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VehicleMD

EXTEND YOUR CAR’S LIFE | ROAD SIGN QUIZ

®

A Driver's Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Car

www.vehiclemd.com

Can You Really Drive

a MILLION Miles?

Save the Planet Get an Oil Change

Protect Your Car from Winter’s Fury

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


www.ecopoweroil.com


VehicleMD

EDITOR'S NOTE

®

Staff: Staff:

Steve Hurt, Publisher Garrett McKinnon, Editor Tammy Neal, Features Editor Eliseo Torres, Sales & Marketing Director Sheila Beam, Advertising Director Chad Montgomery, Advertising Sales Misty Dolan, Production Director Mai Lee, Circulation Manager Kara Bishop, Staff Writer/ Production Assistant Bethany Hurt, Staff Assistant Jessika Bailey, Office Assistant Shannon Lamb, Circulation Assistant

Published four times a year by SHREC Communications, 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: circulation@vehiclemd.com Advertisers — Advertising rates for print and Internet are available upon request. Please contact Eliseo Torres at etorres@vehiclemd. com for display advertising deadlines and other 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: info@vehiclemd.com

Winter 2011 Volume 4, No. 4 ISSN 1948-4674

To the Moon and Back, Twice A million is so large that sometimes it seems too unreal to comprehend. Just think—there are slightly more than one million minutes in two years; one million pennies is equal to $10,000; and one million miles is approximately two round trips to the moon. Now that you’re thinking about how much a million really is, think about this: have you driven a million miles in your lifetime? What would you think if I told you there are people who have—and in one car, nonetheless. That’s right! It is possible to put one million miles, or more, on a vehicle. Not only is it possible, it’s the theme of this issue. We’re showing you how to get the most from your daily driver and keep it running and looking great for many, many miles to come. Records show that Irv Gordon has amassed the most miles on one vehicle. He is preparing to hit the three-million-mile mark early next year. (That’s more than six round trips to the moon!) Gordon bought his 1966 Volvo P1800S brand new and put 1,500 miles on the car the first 48 hours he had it. To read more about this and other million-mile vehicles, and how their owners achieved that mark, check out the story on page 18. Here are a few of my favorite tips found throughout the issue about how to make your vehicle last a million miles: 1. Drive. The only way you’ll get the odometer to cross the 999,999-mile-threshold is by driving your vehicle. If your goal is a million miles, it’s a sure bet you love driving, and you love your car. 2. On time, every time. Drivers with a million miles under their belts usually credit one thing to getting them that far, and that’s regular maintenance. Just like we need to eat right, exercise, take our vitamins and visit a doctor once in a while, the same is true for your car. To keep it running perfectly, no matter what the mileage, follow your owners manual and make sure it’s getting the required services and checkups at the proper intervals. 3. Healthy inside, healthy outside. Tip number-two focuses on making sure your car is healthy on the inside, but it’s common sense that on a trip to a million miles a vehicle needs to be healthy on the outside, too. Washing, waxing and detailing your car regularly not only helps keep road grime (which is especially awful in the winter) and rust at bay, it helps you feel better about your car. After all, no one wants to drive a million miles in an ugly, dirty car. I haven’t sent one of my personal cars’ odometers to the million-mile mark just yet, but I have seen one well on its way. My dad retired his Dodge Ram pickup that he used in his mobile veterinary practice at just shy of 400,000 miles. How did he get it there? By following advice his father gave him, “Change the oil at its proper interval, and use the correct oil.” I’m using the advice from my favorite magazine, along with that from my grandpa, in hopes of one day having a million-mile vehicle of my own. I hope you do the same!

Tammy Neal www.twitter.com/vehiclemd editor@vehiclemd.com Find us on: www.vehiclemd.com 3


VehicleMD

WHAT'S INSIDE: WINTER 2011

®

10

K eep I t R unning F orever

10 From Jets to ‘Vettes

How synthetic motor oil derived from lubricants used in jet engines, and how it offers the ultimate in protection for your car.

12 A Long-Lasting Love

A quick and easy way to give your car’s engine the love it deserves.

