, if you try to go back into the app it creates some kind of conflict on my S3 that says the camera can’t be initialized. No doubt because the video is recording, but I don’t know at that point how to stop recording and start a new recording and I’m not sure but I think it causes the current recording to cease. So what I have to get in the habit of doing is stopping the app with the overlay button.

Naturally, it is a big battery drain. Most my drives around town take twenty to thirty minutes so that can kill battery power pretty fast particularly when keeping the screen on. So if you’re going to use it, it’s best to have the phone plugged in to power.

The default video setting went to my phones highest video setting and it is amazing how good that video is but it’s way to large to be practical and will quickly eat up memory so I set the video to a lower setting. I like that it beeps every time it saves video to memory so that I know it’s recording when the screen is off. These two videos I recorded give an example of the quality. The first is during the day and the second during the night. There is no sound as I’m sure you probably wouldn’t want to hear what I was listening to on the radio.


I think it’s definitely an app worth trying. There’s a lot more to the app that you can make use of like uploading video to their servers to share with other users.

A Battery Check Today Can Keep The Tow Truck Away



Keep the Tow Truck away with regular maintenance(NAPSI)—Sooner or later, all car batteries have to be replaced. The good news is that by taking a few simple maintenance steps, you can avoid the cost and hassle of getting stranded with a dead battery.

Extreme Heat and Cold

Excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, thus damaging the internal structure of the battery.

A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, can allow too high of a charging rate, leading to slow death for a battery.

Colder temperatures can also be a problem, increasing the thickness of the engine oil, making the engine harder to turn over and the battery work harder. This makes for harder starting.

Battery Tips

To help you get the most life out of a battery, the Car Care Council suggests the following:

• Have your battery tested—and replaced if necessary—in the fall and spring. This reduces the chance a dead battery will leave you stranded on the side of the road.

• Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.

• If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly, especially in hot weather. Add distilled water when necessary.

• Always replace a battery with one that’s rated at least as high as the one originally specified.

• Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals, it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.

The Car Care Council is a national nonprofit organization providing information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign that promotes the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair.

For more information, visit www.carcare.org.

Here at Rick Stroud Auto, Inc., in Pineallas Park / St. Petersburg, FL, we can give your battery an in depth test. Give us a call at 727-547-1911. We can handle all your auto repair and maintenance needs.

Avoiding Curbstoners and Protect Yourself when Buying Used Cars


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Buying used Cars Vehicle Check(NAPSI)—To help protect yourself when buying a used car, watch out for curbstoners.

What Are Curbstoners?

These are people who sell cars that don’t belong to them, many from scrap yards or towing impounds. They pose as private sellers but are actually unlicensed dealers. This practice is illegal in most states and goes around many of the safeguards that are in place to protect used-car buyers. By some estimates, as many as one in 10 car advertisements on popular websites may be by curbstoners. So be careful, because often, such cars come with hidden problems.

What You Can Do

To be able to buy with more confidence, it helps to:

• Take a test-drive—listen for weird noises, check the acceleration and braking.

• Have a mechanic inspect the vehicle.

• Get a Carfax Vehicle History Report. So you can know more about the car before buying. You can get a Carfax Report and learn more atwww.carfax.com.

As always, if you are looking at buying a used car, bring it by the shop before you hand over cash.

If you live in the St Petersburg / Pinellas Par are here in Florida, give us a call at 727-547-1911 and swing but the shop and we will give the car or truck a thorough exam before you make the jump.