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A Driver's Guide to Maintaining A Healthy Car

24 Car Care Tips You Need to Know

Make Your Car…


Sip Gas Keep Yourself…

 


Safe on the Road 


Healthy in the Seat 


Store Copy: Please Do Not Remove From Waiting Area Fall 2009

High Performance?

Or high mileage?

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more protection for people

VehicleMD Staff:

Steve Hurt, Publisher Barbara Tinsley, Associate Publisher Garrett McKinnon, Editor Tammy Williams, Features Editor Sheila Beam, Advertising Director Misty Dolan, Production Director Eliseo Torres, Advertising Sales Mai Lee, Circulation Assistant Bethany Hurt, Staff Assistant 4418 74th St. #66 Lubbock, TX 79424 800.796.2577 or 806.762.4464 Fax: 806.762.4023 E-mail: Published four times a year by NOLN, Inc., 4418 74th St., Ste. 66, Lubbock, TX 79424-2336. Postage Paid at Shepherdsville, KY. Postmaster: Send address changes to VehicleMD, 4418 74th St., Ste. 66, Lubbock, TX 79424-2336. Editorial information: info@vehiclemd. com © Copyright VehicleMD 2009. Reproduction is allowed only with permission of the editor. Views expressed by columnists and guest writers do not imply VehicleMD endorsement. Every attempt is made to provide accurate and reliable information. VehicleMD will not assume liability for any products or services described or offered herein, nor can VehicleMD verify accuracy of advertising claims made herein. The purpose of VehicleMD is to educate automotive service customers about the maintenance services available to them. Additional copies — Interested parties may purchase additional copies of VehicleMD, including bulk quantities. E-mail Mai Lee for more information: Advertisers — Advertising rates are available upon request. Please contact Sheila Beam for display advertising deadlines and other information: Internet — Advertising rates are available upon request. Please contact Eliseo Torres for information. All correspondence and inquiries should be directed to our business offices: 4418 74th St., Ste. 66 Lubbock, TX 79424-2336 Phone: 1.800.796.2577 or 806.762.4464 Fax: 806.762.4023


Here to Help You Hello! Welcome to VehicleMD, a new magazine written specifically for customers just like you. In the following pages, you will find articles about common services offered at most automotive service facilities, but written on a level we hope everyone can easily understand. Here at VehicleMD, we don’t speak “car.” What’s “car”? Well, if you’re like me, you’ve probably visited a mechanic only to leave in a swirling cloud of technical terms, having no idea what you really needed or why you needed it. Which is why we aim to do things a little different here at VehicleMD. Our articles are written in a language that anyone can understand—no “car speak” here. We want to educate you about services you might need now, or in the future, because the more educated you are about these services, the more confident you can be with your buying decisions. Why is this important to us? We realize full well the value of keeping your car in good working condition. One of my life’s scariest moments happened on the busy road I drive to and from work every day. I was driving home when my “Check Engine” light came on, the engine died and it was all I could do to get my steering wheel turned to guide my car off the highway. All those years of improper maintenance had finally caught up with “Ol’ Red.” I want to be sure nothing like this ever happens to you. So, what are your maintenance concerns? Do you want to ensure you are safe during your travels? Or maybe you want to be positive your car is a healthy environment for your family? Are you concerned about getting better gas mileage? How about keeping your vehicle running properly for years to come? You will notice color-coded bars at the top of every page relating to each of these concerns. In each color-coded section is a variety of articles addressing that particular concern. After reading each article, you will know what the highlighted service is, why it is recommended and how often it is recommended. As an extra treat in this issue, you can find tips to help you achieve better fuel mileage. As an added bonus, we’ve assembled a team of automotive experts to answer almost any automotive-related question you might have. Want to know what that noise might be, or how often you should really change your motor oil? Just e-mail your question to “the doctor”: If your vehicle is ready before you have finished reading one of the articles, don’t worry. A digital version of this issue is available at You can finish the article you were reading, scan an article you didn’t get to or brush up on services you may need before your next trip to the maintenance center. At VehicleMD, the doctor is always in! Let us be your guide to maintaining a healthy car. Please feel free to contact me, and let me know what you like about this inaugural issue. If you have an idea about something we could cover in a future issue, let us know. After all, we are here to help you!


