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A Driver's Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Car


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Vehi cl


D is no eM

27 Ways to Make Sure Your Ride is Ready for the Road


Movie cars that need a tune-up

Driving Tips to Keep You


Store Copy: Please Do Not Remove From Waiting Area Summer 2011

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VehicleMD ®

Staff: Staff:

Steve Hurt, Publisher Garrett McKinnon, Editor Tammy Neal, Features Editor Sheila Beam, Advertising Director Misty Dolan, Production Director Eliseo Torres, Sales & Marketing Director Julie Cain, Advertising Sales Mai Lee, Circulation Manager Kara Bishop, Staff Writer/ Production Assistant Bethany Hurt, Staff Assistant 4418 74th St. #66 Lubbock, TX 79424 800.331.3713 or 806.762.4824 Fax: 806.762.4023 Email: 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 2011. 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. Email Mai Lee for more information: Advertisers — Advertising rates are available upon request. Please contact Julie Cain at for display advertising deadlines and other information. Internet — Advertising rates are available upon request. Please contact Eliseo Torres at for information. All correspondence and inquiries should be directed to our business offices: 4418 74th St., Ste. 66 Lubbock, TX 79424-2336 Phone: 800.331.3713 or 806.762.4824 Fax: 806.762.4023 Email:

Not Just a Summer Fling Growing up I was a huge fan of the movie “Grease”. (What teenage girl in the last 30 years hasn’t been?) Back in the day I could sing every line of Danny and Sandy’s “Summer Nights” banter. But today, one line hits home. Summer fling, don’t mean a thing; but oh those summer nights—except in this case, it isn’t just another summer fling, but a long-term partnership. VehicleMD and Ask Patty recently entered into a new partnership. What does this mean to you? You’re now reading an Ask Patty Certified Female Friendly publication. We are very excited to reach even more women (and men, of course) and educate them about automotive maintenance. Check out page 10, where you’ll find a guest spot from one of the staffers at Ask Patty and learn why you should pay your battery some attention before you embark on your next journey. Also in the issue you can find safe driving tips and a checklist to help get your vehicle ready for summer. Let’s hope there is no more snow, and it is now safe to take off those snow tires! As always, you’ll also learn about some of the summer’s most important maintenance services that can help your car run forever. We pay movies another tribute in these pages, as we list our top eight on-screen cars that need a tune up. We like to do things a little differently here at VehicleMD, so we ditched the “coolest cars” gig and took a look at those that needed some TLC. Take the “Dumb and Dumber” Shaggin’ Wagon for instance. In my opinion any car that looks like a dog might be in need of a makeover, inside and out. If your car drives or sounds like it might need a maintenance makeover, send your question to the “VehicleMD Doc.” Simply email it to “Doc” can answer those tough questions you’ve been wondering about, plus your question might even get published in a future issue of VehicleMD. As always, we will keep you updated on what you need to know about summer driving—with a few fun tidbits here and there—on our social media pages. So, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. 

Tammy Neal

Summer 2011 Volume 3, No. 2 ISSN 1948-4674 Find us on: 3





A sk P atty

B e S afe

10 Summer Road Trips: Battery maintenance is essential—especially in the summer. Don’t put it off until it’s too late.

K eep I t R unning F orever 12 Keeping It Clean

Synthetic oil can help your car run forever because it keeps the engine in pristine condition. Don’t take our word for it—ask the racecar teams that use the exact same oil you can put in your own car.

14 The Summer List

Now that summer’s here it’s time for you to break out the shorts and t-shirts. Follow this simple checklist to make sure your car is ready for summer, too!


R oad

18 Let There Be Light

Batteries Not Included


on the

M ake I t S hine

Headlight restoration can return cloudy lamps to their previous luster, helping increase your visibility and your vehicle’s ability to be seen by other drivers.

20 Safe Drivers are Happy Drivers

Driving tips to help keep you and your family safe and happy on the road this summer.

K now Y our S tuff 22 Gassed!

Had enough of the typical top-10 lists? Here’s one with a twist: A list of cars from the big (and small screens) that need a tune-up.

24 A Wave of Amber

What those pretty lights on your dashboard mean, and why you should care!

T he B ack P age

16 Pest Control

Learn how to keep the creepy crawlies off your car’s finish.

26 Fun With Sixes

In giving a nod to the famous Route 66, find six differences in the nearly identical pictures or check out the six degrees of separation between Henry Ford and Harrison Ford.



4 VehicleMD

Company Name

Page No.

Phone No. 800.331.0329 800.777.8491 888.745.1928


Automotive Oil Change Association AMSOIL, INC., Inc.

7 5 11

Castrol CITGO Lucas Oil Products, Inc. QMI Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc. Sea Foam Sales Company Shell Oil Company — Pennzoil

21 888.227.8765 2 800.992.4846 19 800.342.2512 28 800.255.8138 27 800.669.5740 17 800.536.4812 13 800.416.1600


answer auto experts

your questions

TO THE DOC4I have a 2000 Buick Le Sabre, Ltd, and it smells bad within about 15 minutes after I turn on the air conditioner. After a while it will diminish and be gone. What do you think I should do?