12

G o G reen

22 Save the Planet. Get an Oil Change. Even motor oil is “going green” with new re-refined formulations.

M ake I t S hine 24 Waging War Against Winter

Keep your car’s finish protected from the elements when the weather turns cold.

A sk P atty 14 Tips to Extend Life of Your Vehicle Some tips for prolonging your ride’s life well into its “golden years.”

T he B ack P age 26 Signs of the Times

Do you recognize these road signs?

K now Y our S tuff 16 The Truth About Ethanol

It might make for great politics, but ethanolblended fuel is not without its problems.

16

18 Seven Figures

22

Believe it or not, it is possible to hit a million miles or more on your car’s odomoter if you follow these maintenance and car-care tips.

20 For the Record

Why keeping comprehensive maintenance and car-care records can be beneficial when it comes time to sell.

20

4 VehicleMD

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS Company Name

Page No.

Phone No.

Website

AutoTex PINK AMSOIL, INC. Castrol Lucas Oil Products, Inc. QMI Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc. Sea Foam Sales Company

15 800.692.3962 www.autotexpink.com 5 800.777.8491 www.amsoil.com 28 888.227.8765 www.castrol.com/us 17 800.342.2512 www.lucasoil.com 7 800.378.7891 www.qmiitw.com 2 972.265.2307 www.ecopoweroil.com 13 800.536.4812 www.seafoamsales.com

VehicleMD Valvoline

25 800.331.3713 www.vehiclemd.com 27 800.622.6846 www.valvoline.com


ASK THE DOC

answer auto experts

your questions

TO THE DOC4 I have an automatic 1993 Saturn SC, and for the past

couple of months it has been making clicking or popping noises whenever I put it in drive or reverse. It worries me, but I was told that it was just some electrical indicators or something that makes the car shift gears. I am not sure, and it scares me whenever I hear it. It seems like when it is hot outside it gets louder. If you have an answer for what could be causing this, please reply back. I would appreciate it! Hannah Via email

THE DOC SAYS4Noises coming from an automatic transmission

could mean a number of things. As long as the car is operating well (not stalling, not hesitating or jerking between shifts, etc.), it’s likely that the problem isn’t too serious, just a noisy inconvenience. While it’s impossible to know for certain what the noise could be (it’s likely you’d have to take the car to a mechanic or technician to get a definitive diagnosis), from your description it’s likely one of two things: 1: A problem with the shift interlock mechanism, the system that prevents you from shifting into gear (either Drive or Reverse) unless your foot is on the brake. To test this, we recommend going to a parking lot or other well-cleared area, putting the car in Park, engaging the emergency brake, then trying to shift into gear without stepping on the brake. If you can do this, it means the interlock mechanism is not functioning and you will need to exercise caution whenever you put the car in gear. 2: A problem with the constant velocity (or CV) joint that mesh your car’s halfshaft (or axle shafts) and front wheels. Over time, especially when the plastic or rubber boot that surrounds and protects the CV joint wears, these joints can loosen due to wear, debris or other factors. When this happens, you often hear

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

6 VehicleMD

a “clunk” or “click” coming from the front of the vehicle whenever it’s put in gear. If they’re not repaired, the CV joints may eventually fail and leave your car without power. Again, without a physical inspection, it’s impossible to know for certain if one of these is the correct diagnosis, but as long as the transmission appears to be operating normally, the noises may simply be a symptom of your car’s advancing years.

TO THE DOC4 I have a 2010 Pontiac Vibe, and it’s using oil. At 3,000 miles, it is down a quart. The Pontiac shop says it’s normal. Is that true?