Fall 2009 Volume 1, No. 1 ISSN 1948-4674

Tammy Williams 3




K eep I t R unning F orever

6 TLC for Older Cars

Your high-mileage vehicle can run better, longer if you install motor oil specifically designed for it.

8 Like Mouthwash for Your Car


Just as we like to refresh with a little mouthwash from time to time, periodically adding a bottle of fuel system cleaner can keep your car running like new.

14 Clean Injectors = Higher MPG

Want to maximize your car‘s fuel efficiency? Consider total fuel system cleaning, a service that can give you a small but significant increase in mileage.

16 Pump Up Your MPG

Nine tips you can use to improve your vehicle‘s fuel efficiency—and get more for your money at the gas pump.

10 Talking Points

Nine things to ask your automotive service technician about that can avoid expensive repair bills down the line.

12 Protection: The No. One Priority

Your car is an expensive investment. If you want the best for it, consider stepping up to synthetic motor oil.


M ake Y our C ar S ip G as

B e S afe

on the

B e H ealthy

in the

S eat

20 Breathe Easy

Did you know the air inside a car is usually more polluted than the air outside? Find out how a new cabin air filter can block out pollutants, allergens and even odors to help keep you and your family healthy.

R oad

18 Keep Your Vision Clear

A new generation of wiper blades can help improve your vision—and safety—in rainy or wet weather conditions.

T he B ack P age 22 Maintenance By the Numbers

Tidbits of automotive trivia compiled by our staff.


9.4 4 VehicleMD

of . ge age Avera on the road s e l c vehi

VehicleMD On Call Have a question for the VehicleMD “doctor“? E-mail:

aoca membership matters

Do you really know who is performing the maintenance on your family’s cars?

You depend on the vehicles you and your family drive to be safe, fuel efficient, and long-lasting, so it is critical that they are properly maintained. When you choose an AOCA (Automotive Oil Change Association) member fast lube center to perform your oil changes and other preventive maintenance, you are choosing technicians and managers who are: Ethical—AOCA members show a dedication to their industry and to you by agreeing to abide by a code of ethics. Knowledgeable—AOCA members gain valuable resources for information, trends and tools that help them serve you more effectively. Well Trained—AOCA members have access to expert training at all levels. Trust AOCA certified managers and technicians to provide peace of mind for your car care. Environmentally Aware—Regulatory compliance, safety training and information, and green initiatives guide AOCA members in being stewards of our environment. You depend on your car, so you should depend on an AOCA member for all of your preventive maintenance needs. AOCA members are right around the corner and a big part of your community. Get to know one today! To find an AOCA member near you, or for more about AOCA, its membership and why you should take your car to an AOCA member fast lube center, go to

Choose an AOCA Member Fast Lube Center Today!

AOCA members provide Professional Service at Your Convenience.

Run Forever With…

High-Mileage Motor Oil

Give Your Aging Car The TLC It Needs By Tammy Williams VehicleMD Staff Writer

s vehicles age, they change just like people do, which is why it A is important to take special care of an aging car. There are many vehicles on the road today that have more than 75,000 miles on them, and the average car on the road is more than nine years old. One way to take special care of older vehicles is with high-mileage motor oil. It is recommended to start using high-mileage motor oil when the odometer clicks past 75,000 miles. And for those drivers who like to get the top level of performance, there are full synthetic high-mileage motor oils available. One of the main functions of motor oil is to cool the n Vehicles age and change just like engine. So, oil must be able to people do. withstand high temperatures. n Start using high-mileage motor oil If the oil can’t take high at 75,000 miles to keep your vehicle temperatures, it will break in peak operating condition. down and form deposits in the engine, making the n Older vehicles can suffer from oil engine temperature rise. consumption, which can appear as There are also some unique oil spots on the driveway or just as a problems that high-mileage low oil level. vehicles experience as opposed n High-mileage motor oil is to newer vehicles, most specially formulated to prevent oil notably oil consumption. Oil consumption. consumption can be caused