Aquilino Via email

THE DOC SAYS4It sounds (smells?) like you’re having a

common problem. Namely, the moist conditions inside your car’s air conditioner evaporator can be a breeding ground for various mold and mildew spores. When you first turn on the car’s A/C, you get a full gust of moldy air, though the smell diminishes as the evaporator cools while you drive. There are several products on the market that can be used to clean your A/C evaporator core, though many of them are best handled by a professional technician. Bottom line: Next time you’re in an automotive service shop, ask them if they perform A/C odor elimination service. Speaking from personal experience, it can be worth the investment if you’re looking for fresher air!

TO THE DOC4I just bought a 2000 Chevy S10, and when

wheels hit a certain rotational speed that coincides with you traveling about 1821 mph, one or more of them appears to be “shimmying” or vibrating during rotation, which can make your pickup feel like it’s shaking. Wheel shimmy can be caused by any number of things: a tire/wheel that’s not balanced; steering that is out of alignment; a weak shock absorber; one or more tires that is under- or overinflated; loose lug nuts; loose or damaged suspension components, etc. In the interest of safety, I’d have a mechanic or tire technician give your S10 a thorough inspection and maybe even a test-drive to try to diagnose the problem and repair it. Though the wheel shimmy may not be much more than a nuisance right now since it’s only at a certain speed, left un-repaired it might wear out other components and lead to a bigger repair bill down the line.

TO THE DOC4I have a 2001 Dodge Neon. I bought it used, and it had

18,000 miles on it. It has backfired three times in the last six months. I only live two minutes away from work and never take it on the highway. But I am planning a trip of 55 miles each way, and I’m worried about my car. I know backfiring has to do with the carburetor, but that’s the extent of my knowledge. Please help! Rhonda Via email

THE DOC SAYS4Your Neon has a fuel-injected engine, and while back-

driving between 18 and 21 miles per hour, the truck shakes. It doesn’t matter if I’m increasing or decreasing speed, and it only happens between 18 and 21 miles per hour. Amy Via email

firing in fuel-injected engines is rare, it is not without precedent. Backfiring in a fuel-injected engine is generally caused by an intake leak or when a component like an airflow sensor is damaged or defective. It doesn’t sound as if the condition is causing any drivability problems, but it is indicative of a problem, one that could turn into a major issue if left untreated.

THE DOC SAYS4Sounds like it’s a problem with the wheel

Our advice? Take the vehicle to a trusted mechanic or technician and describe the problem. If it’s something as simple as a balky airflow sensor, the fix shouldn’t be too expensive. An intake leak could be more difficult to pinpoint and repair, but fixing the issue should help restore your car’s power and performance, and would be well worth the expense in our opinion. 

rotation on your vehicle. From the description you gave, when the

VehicleMD On Call Have a car question for the VehicleMD “doctor“? Email it to:

The advice described above is for informational purposes only. It cannot and should not be used in lieu of an actual, physical inspection and diagnosis by a trained mechanic or automotive technician. The opinions and advice offered herein are not intended to diagnose automotive problems or component failures; they are simply intended to provide information on what could be transpiring. VehicleMD accepts no liability resulting from actions taken as a result of this advice.

Get more information at: 6 VehicleMD

Changing my oil every 3,000 miles has given me 400,000 miles!

Bob Hackler and his 2004 Toyota Tacoma

Find a member near you 800.331.0329

“I don’t care what the manufacturers are saying about how you can now drive longer between oil changes. I am sticking with 3,000 mile oil changes because I know it works and my truck is living proof.” Bob Hackler Dallas, Texas

Stay the course...stick with 3,000 mile oil change intervals.

Splat AutoClean

Car R x

Fantastic Finds for You & Your Ride

TAG Heuer Squadra Sunglasses

Squadra sunglasses are designed with form and function to appeal to everyone from professional racers to spectators. Impact-resistant stainless steel temples hold the rimless, ophthalmic-quality shield for uninterrupted vision and protection against wind, debris and the sun’s rays. There’s also a new Kurt Busch limited edition, with distinctive twotone arms in Busch’s new team colors, along with his signature etched into outside the corner of the left lens.

Splat is a high-viscosity putty that you can mold into your car’s nooks and crannies, where it will collect the dust and debris hiding in those crannies. Use it to clean your air vents, inside your gearshift box or even behind your door handles. It’s also reusable and leaves no residue.


The BedRug is a truck bed liner that looks and feels like carpet. BedRug is water and stain resistant, and holds up to bleach, oil and even battery acid. Designed to act as a shock absorber, it is soft to the touch and easy on the knees, while it protects the bed from any damage.


Safety Girl

What girl can turn down something pink? Give that special lady in your life a pink roadside emergency kit. It contains everything she needs to stay safe in her car—from an emergency blanket to instructions on how to change a flat tire. There are a few things for her personal emergencies too, like lip moisturizer, a sewing kit and chocolate.

8 VehicleMD

Motormouse is a wireless digital computer mouse inspired by an iconic sports car. It’s loaded with chrome alloy wheels, real rubber tires, headlights that flash when batteries need changing and a hibernation feature. Motormouse is available in a variety of colors and is perfect for that “dad” or “grad” gift you’ve been looking for.