Terry Via email

THE DOC SAYS4Inside any engine that is consuming oil, something is

wrong mechanically. It could be that a seal is missing, loose or cracked. It could be that the piston rings are ill-fitting or worn. Or perhaps the problem is with the oil filter (your Vibe uses a canister oil filter, which can occasionally leak if the cap is not installed correctly). The point is, we wouldn’t consider any modern vehicle (especially a newer one like yours) that is consuming a quart of oil every 3,000 miles to be “normal.” If your vehicle isn’t leaking oil (a good way to determine this is to place a piece of cardboard under the car at night; if it is still clean the next morning, chances are there are no external leaks), then oil consumption indicates an internal problem, and that oil is finding its way into one or more of your engine’s combustion chambers, where it’s being burned alongside gasoline and expelled in the exhaust. Unfortunately, internal oil leaks can be extremely difficult (and expensive) to prove to your Pontiac dealer (or any other GM dealer, as they will all perform GM warranty work) that there is a mechanical problem with the vehicle. If the car is not under any type of warranty, you might have to simply monitor the oil consumption and top the motor oil off between oil changes (a service that many auto service facilities like fast lubes will do for free). 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: www.vehiclemd.com


Car R x

Fantastic Finds for You & Your Ride True Feelings

Show other drivers how you really feel with this gadget. This LED Emoticon display uses a suction cup to attach to your window, and you can “change your mood” by using the remote control. www.sexygadgets.com

High-Tech Radar

The new Cobra iRadar is a radar/laser detector combined with an iPhone application that uses your phone’s GPS connection and Bluetooth connection to track where you are while using the Cobra database of speed and red-light cameras. Plus, it gives you an early warning when it detects a radar gun in use. www.cobra.com

Jump Smarter

Trying to jump-start your car can be a hassle, especially when it’s inconvenient for you. Michelin’s new Smart Jumper Cables will make this difficult situation easier for all. The 10-foot-long cables automatically adjust to the correct polarity and have a built-in surge protector that helps protect from personal injury. www.michelinman.com

8 VehicleMD

A New Spair

More and more vehicles are not equipped with full-size spare tires, and Slime’s Safety Spair Kit is a perfect option for those vehicles. The Safety Spair Kit helps motorists get off the road quickly and safely after a flat tire. To inflate a tire, simply attach the sealant hose to the tire valve, the air hose to the cartridge nozzle and push the green button. However, a power source is needed. www.slime.com

Go Hands-Free

There’s an easier way to use a cell phone and drive. The Jabra Cruiser2 is a Bluetooth in-car speakerphone. The Cruiser2 automatically connects your phone and address book for a simple, handsfree call while driving. No installation is needed; the device just clips onto the sun-visor. www.jabra.com


Kids Can Help Carry

Parents, make it easier on yourself when you have a child who needs a booster seat in the car. Let them carry the booster seat themselves. This convertible booster seat backpack allows your child to take along their favorite toys, too, while being safe in the car. The BoostApak is also a great option when traveling in a rental car. www.boostapak.com

Chess With A Car

Bring a car — or just it’s parts — into your home with this Car Part Chess Set. Sculptor Armando Ramirez has created each piece from recycled automotive parts; for instance, the bishops’ heads are made from spark plugs. Each set is completely unique with individual touches. Combine a love of chess and cars into one with this set. www.unique-gifts.novica.com

OnStar on Any Car

Rockin’ Rims

Pimp your ride with this new look. The Rim Stripe can be attached to any set of tire rims for a fresh new look. It is cut to your specific rim and is available in a variety of colors to coordinate with any ride. The latest addition to the line is the reflective Rim Stripe, which is good for bicycles on night rides. www.therimstripe.com

For those cars without the in-car roadside assistance technology, OnStar has created the OnStar FMV (For My Vehicle). This new rearview mirror will provide access to services such as Automatic Crash Response, Roadside Assistance and Stolen Vehicle Assistance. OnStar FMV does require a subscription to keep you connected. www.onstar.com

Pink Blades Show your support for Breast Cancer with these stylish wiper blades. AutoTex Pink has produced pink wiper blades, and a portion of the proceeds are donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation in both the United States and Canada. You’ll be supporting a worthy cause. Besides all that, they’re pink! www.autotexpink.com

www.vehiclemd.com 9


Run Forever With…

Synthetic Motor Oil

From

Jets To 'Vettes Get Supreme Protection With Synthetic Oil

By Tammy Neal VehicleMD Staff Writer

What does a fighter pilot have in common with an oil change? No, this is not an awkward beginning to a joke. The answer is synthetic oil. If you are familiar with synthetic oil, you probably know that it is some of the best motor oil money can buy. However, it’s time to take a trip to the past and learn about the history of synthetic oil and how it helps protect your vehicle, especially in winter.