FAST facts

6 VehicleMD

by a number of factors such as shrunken engine seals or worn engine parts. Oil consumption can show up in a couple different ways. You may see spots of oil on your driveway, or you may see nothing. You may just find that when it comes time to change the oil, the oil level is down a bit. A few decades ago, motorists would check their oil level at every tank fill up. Now, almost nobody looks at the oil level until it is changed. So, it is much more critical to use a product like high-mileage engine oil that is specially designed to help reduce consumption and ensure you’re not running low. Oil consumption puts strain on the oil. If your engine level is even a quart low, there is a lot more stress on the oil. “The oil circulates through the engine, and it gets some time to rest and get away from the heat when it gets down into the oil pan,” said Thom Smith, a technical director for Valvoline. “However, if you are a quart low, it doesn’t get the chance to rest and recover.” This means the oil is always being stressed and always at a high temperature. This causes the oil to wear out more quickly. When the oil wears out, that’s when deposits and wear start showing up in the engine. These will ultimately lead to a shorter life for your engine. Is the increased cost of high mileage motor oil really worth it? Think of it this way—you put more money into the oil to get more life out of the engine. Your engine is going to last longer if you take care of it, and one of the best ways to take care of it is to use an oil that is designed specifically for a high-mileage engine.  

Run Forever With…

Pour-In Fuel System Cleaner

Like Mouthwash For Your Car

By Tammy Williams VehicleMD Staff Writer


don’t you love that minty-fresh tingle you get from mouthwash? It just leaves your mouth feeling clean and healthy. Wouldn’t it be nice to give that same clean and healthy feeling to your car? Well, you can—with help from a pour-in fuel system cleaner. A pour-in fuel system cleaner is a treatment added directly to the fuel tank, and just as mouthwash cleans your mouth, a pour-in fuel system cleaner perks up dirty fuel systems. It’s easy to tell when your mouth doesn’t feel as clean and fresh as usual, but it’s a little tougher to tell if your engine isn’t as clean as it should be. There are a few tell-tale signs to determine if your engine is dirty. Does your engine feel like it is shaking? Do you hear a knocking sound while you’re driving? Does your vehicle just not seem like it is performing as well as it used to? If any of these describe your vehicle, there is a good chance deposits might have formed in your engine. Deposits are often little bits of carbon left over from the fuel your engine burns. These deposits can destroy your engine, just as cavities destroy your 8 VehicleMD

teeth. But good news—using a pour-in fuel “It gives you a sense of reliability,” said system cleaner can remove these filthy depos- Mark Negast, technical director at Lucas Oil. its and help your engine feel clean and fresh. “You don’t want to be stranded because your Deposits in your engine are like bacteria in engine failed due to restricted fuel injection, your mouth, and a pour-in fuel system cleaner washes them Deposits in your engine are like away, just like mouthwash does bacteria in your mouth. A pour-in fuel bacteria. system cleaner washes them away, If you are not experiencing any dirty-engine symptoms, just like mouthwash does bacteria. that is wonderful, but it doesn’t mean a pour-in fuel system cleaner is not right for you. Using a pour-in debris getting in your fuel filter or any probfuel system cleaner can help extend the life of lem like that.” fuel injectors, subsequently extending the life Making sure your engine runs at its best is a of your vehicle. top priority because we all rely on our vehicles A pour-in fuel system cleaner takes only every day. Using a pour-in fuel system cleaner seconds to install, adding virtually no time will improve your vehicle’s performance, makto your oil change. Pour-in fuel system clean- ing sure that your car runs extremely well. ers are recommended every 3,000 to 4,000 Just as brushing, flossing and mouthwash miles—in other words, at every oil change. are essential to a healthy mouth, pour-in fuel These treatments are worth the extra cost be- system cleaners are essential to keeping your cause they are going to help your engine run engine clean and your vehicle running propbetter and extend its life, giving you security erly.  and peace of mind.

Run Forever…

Basic Car Maintenance Tips


By Garrett McKinnon VehicleMD Staff Writer


starters, you’re doing the right thing. If you’re reading this magazine from the friendly confines of your local auto service facility, it’s clear you care about your car and its maintenance. You want it to last until it’s paid off— and longer. You want it to get you from point A to point B without leaving you stranded on the side of the road. You want it to keep your family safe. And that’s why you’re here, getting your car serviced. If the team of technicians working on your car is worth its salt—and they are or you wouldn’t be here—they’ll inspect your car from top to bottom while they change your oil. They’ll check your fluids, air up your tires and look for any leaks or damage under the car. But like most of us, they’re busy. After all, they’re trying to get you in and out in a few short minutes. Which is why it can be helpful to ask your technician to check on certain things they might not ordinarily take the time to inspect, the seldomnoticed parts of your car that can be expensive to repair if warning signs aren’t caught early enough.