Be Smart Ride Safe

Collision Kit

The collision kit from Buttoned Up ensures you have everything you need to record the details of a car accident. Inside are a disposable flash camera to visually document damage, pre-formatted forms for collecting information from all parties, a pen, a clipboard and an envelope for keeping registration and insurance documents.

Passchal Mary Ann Bag

It’s hard to beat a super cute, earth-friendly bag, but the Mary Ann raises the bar. Like all Passchal bags, the Mary Ann is made from recycled tractor tire inner tubes and eco-friendly leather, but 10 percent of its proceeds go to the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance. Tuberous Sclerosis Complex is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in many different organs. Every dollar spent finding a cure for TSC may also bring quantum leaps in our understanding of epilepsy, autism and even cancer. This bag helps the environment, helps to find a cure and is gorgeous, too!

Summer is the peak time of year for traveling with pets. You always wear your seatbelt, but is your pet safe in the car, too? Unrestrained pets can distract drivers, and an unrestrained 60-pound pet becomes a 2,700-pound projectile in a crash at just 35 mph. If you vow to travel safely with your pets this summer, visit Bark Buckle Up and take the pledge to Be Smart Ride Safe.

Garmin nüvi

Need a little help with driving directions this summer? Hand the reins over to Garmin nüvi 2400 Series. The series, comprised of four models, offers a plethora of sophisticated features. The large five-inch diagonal display is easy on the eyes, while options like voice activation, traffic alerts and enhanced route calculation make traveling across town or crosscountry easier than ever. 9


Automotive Advice For Women

Summer Road Trips

Batteries Not Included

By Kaeli Gardner VehicleMD Contributing Writer


welcome warmth of summer has arrived at last, and with it comes the all-too-familiar itch to settle into your bucket seat for a long day’s drive powered by too much coffee and junk food. Yes, it’s road trip time once again—but before you head out on that highway, please make sure you give your car the requisite onceover so you’re not surprised and stranded on a lonely stretch of road in the middle of nowhere (which is where such events invariably occur). You know the basics—oil, tire pressure, tread depth, but I also want you to pay a little attention to your battery. First, a story. I haven’t always been a font

happened? Did my engine just really go boom? That can’t be good. Then I noticed that I had no power—not even the faint glow of a struggling dashboard clock. With a pained sigh, I pulled the hood release and went into the belly of the beast. Long story short—my battery caps had blown off! Little did I know, pressure had been building inside my six-year-old battery. The chemical reaction inside your battery creates oxygen, and the vents in older batteries tend to clog so the oxygen builds up inside until...BOOM! I’d been driving a time bomb! Now I wouldn’t wish for anyone, least of all you, dear readers, to suffer the same fate. So, I give you Kaeli’s Top Five Battery Tips: 1. Seek out the shade! According to the Car Care Council, excessive heat and overcharging are two of the main reasons for shortened battery life.

of automotive advice. Ten years ago I didn’t know my headlight from a handsaw. One normal day I made my way to my car and, turning the key in my ignition, was greeted by a terrible sound—BOOM! The silence that followed was intense. What had just

10 VehicleMD

2. Disconnect it! Not driving for a while? Disconnect the connector from the negative terminal of your battery if you know the car will not be driven for two weeks or longer. This will help prevent a gradual drain from powering the clock and other passive items. However, make sure you keep the connec-

tor away from the battery when you close the hood. 3. Keep it clean! Clean the battery terminals on the top of the battery every three months or so with a wire brush. This ensures there’s nothing between the terminals and the connectors to interrupt the power supply. Also, ensure the terminals are nice and tight to prevent power drainage which may make it difficult to start your car. 4. Test it! If you’ve had your battery for a year or more, it’s probably a good idea to have it tested. Make it a part of your maintenance routine—whenever you have your oil changed, ask for a load test. If you haven’t had your battery tested in a while, head to your trusted service provider or a local parts store and ask them to test it for you. 5. Replace it! This is the biggie that I can’t stress enough. If your battery is more than three years old, it’s time to think about replacing it. Batteries should be replaced every three to five years. Also, don’t skimp on the battery purchase if you’re able. A good battery should come with a three-year replacement guarantee at the very least. Follow these tips as you hit the road this summer, and may all your road trips be happy ones!  KAELI GARDNER lives in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee where she works as a writer, artist and web marketing manager for Ask Patty, helping to empower women nationwide to take control of their own vehicle repair. Read more of her wisdom and wit at the blog.