Time Machine Rewind

Step into my time machine and follow me back to when carriages weren’t horseless. We’re taking a journey through time to get a glimpse at the life of synthetic oil. More than 100 years ago, scientists realized that by understanding the makeup of organic compounds (those are substances found in nature if it’s been a few years since your organic chemistry class), they could create custom molecular designs to make the substance do something special. A byproduct of this process was the invention of synthetic oil. It is “In Amatuzio’s research, he believed synthetic oil’s building found that passenger car engines blocks (synthesized hydrocaractually have more sources of bons, if you’d like to get techstress for lubricants than jet nical) were created by French engines.” chemist Charles Friedel and Ed Newman, Amsoil American chemist James Crafts in 1877. But, it was more than 50 years until the commercial development of synthesized hydrocarbons was undertaken by Standard Oil. However, with crude oil-based lubricants being plentiful and inexpensive, there was no demand for synthetic

10 VehicleMD

lubricants in 1929, and this first introduction of synthetic lubricants to the marketplace failed. The Second World War changed all that, with scientists on both sides developing synthetic engine oils, primarily for use in aircraft engines. Later, after the war, the U.S. Air Force began using synthetic oil in all its jet engines, mainly owing to the fact that the oil could function better than petroleum-based oil at the high altitudes (and corresponding cold temperatures) in which its jets operated, while also protecting the jet engines from their high operating temperatures.

From Jets to ’Vettes

Because of synthetic oil’s cold-weather benefits, the pilots who flew the aircraft began experimenting with putting the oil in their cars. (At the time, synthetic oil was not intended to be used in passenger vehicles because of the differences in engines and potential seal incompatibility; it wasn’t fiscally viable either—the military was paying $35 a quart for the stuff!) Pilots thought the used jet oil seemed clean enough to mix with conventional motor oil to help their cars with cold-weather starts. But one enterprising pilot took this theory even further. In the mid-1960s, Lt. Col. Albert Amatuzio was a jet fighter squadron commander at a northern Minnesota airbase. He had become familiar with the “extraordinary” lubricants that protected the engines of the jets he flew, and he began a research project that eventually became his second career. “Amatuzio went on a 10-year quest to find out why you couldn’t just put jet engine oil into cars,” said Ed Newman,


director of advertising for Amsoil, Inc. “He learned about how the internal combustion engine worked, seal compatibility and a lot of other things.” Amatuzio spent years traveling the country and researching. In doing so, he came to the conclusion that he would need to build his “ideal lubricant” from the ground up. Amatuzio eventually saved up enough money to hire a chemist to help out on the project. “In Amatuzio’s research he found that passenger car engines actually have more sources of stress for lubricants than jet engines do,” Newman said. “Air-aspirated car engines had to deal with the messy byproducts of combustion. The motive behind Amatuzio’s research was to bring the expanded temperature range performance, wear protection and service life that synthetic oil offered in jets to passenger vehicles.” Eventually, Amatuzio believed he had found a solution, and enlisted a friend to help. “I was the first guy to put (a specially formulated 100 percent synthetic passenger car motor oil) in a brand new car, a 1966 Ford Station Wagon,” said Jack Arotta. “Al was my squadron commander up at the air base, so I always used to joke that since Al was my squadron commander, how could I not put it in when he told me to?” After several more years of tweaking and tuning the creation, Amatuzio submitted the oil to the American Petroleum Institute for testing. And in 1972, his creation, “Amsoil,” was the first synthetic passenger car motor oil to receive certification from the API, meaning the oil met minimum performance specifications set by vehicle manufacturers and was safe to use in vehicle engines. That move opened the floodgates, with companies like Mobil and others creating their own synthetic motor oils.