1. Noises


Things to Ask Your Technician About 10 VehicleMD

All cars make noises, but if your car has been making strange ones lately, it might be worth asking a technician to try and pinpoint the source of the sound. Squeals, grinding and screeching could indicate a problem with your brakes, while  squeaks, knocking and ticking could be coming from your engine or one of its accessories.

2. Warning Lights

7. Exhaust System

Car manufacturers don’t make warning lights amber or red for nothing. They’re meant to attract your attention and alert you to a problem. Let your technician know if you have a warning light on. You never know, sometimes whatever caused the light to illuminate can be an easy fix.

One of the places we rarely see is the underside of our vehicles. That’s why a technician who is under the car anyway can easily spot damage to your car’s exhaust system. Damage could be in the form of a bent or crimped exhaust pipe or an exhaust leak or hole in your muffler. Either way, it’s important to have a damaged exhaust system repaired in order to keep exhaust fumes as far away from the car’s cabin as possible.

3. Tire Pressure Ask your technician what your tires’ air pressures were when you first brought the vehicle in. A tire that was considerably low on pressure could indicate a slow leak, something that can be patched before it grows larger and leaves you on the side of the road with a flat tire.

4. Tire Wear Technicians can often spot a problem with your car’s alignment or steering just by looking at your tires. Tires that are wearing unevenly or that are “cupped” or “scalloped” could mean your car needs further attention.

5. Brake Pads This is a great thing to ask if you’re getting a tire rotation. Once your car’s tires are off, it’s a simple matter to peek at the brakes and see how much lining is left. Doing so can alert you to the fact that you may need a brake job in the near future.

6. CV Boots

8. Battery Power Many auto service facilities have battery testers that can quickly and easily tell you the health of your battery. With the cold winter months on the horizon, now is the perfect time to ask your technician to test your battery and see if it needs to be replaced.

9. Upcoming Services How many of us really read our vehicle’s owners manual well enough to know that we’ll need to service some component or fluid at X number of miles? Fortunately, your technician has access to a computerized database of the services your car requires and will require in the future. Ask what services your car will need in coming months so you won’t be taken by surprise on your next visit to the auto service center. As in any relationship, communicating with your car’s technician is critical. You wouldn’t visit a doctor and not explain where it hurts, so talk to your technician about your car’s health whenever possible. After all, if he can diagnose a minor problem before it becomes major, it could save you a lot of money in the long run. 

These little plastic or rubber boots wrap around the flexible CV joint that pairs your car’s axles with its tires (especially on front-wheel-drive cars). If they crack or wear out, they can let dirt and debris into the CV joint, causing premature failure and an expensive repair job. Replacing broken CV boots is more economical. 11

Run Forever With… By Tammy Williams VehicleMD Staff Writer

Synthetic Motor Oil

Protection: The Number One Priority We

all mean well; really, we do. But, have you ever thought about how you really treat your vehicle? You meant to get the oil changed, but that was 2,000 miles ago— you just got busy. You were running late, so you punched the gas at those stop lights—you know it’s tough on your engine, but you were in a hurry. Take a moment to consider how you really drive—now don’t you want the best protection possible for your engine? Your vehicle is one of the biggest investments you will ever make, and it requires maintenance to keep it running properly. Regular oil changes are an important part of maintenance, and compared to the cost of the vehicle and unscheduled repair work, oil changes are inexpensive. But did you know for only a few dollars more you can upgrade your conventional oil change to a synthetic oil change? Synthetic oil is the best possible engine oil you can choose for one of your biggest investments. Modern driving conditions and today’s high-tech, hardpercent of newworking engines are rough on car buyers plan engine oil. Most Americans to keep their drive under what are known vehicles more as “severe” conditions. These than four years. conditions include stopand-go traffic, short trips, excessive idling, towing, hauling, racing, or driving in extremely hot or cold weather. If you drive in any of these conditions, you can consider yourself a severe driver. Being a severe driver isn’t bad. It just means you need to follow a different set of maintenance requirements for your vehicle, and you can find these requirements in your owners manual. Severe driving conditions put enormous amounts of stress on your oil and your engine, but using synthetic oil at any stage in your vehicle’s life can protect your engine from the hazards of real-life driving. A synthetic oil change is performed in the exact same way and takes the same amount of time as a conventional oil change. It’s only the properties of the oil that make it different. Synthetic motor oil is a man-made engine lubricant. This oil is made from very high quality base oils that are more advanced than those of conventional oil. Because synthetic oil is highly processed, oil engineers