Run Forever With…

Synthetic Motor Oil

keeping it


Synthetic Motor Oil Can Help Keep Your Engine in Pristine Condition—Just Ask the Racecar Teams That Use It by Garrett McKinnon VehicleMD Staff Writer

We’ve all heard the old saying that cleanliness is next to godliness—which probably makes my closet a little bit unholy. But there is a point to that saying. After all, how many of us really like to live in filth. One place where grunge should certainly not call home is inside your engine. Even tiny particles of dirt, dust, sludge, etc. can do significant long-term damage if allowed to circulate in an engine for too long. That’s why motor oil is formulated to “grab” those particles and keep them in suspension until they’re trapped by the oil filter. The simple truth is, however, that not all motor oils are created equal when it comes to their ability to clean the inside of your engine. At high temperatures, under high loads or long service, some conventional motor oils can break down and actually contribute to the sludgy mess they’re trying to prevent. High quality synthetic motor oils are designed to take the abuse. Some specially formulated synthetics not only lubricate moving engine parts to reduce friction and power loss, they also help keep engines clean by seeking out and dissolving contaminants into the oil before they can form deposits in the engine. These formulations help keep engines as close to factory clean as possible, and far exceed the most stringent car manufacturer standards for cleanliness and protection. They go way beyond just lubricating an engine! But, not all synthetics are created equal and in some cases synthetic doesn’t always equal better. Be sure to choose quality synthetic motor oils. You don’t have to take our word for it, either. Some racecar teams use the exact same synthetic motor oil in their

racing engines that you can purchase at automotive service facilities for use in your car. One such team is Penske Racing, which uses Pennzoils Ultra Euro formulation in its Honda Indy V8 engines as they run in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series (including this month’s Indianapolis 500 race). These high-revving 3.5L V8 engines (about the same size as the engine in a Camry or Sentra, but with eight cylinders instead of six) can generate about 650 horsepower and turn faster than 10,000 rpm, or nearly twice as fast as a typical passenger car engine. That level of performance demands a hard-working motor oil to keep the engine clean.

Some racecar teams use the exact same synthetic motor oil in their racing engines that you can purchase at automotive service facilities for use in your car.

12 VehicleMD

“The engines we build are designed to deliver extremely high power outputs and reach very high engine speeds in each race, and our dyno testing has demonstrated that Pennzoil Ultra provides the top-tier lubrication performance that our engines require,” said Roger Griffiths, technical director of Honda Performance Development. While your car’s engine may not work as hard as an IndyCar racer’s engine, chances are it still works pretty hard, especially when you’re hauling the soccer team to a match on a 90° day or towing a boat to the lake. To make sure your car’s engine is staying as factory-clean as possible, ask your service technician about synthetic motor oil and why it could be right for you. 


PENNZOIL ULTRA™—NOTHING KEEPS YOUR ENGINE CLOSER TO FACTORY CLEAN.* We designed Pennzoil Ultra™ synthetic oil for your car. But it performs so well, Team Penske is using it in its IZOD IndyCar Series cars†. Unchanged. Unaltered. The same factory-clean Pennzoil Ultra™ you can buy. So if you’re wondering what synthetic you should Not just oil, Pennzoil. use, ask Team Penske. ®

Current Standard** Pennzoil Ultra™


*Based on Sequence VG sludge test using SAE 5W-30.**Pistons from standard V6 engine in ASTM Sequence IIIG test. †Penske IZOD IndyCar® Series cars use Pennzoil Ultra™ Euro 5W-40. Penske Racing, Inc. 2011. All trademarks used with permission of their respective owners. ©2011 SOPUS Products. All rights reserved.

Run Forever With… by Tammy Neal VehicleMD Staff Writer

Summer Preparation



Make sure your car is ready for its journey ahead


his blue planet we live on offers four seasons (for most of us), and it’s usually pretty easy to spot with a glance which one Mother Nature has offered up. On a winter day you might see white stuff covering the ground, gaze upon trees without their leaves and feel a chill in the air. On the other hand, a summer day usually holds sunny skies, leafy trees and the occasional wildflower. It’s not hard to see that things have changed with the seasons. But wait—are those snow tires on a car headed to the beach? Mother Nature has taken care of choreographing the seasons and, hopefully, now it feels like summer; however, it’s your responsibility to make sure your car is ready for the impending warmer weather. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.

Summer Sparkle

No More Snow

We know, there can be that freak June snowstorm in some parts of the country, but here’s hoping you’ve seen the last of the white stuff for a while. Now is the time to change out your snow tires. Plus, in some parts of the country it is against the law to run snow tires after a certain date.

Make sure winter’s road grime has completely disappeared by washing, waxing and polishing your car. Experts recommend polishing your vehicle four times a year to clear contaminants and reduce the chance of oxidation. Waxing your car will help to seal any microscopic cracks in the paint and protect the finish from summer’s sweltering heat.

Lights, Camera, Action

Just kidding about the camera, but before you venture out on your next journey, make sure all of your vehicle’s lights are working properly. Burned out or malfunctioning light bulbs can not only be dangerous, but they could also land you a traffic ticket. Here are some important ones to inspect: headlamps, taillights, brake lights, side markers and license plate lamps.

14 VehicleMD

Fluids Full?

Before heading out on your road trip, pop the hood and check your fluid reservoirs, like windshield washer fluid, coolant (Note: do not open the radiator cap if the engine is hot!), motor oil, power steering fluid, etc. Each reservoir should be marked with a fill line. If you spot one that’s low and don’t feel comfortable filling it yourself, head to your auto service center; many of them will often do it for free.

What’s That Smell?