Protecting Yesterday, Protecting Today

Today, nearly every oil company offers a synthetic motor oil in its product line. These oils have become more popular over the years as more people have learned about the benefits of synthetic oil and as more automakers have turned to these high-performance lubricants to give their vehicles the ultimate in protection. One of synthetic’s biggest attributes is most useful this time of year. In cold temperatures, synthetic motor oil flows easier

than conventional motor oil. This means on those frigid mornings when you’re trying to start the car, the engine will crank quicker and easier with synthetic motor oil than with conventional. Believe it or not, synthetic oil can actually flow in the extreme cold, down to temperatures like minus70º F. Because of its low pour-point, synthetic oil helps protect vehicles during cold starts. Subsequently, there is less wear inside the engine because synthetic oil flows quickly to

While flying fighter jets, such as this Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, pilot Albert Amatuzio learned about the benefits of the jets’ special oil. He created a version of the oil for passenger cars and pioneered the synthetic motor oil we know today.

moving parts. Before the days of synthetic oil, conventional oil would sit in the pan until the engine warmed up the frozen oil and “thawed” it enough so it would flow to the critical parts in the engine. Not only does synthetic oil help protect critical engine parts in cold weather, but it also helps keep them clean mile after mile. Synthetic oil resists oxidation—or in other words rust—to keep engines clean and running at optimum performance. After all, a clean engine is an efficient engine. Plus, synthetic oil helps reduce friction within the engine, to help it run cooler. This makes synthetic oil an ideal lubricant in all seasons, not just winter. No matter what you drive every day, synthetic oil is a smart choice to protect your engine and keep it “jetting” down the highway for many miles to come. 

www.vehiclemd.com 11


Run Forever With…

Motor Treatment

A Long-Lasting Love Giving the Rides of Our Lives Some TLC By Kara Bishop, VehicleMD Staff Writer

W

hen I was little I loved riding my horse, Bear. One day when I was riding, I spurred him and made him run laps around our arena for a long time, not letting him stop. My dad finally stopped me and asked, “How would you like to run for that long with someone riding you?” I realized that my “ride” needed special consideration. The same applies to the “rides” we drive today. The engines underneath their hoods work hard all day long as we journey to and from work, run errands or just take joy rides. Just as I once did with my horse, we tend to take advantage of our cars and their hard-working engines, spurring them on to work harder and endure longer service intervals. But just like a horse can only endure so much running without a break, your engine can only endure so much neglect before it begins to wear out, diminishing your car’s performance and potentially leaving you with a costly repair bill. One of the biggest sources of neglect comes from the buildup of carbon inside our engines. This nasty substance is a leftover from the combustion of fuel (it’s what happens when your car’s engine burns its gasoline, in other words). Let enough carbon build up in your engine, and bad things happen. “Due to the extreme heat beneath the hoods of our vehicles, carbon can build up leaving varnish and gum deposits. These can make the piston rings and lifters stick, which can lead to several problems. Our cars use more oil under this condition, and we are robbed of the good fuel mileage we got when the car was brand new,” said Jim Davis, technical service manager for Sea Foam. To prevent this stress to your vehicle, the carbon buildup needs to be cleaned out. Thankfully, there are

12 VehicleMD

products out there that can help with this problem without completely emptying out the wallet. According to the experts, you need a product that can do three basic things: 1. Clean — The gum and varnish deposits need to be cleaned out of the engine. High-quality engine cleaning products can liquefy these deposits and safely remove them so that no components of your engine are damaged. 2. Lubricate — Your engine needs help staying lubricated when it’s working hard. Choose a product that can add lubricity without changing oil viscosity. 3. Moisture Control — Condensation adds moisture to the engine easily, especially with the use of higher concentrations of ethanol in today’s fuels. A quality product will be able to encapsulate water molecules in the fuel and oil to prevent phase separation, rendering the absorbed moisture harmless. So if you’ve been “riding” your vehicle really hard, consider cleaning up its engine with a motor treatment product; ask your service technician for more information about these types of products and their benefits. By doing this type of service regularly, you can help restore your car’s fuel mileage back to factory levels and boost performance from your engine. As I learned, every “ride” needs a little TLC—and that includes your car’s engine. So the next time you take your car out for a spin, remember that it would appreciate a little consideration. 