4 Most Americans drive under what are known as “severe“ conditions. 4 Severe driving conditions include stop-and-go traffic, short trips, excessive idling, towing, hauling, racing or driving in extremely hot or cold weather. 4 Severe driving conditions put enormous amounts of stress on your oil and your engine. 4 Using synthetic oil at any stage in your vehicle’s life can protect your engine from the hazards of severe driving. 12 VehicleMD


can specially create this oil to meet your vehicle’s specific needs. Engine protection is one of the main concerns addressed by synthetic oil, and if you want to keep your investment for the coming years, it should be one of your main concerns, too. A study conducted by marketing research firm AutoPacific found that 59 percent of new-car buyers plan to keep their vehicle more than four years. If you are among this majority, it is a comfort to know that synthetic oil can help reduce your risk of engine repairs and keep A synthetic oil change your vehicle running properly for is performed in the years to come. “Engines are expensive and exact same way repair work on engines is and takes the same expensive, but your peace of amount of time as mind is priceless,” said Timothy a conventional oil Miranda, senior engineer for BP change. It’s only the Lubricants. “Synthetic engine oil provides the ultimate in engine properties of the oil protection at a small increase in that make it cost.” different. If you are likely to go a few hundred—or thousand—miles over on your oil change interval, or if your driving often gets mistaken for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s, just consider the strain this puts on your engine. For a few extra dollars, upgrade your oil change to a synthetic oil change and rest assured your engine is protected now and well into the future.  


UPGRADE TO CASTROL EDGE. WITH 8X BETTER WEAR PROTECTION THAN MOBIL 1 5W-30.* There are synthetics. And then there’s Castrol EDGE. With an advanced full-synthetic formula that’s proven to safeguard against friction and engine failure. So do what’s best for your car. *Results based on industry standard Sequence IVA wear test



Sip Gas With…

Total Fuel System Cleaning

Clean Injectors = Higher MPG W

fuel injector that is even partially clogged can most of us would like, you may waste fuel and money. want to squeeze every penny you To help you better understand fuel injeccan out of each gallon of gas. Fortunately, tors, think of them like a showerhead. When there is a preventive maintenance service that the showerhead is clean, water flows freely can help you do just that—a total fuel system giving you a very pleasant shower. However, cleaning. if there are calcium or lime deposits on your Nasty deposits in your engine can lead to showerhead, some of the holes may become symptoms like hesitation, diminished vehicle clogged, and you won’t get the full spray of acceleration, increased emissions and reduced the showerhead. Carbon deposits do the same fuel economy. These deposits can appear bething to fuel injectors. Instead of spraying in cause of improper maintenance, driving in a nice cone shape, carbon deposits deflect the stop-and-go traffic, or driving in extremely spray patterns. This means that your vehicle hot or extremely cold weather conditions. is not operating at its maximum efficiency, A total fuel system cleaning will help get rid of these deposits. By having a total fuel system cleaning A total fuel sysservice performed on your car, you tem cleaning generally consists of three can be confident that your vehicle is stages. The first stage not wasting any gas—and it also can cleans and removes reduce the risk of costly repairs in the carbon deposits in the upper part of the future. engine. The second stage is usually added directly to the fuel tank. This helps clean the and you’re not getting the full benefit from rest of your fuel system, like the fuel lines and your fuel system or gasoline. fuel pump. It also cleans the insides of your By having a total fuel system cleaning serfuel injectors. In combination, these two vice performed on your car, you can be constages create a third stage, which cleans the fident that your vehicle is not wasting any fuel injector tips. gas—and it also can reduce the risk of costly There is usually one fuel injector for each repairs in the future. cylinder in your vehicle’s engine, and it is “If you have one fuel injector go bad from very important that these are kept clean. A deposits or buildup, you can easily be looking at a $300 or $400 repair situation for just one injector,” said Steve Farr, vice president Three Ways MPGof Smart Blend Synthetics, Life Automotive Products, Inc. Robbing Deposits Form A fuel system cleaning every 15,000 miles will help keep your fuel system in top condi4Improper maintenance. tion. This little bit of preventive maintenance 4Driving in stop-and-go traffic. will not only help fend off costly repairs in the future, but it also can help you start sav4Driving in extremely hot or ing money at the pump today.  ITH GAS PRICES HIGHER THAN

By Tammy Williams VehicleMD Staff Writer

Dirty fuel injector

Clean fuel injector

extremely cold weather.