Although you might not need it quite yet, crank up your air conditioning to ensure it’s functioning properly. If it is not getting as cold as you would like, take a trip to your auto service center; they can likely diagnose and fix the problem for you. Did you get a whiff of foulsmelling air when you first turned on the A/C? If so, it may be a sign that mold and mildew are living in your air conditioning system. Ask your auto service technician about an A/C odor removal service. Performing one not only zaps that nasty smell, but it also makes the air healthier for you to breathe.

Have Your Tech Check

While you’re at your service center, have your technician visually inspect your filters, hoses and belts. Spotting one before it fails not only saves money—in the form of expensive repair bills—it also saves grief, because no one likes being stranded on the side of the road.

Be Prepared

Pack a summer survival kit. You probably won’t have to rough it in the wilderness with nothing but a buck knife and duct tape, but your family might have a bee-sting or sunburn emergency. Be prepared for it all with a summer emergency pack; don’t forget the bottled water, sunscreen, umbrella, bug spray or first-aid kit, just to name a few. Making sure your car is ready for summer takes only minutes and can help keep you safe, happy and on the road, no matter where your summer travels take you.

Up to Date

While you’re giving your vehicle the onceover, make a stop in the glove box. Check to see that your vehicle registration, insurance and inspection are current.

Air ’Em Up

Driving with underinflated tires can be detrimental to fuel economy, and with rising gas prices we need all the help we can get. Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure. Tires lose about one psi of air pressure per month, and a tire that is underinflated by two psi can reduce fuel economy by one percent. While you’re at it, visually inspect your tires for any abnormalities such as cracking or bulging. If you spot something strange, it may be time for a new tire.

Before the Storm

Spray some water on your windshield and test your wiper blades. It’s better to find out now that they’re past their prime than in the middle of the first summer rainstorm. Wiper blades usually last about six months, and winter’s cold and summer’s heat can both speed up deterioration.  15

Make It Shine…

Bug Remover

PEST CONTROL Keeping the Creepy-Crawlies off Your Car’s Finish

by Kara Bishop VehicleMD Staff Writer


ometimes driving at dusk can be really frustrating. You realize it’s getting dark, so you turn on your lights (for those of us that still have to turn our lights on manually), and see the swarm of bugs outside your windshield just waiting to come in contact with it. You just washed your car, so you cringe at the thought of all the bug remains that will be decorating the front end of your vehicle when you reach your destination. It can be easy to just give up in this situation, let the bugs splatter all over the car and leave them there. They will wear off eventually, right? They may wear off over time, but unfortunately they will leave nasty stains on your paint job in the process. Washing the bug remains off with soap and water takes a huge amount of elbow grease, and most of the time you’re left with smears on the exterior of your car anyway.

Making the Impossible Possible

However, there are ways to maintain the exterior of your vehicle without cursing or breaking a sweat. There are “bug-removal” products available that can assist your elbow in removing those pesky things from your ride, which deserves to be beautiful.

You Are Not Alone

Owning a car is one of the biggest investments a person will make in their lifetime. Not only do you want your car working good, you want to keep it looking good as well. Jim Davis Sea Foam Sales

You may not want the bugs left on your car, but the daunting task of choosing the right bug-removal product that is safe for said car can be disheartening. However, you don’t have to make the choice on your own. Automotive service technicians can answer most questions about car maintenance products, and even cleaning supplies stores have experts that can give you advice on what product to use. If you are concerned about the environment, make sure you choose a bug remover that is biodegradable. Putting a few ounces of the product you choose in your windshield wiper solution can also be a big help, because it keeps the bug bodies from smearing when you try to clean them off while driving.

“Owning a car is one of the biggest investments a person will make in their lifetime,” said Jim Davis, technical service manager for Sea Foam Sales. “Not only do you want your car working good, you want to keep it looking good as well.”

Some products conveniently serve a dual purpose and can be used to clean multiple surfaces. You can keep money in the bank by choosing a bug remover that cleans multiple exteriors with a variety of stains. So the next time you see the swarm of bugs headed for your windshield, you can rest at ease knowing you have the product that can safely and quickly remove those nasty bugs that are trying to rain on your parade. 

16 VehicleMD

Saving Money!

Keep your vehicle bug-free this summer

Bugs B Gone速 Cleaning pesky bugs off your car and other surfaces is no longer impossible! Highly versatile vehicle and boat cleaner. Specially formulated to safely remove bugs & other organic residues from any surface in less time!

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After Bugs B Gone soaks in, water further activates it, allowing you to easily wipe bugs & grime away. Works best on cool & dry surfaces.

Bio-degradable, non-toxic, non-flammable and low odor.

Ask your auto technician about Sea Foam products today! Visit our website at

Be Safe With...