“Decarbonize your engine the easy way with Sea Foam Spray!”

100% pure petroleum aerosol spray for internal gas engine use only For best results, apply 1/2 can of Sea Foam Spray into sealed air intake system. Carefully read instructions before application

Use now fo r easier start up this wint er season!

Comes with patent-pending hook tool for easy air intake cleaning Cleans harmful carbon deposits from air intake systems, intake valves and combustion chambers Will not damage neoprene, plastic, rubber or cork gaskets Safely cleans throttle bodies, throttle plates and lubricates throttle shafts and bushings Improves engine’s smoothness and performance easier start up, smoother idle, better acceleration, can eliminate pings, knocks and hesitations

For more information on Sea Foam’s family of products, visit www.seafoamsales.com

Ask f or auto it at your l part oca ASE C s store or l Autom er otive tified Techn ician


ASK PATTY

Automotive Advice For Women

The Long Haul: Five Tips To Extend the Life of Your Vehicle By Kaeli Gardner VehicleMD Contributing Writer

What kind of driver are you? Are you in a new car every few years, or do you drive your current chariot until the wheels fall off? It’s no secret that a car is an investment that is losing value every time you turn the key in the ignition, so if you’re a 100K-plus driver, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, a whopping 68 percent of drivers say they plan on driving their car 150,000 miles or more. My last car, a charming 1993 Ford Tempo—which I’d been proudly driving since high school, thank-youvery-much—had nearly 200,000 miles on its odometer (a five-digit odometer, no less; far more than it was intended to be driven, probably) when I finally retired it in 2005. My current car? I’m not sure—the temptation to get into a fresh vehicle is certainly a strong one, but the allure of driving without a car payment is strong indeed, especially now. Couple that with my tendency to get emotionally attached to inanimate objects and I’ll probably take this one well into the hundred thousands as well. For those of you who are like me, here are some tips for prolonging your ride’s life well into its “golden years.” Don’t Neglect Service You didn’t get to 100,000 miles by putting off those service visits, so don’t start now! Higher mileage vehicles need service more than ever. Keep up with those oil changes as recommended in your manual, every 3,000

14 VehicleMD

to 5,000 miles, and keep an eye on other parts as well, particularly brakes and tires. Take it Easy! Did you know that the difference between driving 50mph and 70mph means your car is working twice as hard? It’s true—I won’t bore you with the math, but in order to overcome drag caused by wind, the energy required to move at 70 is twice what’s required at 50. Taking your commutes a little more slowly will give you better gas mileage, reduce wear on your brakes from slowing and stopping, and of course, prolong the life of your engine. Tend to Your Tires Keeping your tires rotated, inflated and properly maintained is essential to the life of your car, whatever the mileage, and as your vehicle ages the way your tires wear may change too. If your tires start to wear unevenly or if you feel the car shake, shimmy or pull to one side while you drive you probably have some balance or alignment issues to look into. Properly inflated tires equals good fuel mileage and that means less work for an aging engine, too. See that they’re inflated to the specs on the inside of the driver’s side door, and remember to prolong the life of your tires by rotating and balancing every other oil change.

It’s All in the Timing If your car has a timing belt, you’ll want to replace it at the recommended time (60,000 miles for many models—check your owners manual to be certain). An aging belt can cause engine problems, and a damaged one can leave you marooned— or worse, cause serious damage to your engine. Lookin’ Sharp! Finally, don’t neglect the looks of your car. You’ll want to make sure you give the outside of your car as much TLC as you give to the moving parts under the surface. Of course, this is about more than just looking good—washing and waxing don’t just preserve your shining finish, they help keep rust at bay, and that is good for everything under the surface, too. By following these tips, your owners manual’s instructions and talking with your trusted service technician, you and your car could have a brilliant future together. So keep one eye on the service lane, and enjoy those golden years together!  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 AskPatty.com blog.