14 VehicleMD

w w w. s m a r t b l e n d . c o m

Sip Gas With…

Fuel-Saving Tips

9Easy Ways to Pump Up Your MPG


Do you want to get more for your money at the fuel pump? Here are nine things you can do right now to help maximize your vehicle’s fuel economy.

Slow Down

As speed increases, fuel economy decreases exponentially. Driving 62 mph versus 75 mph will reduce fuel consumption by about 15 percent. You’ll save a lot of fuel, and your trip won’t take much longer.

Check Tire Pressure


Remember trying to ride a bike with a flat tire? You had to pedal a lot harder. Under-inflated tires will make your engine work harder, too. Tires lose about one psi of air pressure per month, and a tire that is under-inflated by two psi can reduce fuel economy by 1 percent.


Empty It Out It doesn’t take much to acquire an extra 20 or 30 pounds of stuff in your trunk or back seat. And the more weight your vehicle has to carry around, the more fuel it burns. So, empty unneeded items out of your vehicle. Leave the stuff you don’t need right now at home, and reload it when you do need it.

Check Your Air Filter

A dirty air filter makes it harder for your engine to breathe, which affects performance and fuel economy. Changing your dirty air filter can improve your vehicle’s fuel mileage by as much as 10 percent.

16 VehicleMD



A/C Versus Windows When the air conditioner is turned on, it puts an extra load on the engine, forcing more fuel to be used. However, open windows, especially at highway speeds, can increase drag, resulting in decreased fuel economy. Rolling your windows down at low speeds and using your air conditioner at high speeds may help you gain a few extra miles out of each gallon.


Check the Gas Cap Make sure your gas cap is on, tight and not damaged. Improperly tightened or missing gas caps allow 147 million gallons of fuel to vaporize every year in the United States.


Use Cruise Control

Maintaining a consistent speed over long distances saves fuel. Continued deceleration followed by acceleration uses more fuel; cruise control helps keep your speed constant, helping to increase your fuel mileage.


Keep the Tailgate Up It might seem counterintuitive, but lowering your tailgate creates turbulence, and turbulence creates more drag, which makes your truck less efficient at highway speeds. By leaving the tailgate up, you create a smooth bubble of air in the bed, allowing air to pass over it and improving your fuel economy.


Avoid Long Idles

If you anticipate being stopped for more than a minute or so, shut off your engine. Restarting the vehicle uses less fuel than letting it idle for one minute. 17

Be Safe With…

New Wiper Blades

By Garrett McKinnon VehicleMD Staff Writer

keep your vision H

umans are visual beings. It’s a fact that the majority of the information we glean about our surroundings—and the decisions we make based on that information— comes from things we see.

v Heat is a killer. On a hot summer day, the windshield of a vehicle can reach temperatures up to 145° F, which slowly “cooks” the rubber wiper blades until they lose their flexibility and crack. This too will cause streaking or “chattering.”

That’s why it is vitally important that we do everything possible to keep our vision clear from inside our vehicles. After all, you really want to see that gray 18-wheeler hurtling toward you in a rainstorm. And the best way to do that is to make sure your wiper blades are in perfect working order.

v Cold temperatures also contribute to a wiper’s demise; as the rubber gets harder in cold temps and loses its flexibility, it allows water to leak under the rubber surface, “smearing” the surface of the windshield instead of wiping it cleanly away.

The majority of wiper blades are constructed with a rubber wiping element, which provides optimum friction to clear glass of water. Because rubber is a natural compound, it breaks down for a variety of reasons:

While there’s no set industry standard, most wiper manufacturers recommend replacing blades every six to nine months based on how the wipers are performing and local conditions. Even a tiny streak during a test can become a major impairment to your vision during a rainstorm.

v Ozone in the atmosphere (especially prominent in high-traffic urban and suburban areas) can oxidize the rubber and create cracks in its surface; as these cracks propagate and grow, they will allow water to pass through, creating streaks on the windshield. The more streaks that occur, the less visual clarity a driver will have through the windshield.