Headlight Restoration

by Garrett McKinnon VehicleMD Staff Writer

LET THERE BE LIGHT! Headlight Restoration Can Make Your Headlights Work—and Look—Like New


our car takes a beating. Unless it’s garaged 24/7—and it wouldn’t be something you drive then, would it—your car is under constant assault from the elements. Sun. Wind. Rain. Dirt. Road grime. Salt. Many drivers will first start to notice this assault taking its toll on their headlights. Most modern headlights are protected by a clear piece of plastic laminate. Unfortunately, this laminate is particularly susceptible to things like ultraviolet rays from the sun, acid rain, road salt, etc. After your car sits outside for a few years, waiting patiently for you while you toil away at work, shop or run errands, this laminate can begin to become yellow or cloudy. Not only does this make your car look less than perfect, it also affects how well your car’s headlights work. Thankfully, there is a new service on the market that can restore your car’s headlights to nearly new condition. It’s called headlight restoration or headlight cleaning, and it works by carefully removing the dull, oxidized outer layer of the laminate headlight cover and then applying a protective coating to seal the surface. Your automotive service technician will begin by sanding the headlight cover with gradually finer grits of sandpaper, removing the cloudy, yellowed layer of laminate. Once the damaged layer is removed, the technician applies a resin or resurfacing product that restores the lens coating. The final product will appear almost like new, but will cost hundreds of dollars less than replacing the actual laminate cover. Plus, if your taillights or turn signal covers are yellowed and oxidized, those can often be restored, as well. 18 VehicleMD

Not only will the service make your car look a lot better, but the headlights will work better, as well. Tests have shown that restored laminate covers will shine with 90 percent or more of the headlights’ original candlepower. Compare that with the yellowed lenses your car currently has, which may be shining at less than 50 percent efficiency. Some Tests have shown that drivers have compared restored laminate covers will it to driving in the dark with your sunglasses on. shine with 90 percent or more Unfortunately, the drop in efficiency as the headof the headlights' original light covers age comes on so gradually, most candlepower. drivers don’t recognize it. With the winter driving season meaning longer nights, it’s more important than ever to make sure your headlights are working at peak efficiency, allowing you to see the road in front of you—and allowing other drivers to see you coming. In the vast majority of cases, a headlight cover can be restored in about 10 minutes or less, and the cost is nominal compared to the hundreds you might spend on a replacement. So give your car the once over, and if its headlight covers are yellow or cloudy, ask your service technician about headlight restoration, a service that will make your car look better, and keep you safer. 

Stay Safe…

by Kara Bishop VehicleMD Staff Writer

Safe Driving Tips

Safe Drivers are

Happy Drivers T

hose pesky speed limit signs can really disrupt busy schedules. Sometimes it may be easier to ignore them, but unfortunately, thinking like this causes accidents. Therefore, to prevent a good day from turning into an “I wish I was never born” day, here are some well-advised safe driving tips to keep you smiling, on the road and away from the hospital.

Don’t Drive Drunk According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 30 percent of all auto accident fatalities in the United States involve drivers impaired by alcohol. It may be an inconvenience to call a cab, but it could save someone’s life—including your own.

Don’t Speed Speed limits were instated for a reason. Research shows that for every mile per hour you drive, the likelihood of your being in an accident increases by four to five percent. The risk is even greater at higher speeds. What’s the solution? If you want to be sure you’re on time, leave earlier than normal. Get up that 30 minutes earlier to blow-dry your hair or iron your shirt.

Avoid Distractions You’re driving down the interstate, fighting with your spouse, yelling at your kids for being too loud, your cell phone is ringing, all while you’re trying to slam down a sandwich. At this rate, you could be in a fatal accident within seconds. Another big issue facing drivers today is texting behind the wheel, which is nothing but distracting. The best advice on how to handle this would probably come from “The Doors” rocker Jim Morrison, “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.”

Wear Your Seatbelt

Imagine all the lives that could be saved by following this simple tip. 20 VehicleMD

Besides, if you don’t click it, you get a ticket. According to the NHTSA, more than 13,000 lives are saved by seatbelts every year. One of them could be yours.

Don’t Tailgate

Nothing is more aggravating than when you’re being tailed, especially when you’re going the appropriate speed limit. Not only is it unsafe for you, but it can be fatal to the car in front of you, as well as cars on either side of you. Car accidents rarely involve just one car.

Be on the Defensive

SAFE DRIVING TIPS 1. Don’t drive drunk. 2. Don’t speed. 3. Avoid distractions. 4. Wear your seatbelt. 5. Don’t tailgate. 6. Be on the defensive.

This is one of those times when it’s okay to not be the assertive, 7. Keep your vehicle safe. ambitious, offensive individual. Instead, being cautious, watching out for the other guy and allowing someone to come into your lane is the best approach. Especially if they’re going to get in your lane anyway—even if it means running into you.

Keep Your Vehicle Safe

If your vehicle is not inspected annually and is not properly maintained, there’s a higher chance that it won’t be in good shape after a long car ride. It is imperative that vehicles are inspected and maintained if you want to ensure safe travels, whether you’re on holiday or just going to the grocery store. Take your car into a shop before a long trip to ensure that you and your family arrive at your destination safely. 