Most drivers are familiar with the traditional frame-style wipers. These use a metal frame to stretch a piece of rubber across the windshield, a design largely unchanged since the early 1900s. The last decade, however, has seen the advent of “beam” or “flat” wipers, the first revolutionary change in wiper blade design in more than a century.

18 VehicleMD


Flat blades are made from a single piece of curved plastic that suspends the rubber wiping element. The benefit? “Flat blades were designed to provide almost uniform pressure distribution across a windshield,” said Shawn Subramaniam, technical manager with Shell Oil. “Instead of the ‘hill and valley’ pressure points you get with a traditional wiper, points that can allow water to streak or smear, flat blades provide a more uniform wipe.”

In addition to providing superior wiping, flat blades are also smaller and more streamlined than traditional wipers, making them more aesthetically pleasing to many drivers and generating less wind noise. Many models are also designed with a built-in “spoiler” that keeps the blade in close contact with the windshield even at highway speeds. The best part about flat blades? Thanks to adapters found in many blade sets, even vehicles not factory-equipped with these new blades can be retrofitted with them, giving all drivers the opportunity to experience the maximum in windshield wiping performance—and allowing them to see better in rainy or wet conditions. 

Are yo ur Wi p er BlA des r e Ady for the Ba ck To Sc h oo l d ri ve t i me?

Rain-X® is the #1 wiper blade brand, consumer rated best in wet weather driving visibility!

O U T S M A R T © 2009 SOPUS Product. All rights reserved.




Keep Healthy With…

A Fresh Cabin Air Filter

Breathe Easy

How a New Cabin Air Filter Can Keep You & Your Family Healthy By Garrett McKinnon VehicleMD Staff Writer


about the last time you were in heavy traffic. Remember that car you got stuck behind, the ’86 Oldsmobile spewing clouds of noxious white smoke? Remember the teary eyes and hacking cough that afflicted you while your car filled up with smoke? Or how about your last drive in the country. Remember when you drove past that field of silvery-green plants, only to realize they were ragweed? Remember the sneezing, the runny nose? Psst. Let me share a little secret with you: You don’t have to suffer these things anymore.


facts n


Studies have shown that the air inside vehicles not equipped with cabin air filters can have contaminants that are two to six times more concentrated than the air outside. Cabin air filters are typically made of an electrostatically charged fiber mat that snatches airborne particles out of the air and secures them to the filter paper—think of them as a surgical mask for your car.

Even cars that do not come equipped with cabin air filters often are built with the capability of having one quickly and inexpensively installed.


20 VehicleMD

If your car was built sometime this decade, the chances are good that it was equipped with a cabin air filter. What’s a cabin air filter? Simply put, it’s a filter that cleans the air outside your car before it comes inside. These filters are typically made of an electrostatically charged fiber mat that snatches airborne particles out of the air and secures them to the filter paper—think of them as a surgical mask for your car. Cabin air filters are extremely efficient at what they do, with many types able to remove the majority of airborne particles down to three microns in diameter. In case you slept through science class (I did), a dot made with a standard pencil is about 200 microns in diameter, so a particle only three microns in diameter is pretty small to say the least. Particles trapped by cabin air filters include pollen, spores, bacte-

ria, exhaust, road dust, soot, industrial dust and smoke or smog, among others. This means the air that enters your car is much cleaner than the air outside, allowing you to breathe easier.

many as 85 percent of all new cars and light trucks sold in the United States were equipped with these filters. (Want to know a dirty little secret? Even if you didn’t check the “pollen filter” or similarly worded box on the option sheet when you ordered your new car, it’s likely that you can still install a cabin air filter in it—just for much less money than the factory would have charged you. Even cars that don’t come equipped with a cabin air filter often are built

Some premium cabin air filters are made with a layer of activated charcoal that can actually filter out noxious gases and odors, capturing particles as small as 1/5,000th the width of a human hair. Studies have shown that the air inside vehicles not equipped with cabin air filters can have contaminants that are two to six times more concentrated than the air outside. That’s because your car’s climate control system essentially “vacuums” contaminants from outside, where they are trapped inside your car while the windows are closed. Think about that the next time you’re stuck in traffic. European luxury carmakers were the first to install cabin air filters, but as of 2006 as

with the capability of having one quickly and inexpensively installed.) Most auto manufacturers recommend cabin air filters be replaced about every 15,000 miles, or annually at the least. The service is fairly inexpensive, about $35 depending on your vehicle type, and it generally takes less than 15 minutes. It’s a small price to pay for cleaner, healthier air. Plus, if you’re willing to spend a little extra money, there’s a bonus. Some premium cabin air filters are made with a layer of activated charcoal that can actually filter out noxious gases and odors, capturing particles as small as 1/100th of a micron, or 1/5,000th the width of a human hair. This means that not only will you not be breathing Mr. Oldsmobile’s exhaust, you won’t smell it either. So ask your automotive service provider if your vehicle has a cabin air filter. Having a new one installed could be your ticket to a breath of cleaner, and healthier, fresh air.   21