Know Your Stuff

Famous Cars That Need a Tune-Up


Eight Cars from the Big (and Small) Screen that Definitely Need a Tune-Up by Garrett McKinnon, VehicleMD Staff Writer

We could have done it. It would have been easy, in fact. Just cobble together a list of our favorite cars from movies and television. Like the 1981 DeLorean from “Back to the Future.” Or the ’59 Cadillac ambulance from “Ghostbusters.” Or “Eleanor,” the 1967 Mustang GT500 from “Gone in Sixty Seconds.” Too easy. No, what we decided to do was come up with the top cars from TV and the movies that need tune-ups. We set out to


The Car: 1978 Ford Mustang Cobra II The Show:“Charlie’s Angels” The Driver:“Jill Munroe” (Farah Fawcett)

While it might have been in great shape on the show, that wasn’t saying a lot. Sharing a chassis with the oftpanned Pinto, the mid-1970s Mustang developed a reputation as a rust magnet. Plus, the Cobra’s 4.9L V8 (even though Ford called it a 5.0L) only managed to wheeze out a paltry 140 horsepower. No amount of spoilers and racing stripes could help a car that your garden variety Camry would wax at the stoplight.

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find those poor, decrepit hulks that were featured prominently on screen, then share them with you. We also decided to leave out the obvious, like the demonic 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark II from “The Car” or the equally sinister (and possessed) 1958 Plymouth Belvedere from “Christine.” Worthy candidates, but we’re looking for cars that need a tune-up, not an exorcism.With that said, we present eight cars found onscreen that need mechanical help in a big way!


The Car: 1957 BMW Isetta The Show:“Family Matters” The Driver:“Steve Urkel” (Jaleel White)

The Car: 1956 Chevrolet 3800 The Show:“Cars” The Driver:“Mater”

He may be adorable with his country twang, but there’s no denying Mater could use a trip to the shop. All those years of running around Radiator Springs without a hood are bound to have played havoc with his engine. Plus, we’re betting that all that backwards driving might mean it’s time for new gearbox oil.

Urkel’s Isetta was mint when it first appeared on the popular TV show, but you knew that wouldn’t last long, didn’t you? All it took was one driving lesson for Urkel to mutter his popular catchphrase, “Did I do that?” If that lesson was any indication, the little Isetta needs a lot of help by now!

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The Car: 1977 AMC Pacer The Show:“Wayne’s World” The Driver:“Garth Algar” (Dana Carvey)

The flames painted on Garth’s Pacer (aka “The Mirthmobile”) certainly couldn’t have made it go any faster, though Wayne and Garth deserve credit for stuffing the entire crew into the tiny car during the famous “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene. Still, like any Pacer of that era, mechanical reliability is not its strong suit. If Wayne and Garth are still patrolling the streets of Aurora, Illinois, in The Mirthmobile, it’s likely they’ve experienced no car trouble at all. Not!

The Car: 1984 Ford Econoline The Show:“Dumb and Dumber” The Driver:“Harry Dunne” (Jeff Daniels)

He called it the “Shaggin’ Wagon,” though we’re not sure how successful Harry and best-friend Lloyd Christmas were at attracting feminine attention in the van-turneddog. What we’re more certain of is that the van’s anemic 114-horsepower engine wasn’t really up to the task of hauling around pampered pooches or transporting the duo cross-country. Turns out trading it in for the scooter might have been a better deal.

The Car: 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo The Show:“Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” The Driver:“Ace Ventura” (Jim Carrey)

Any car that you have to drive by sticking your head out the side window desperately needs some work done. Couple that with Ace Ventura’s, ahem, erratic driving style and you have all the makings of a car in need of a tune-up. Not to mention a good interior cleaning. Alllllll-righty then!



The Car: 1963 Chevrolet C-10 The Show:“Twilight” The Driver:“Bella Swan” (Kristen Stewart)

We know it was a 1953 Chevy in the book, but we’ll go with the dilapidated ’63 in the movie. Sure, Bella loved it and all, but any truck nearly a half-century old is going to need some mechanical TLC on a frequent basis.

The Car: 1975 Mercury Marquis Brougham The Show:“Uncle Buck” The Driver:“Buck Russell” (John Candy)

If you’ve never seen this John Hughes classic, it’s worth the watch simply to see Buck’s beater of a car belching smoke as it lumbers down the road and backfiring loudly after it’s been shut off. It’s quite possibly the worst car ever put on screen, and if Buck really believes, as he said in the movie, that it’s got “another 100,000 miles left” in it, the Merc needs to see a mechanic. And quick!  23

Know Your Stuff by Garrett McKinnon VehicleMD Staff Writer

Warning Lights

A Wave of


What Those Pretty Lights onYour Dashboard Mean—and Why You Should Care


f you’re old enough, you’ve probably heard the term “idiot lights.” That’s what mechanics used to derisively call the warning lights on vehicle dashboards, after automakers began moving away from analog gauges to simple visual alerts (after all, do you really care what your car’s oil pressure is, as long as it has an adequate amount?). Well, we don’t imagine you’d find too many mechanics who still use that term these days. Especially with automakers stuffing more and more warning lights into vehicles. These days, you almost need an advanced degree to decipher some of the pictograms car manufacturers are using to alert you to different systems on your vehicle. Plus, not

all automakers use the same symbols in the same way. Fortunately for you, that’s where we come in. We’ve assembled a dashboard’s worth of warning lights, many common but others not. (We’re ignoring the simple worded messages that many carmakers use in favor of deciphering only the pictogram lights.) Note that these lights may not be universal, as some automakers have their own favored warning lights, and you should check your owners manual to be certain. Still, these are generally in widespread use. Read on to find out what each means, and why it’s important.