Maintenance by




Percentage of

Percentage of vehicles that don't have adequate washer fluid.




Percentage of cars and light trucks sold in the United States equipped with cabin air filters.

Company Name

The number of miles at which you should switch to highmileage motor oil.


Ad Index


Average age of vehicles on the road.

Fall 2009

Page No.

Phone Number


Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA)



BP Lubricants USA, Inc. (Castrol)




2 800.992.4846

Lubegard by International Lubricants



Lucas Oil Products, Inc.



Mobil Oil Corporation



Shell Oil Company - Rain X



Smart Blend by Life Automotive Products, Inc.




7 800.622.6846

22 VehicleMD


inflated tires. Gallons of fuel that vaporize every year in the United States due to improperly tightened or missing gas caps.


30 seconds

Time it takes to perform a pour-in fuel system cleaning.

Size in microns of particles captured by most cabin air filters. (The period at the end of




vehicles with

the sentence is approximately 200 microns in diameter.)

0 6 5 , 3 1 Number of gallons of motor oil recycled by a typical oil change facility in a given year. (An

average swimming pool holds 18,000 gallons of water, by comparison.)

Put some NASCAR in your car.


©2009 Exxon Mobil Corporation. Mobil, Mobil 1 and the 1 icon are trademarks of Exxon Mobil Corporation or one of its subsidiaries. NASCAR ® is a registered trademark of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc.

63 miles of commuting daily. That’s hundreds of miles a week, in all kinds of weather and often in stop-and-go traffic. It’s not a NASCAR race, but you still drive your engine hard. That’s why you need Mobil 1 technology. From the road to the racetrack, it’s proven to withstand some of the most extreme conditions. In fact, over half of all NASCAR teams choose Mobil 1 technology. So put some NASCAR in your car. Learn more at

WHAT IS THAT SMELL? Eliminating the Foul Odors from Mold and Mildew in your Vehicle

Mold spores magnified

Anyone who drives has come across that one vehicle, where, once you turned on the A/C or heater, an odor of the foulest proportion raced out the vents and filled up the cabin with a putrid musty smell. Rolling down the windows was once the only option until your senses were stunned into blocking the smell out. This smell is a tell-tale sign that it is time to flush out the bacteria, fungi and other microbes that are happily residing in the moist, dark and dank areas of the vehicle’s evaporator core. When mold and fungus spores are sucked into the A/C of your vehicle

The air you breath inside a vehicle could be up to 5 times worse than the air outside!

Mildew magnified

they land on a damp surface (the evaporator and its enclosure) and begin to grow and proliferate. In a system with a plugged up A/C drain or one that is in constant use, the box and evaporator will never dry out enough for the organic invader to die and go away. This is not just a superficial problem, either. It is actually hazardous to your health! Several studies have cited fungal and mold infections as the source of over 90% of chronic sinus problems. Not to mention, the EPA now classifies indoor airborne allergens as one of our most important environmental concerns.

Ask your service provider get rid of the smell today! • • • • • •

Leaves a clean, fresh scent Eliminates odors air fresheners can’t Reduces allergens and contaminates Improves air quality Maximizes cooling system efficiency Quick and convenient, can be done while waiting for any other service • Unlike other products, no drilling is required. • Ideal for cars, trucks, vans & RV’s This facility doesn’t carry Kool-It? Have them contact us! International Lubricants Inc. / (800) 333-LUBE(5823)

A look inside a typical evaporator system

dor! O s e t a Elimin Allergens! s Reduce rilling! No D Part # 96030 KOOL-IT® is released into the HVAC system and its super foaming action flushes out and neutralizes unwanted contaminants that live in A/C and heater systems.

mold and mildew ©2009 International Lubricants, Inc. All rights reserved.