OIL PRESSURE Absolutely the most important warning light in your vehicle. If this light comes on and stays on, it means your engine is not receiving sufficient oil. Drive with this light on for more than a minute or two, and you could turn a minor problem into major engine damage.

PARK ASSIST A relative newcomer, this light tells you when your vehicle’s park assist system is functioning and, for self-parking vehicles, when your car is parking itself. Like you wouldn’t know otherwise.

COOLANT TEMPERATURE This light means the coolant/antifreeze mixture in your car’s engine is running at a higher-thanoptimum temperature, and usually means there is something mechanically wrong with the vehicle. You might be able to limp to a repair shop at low speed, but our advice would be to stop the car as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

CHECK ENGINE Officially termed a Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL), this light most often indicates a problem with your vehicle’s emissions system and, if flashing, that the problem requires immediate attention to avoid engine damage.

BATTERY/CHARGING ALERT When you see the little battery symbol, it means your car’s charging system is not functioning as it should. Drive with this symbol on for too long and you could end up stranded with a dead battery.

FRONT FOG LAMPS This alert tells you your car’s front fog lamps are on.

SERVICE VEHICLE SOON Different automakers use different variations of this light, but any time you see a wrench in some form or fashion, there’s a good chance your car is telling you it’s time for routine service.

REAR FOG LAMPS Didn’t know cars had rear fog lights? Many European models do, and this alert lets you know when they’re on.

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LAMP OUT Tells you there’s an exterior light on your car that is not working.

ABS FAULT Indicates a problem with your car’s anti-lock braking system. Get the brakes checked, stat.

DOOR AJAR Used to, cars would just ding when you left a door open. Now, they have a light to tell you there’s a door not closed. Some models will even illuminate a specific door.

TRACTION CONTROL Illuminates to tell you your vehicle’s traction control and/or anti-skid system is in use. Usually means it’s a good idea to slow down, because conditions are slippery.

TPMS ALERT This is a function of your car’s Tire Pressure Monitoring System, which tells you one or more of your car’s tires is low.

ICY CONDITIONS Bet you didn’t know your car was a weatherman (or weatherperson), did you? Well, many makes display this symbol to let you know outside conditions are favorable for icy roads.

CRUISE CONTROL A newer light to let you know your cruise control is set.

ESP FAULT On some models, indicates a problem with the vehicle’s anti-skid or electronic stability systems.

WASHER FLUID Let’s you know your vehicle’s windshield washer fluid is low.

AIR BAG FAULT If this light stays on for more than a few seconds after the car is started, it means the vehicle has found a fault in the airbag system. Have it serviced as soon as possible.

GLOW PLUG Found on diesel vehicles, this light tells you the engine’s glow plugs are warming up, meaning you should wait to start the engine until the light extinguishes.

FAN FAULT Some European models display this light to alert drivers to a problem with the vehicle’s cooling fan. Chances are if you see it, you’ll soon see the Coolant Temperature light, too.

TRANSMISSION TEMPERATURE A newer light that informs you when your vehicle’s transmission is operating at a higher-than-optimum temperature. Towing a trailer or hauling a heavy load at high ambient temps might cause this light, to turn on but it’s a safe bet you need to pull over. If it stays on, it’s time to have a trained mechanic give the transmission a once-over.

SECURITY ALERT The lock symbol can alert drivers to a number of issues, the majority of which deal with the car’s security system.

BRAKE SYSTEM While U.S. vehicles mainly display the word “BRAKE”, many foreign makes use this symbol, which could indicate a problem with your vehicle’s brake system. (In domestic cars, it could indicate that your parking brake is on.) A word of advice: If it stays on, get your brakes checked out.

HAZARD ALERT Could indicate your car’s hazard lights are on, though some carmakers use it as a catch-all alert to an undiagnosed problem in the vehicle.  25



Even if your summer plans don’t lead you down Route 66, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with two sixes. Check out DoubleTake to see if you can spot the six differences between the photos, or at right, find six degrees of separation between two famous Fords.

DoubleTake Double

Can you spot the six differences between these two pictures?

Degrees of Separation



Henry Ford founded Ford Motor Company in 1903.

Ford Motor Company introduced the Lincoln Town Car in 1959.

Matthew McConaughey starred in the 2011 flick “The Lincoln Lawyer,” where he conducts legal business from the back of his Lincoln Town Car.

McConaughey co-starred with Jennifer Lopez in the 2001 film “The Wedding Planner.”

Lopez was the voice of Azteca (a worker ant) in the 1998 animated movie “Antz.”

1. The red section of the girl’s headband is larger. 2. There is one less palm tree. 3. The antenna on the hood is missing. 4. The girl’s bracelet is pink. 5. The car has a black stripe. 6. The left side mirror is missing. 26 VehicleMD

Harrison Ford has an ant named after him, the Peidole harrisonfordi, in honor of his work in conservation.