www.autotexpink.com


Know Your Stuff

Ethanol-Blended Fuel

The Truth About Ethanol It makes for great politics, but ethanol-blended fuels like E10, E15 and E85 are not without their problems By Garrett McKinnon, VehicleMD Staff Writer

When you pull up to a fuel pump nowadays, you almost always come across a statement that reads: “This product may contain up to 10 percent ethanol by volume.” So what does such a statement, and the use of such fuel, mean to you, the driver? Read on as we answer your ethanol-related questions.

What is ethanol? Ethanol is an alcohol fuel derived from the fermentation of sugars and starches that is commonly used as an additive or replacement for petroleum-based fuels. In the United States, most ethanol is derived from corn, a renewable crop source.

Why does my fuel contain ethanol? By law, oil companies must blend at least 5.9 percent ethanol with gasoline, a move mandated by the second Bush administration. Most blenders, owing to government subsidies, put as much as 10 percent ethanol in their gasoline, creating a mixture called E10. Recently, the government expanded the allowable concentration of ethanol in fuel to 15 percent (a formulation known as E15), though it cautions that drivers of older vehicles manufactured prior to

16 VehicleMD

2007 should not use E15. Certain vehicles known as “flex-fuel” are specially manufactured to use ethanol formulations up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline (a blend known as E85). Because ethanol is more caustic than gasoline, and thus harmful to certain seals and hoses commonly found in vehicles, only those vehicles manufactured to do so should use ethanol formulations above E10 or E15.

Is it safe for my car? Generally speaking, ethanol formulations of E10 and E15 are safe for modern vehicles, though as mentioned previously, older vehicles should steer clear of E15. That said, ethanol-enriched fuels—in addition to causing no small amount of confusion at the pump—can create serious problems in some vehicles. According to Mark Negast, technical director for Lucas Oil, if used incorrectly or in the wrong vehicle, ethanol fuels can cause rust and corrosion in fuel systems, can affect power output, can create deposits in engines and, in some cases, can soften rubber hoses. There’s also the issue of phase separation. Ethanol, unlike gasoline, attracts water. In very humid conditions, the ethanol-gasoline mixture in your gas tank can actually absorb water from the atmosphere. Once the water content becomes too high, the ethanolwater mixture will actually separate from the gasoline, where it will drop to the bottom of the gas tank—right where the fuel lines are in most vehicles. Suffice it to say, when you crank an engine that ingests this mixture, bad—and expensive—things happen. Plus, the moisture absorption capabilities of ethanol are temperature-dependent, meaning the colder it gets the less moisture the ethanol can absorb before its separates. According to experts, at low temperatures

it takes as little as 2.8 teaspoons of water in a single gallon of E10 to cause phase separation. That’s a frightening ratio. Fortunately, automotive aftermarket experts have developed a new type of product known as a fuel stabilizer that can help solve many of the issues associated with ethanol. These fuel stabilizers clean the entire fuel system (including the fuel injectors), prevent the formation of rust and corrosion, prevent deposits from forming, stabilize the fuel during storage periods, improve gas mileage and cut down on emissions. When choosing which fuel stabilizer is best for you, remember to verify that the product you choose can be used in any make or model of vehicle. So the next time you pull up at the pump, you’ll (hopefully) know more about this confounding compound and what you can do to ensure your vehicle is not negatively affected.  

Tips for Using Ethanol 1. Fill up often — Under ideal environmental conditions, the “shelf life” of E10 is only about 90-100 days. If you plan to store your car (or fuel) longer than that, use a fuel stabilizer. 2. Top off your tank — Don’t let your fuel level fall to below one-quarter of a tank, especially in hot weather. 3. Choose a higher octane level — If ethanolenriched fuel becomes contaminated, the fuel will dilute and the octane level can drop. This can cause serious problems, especially in highperformance engines. 4. Change your oil — Drivers of flex-fuel vehicles that commonly use E85 should note that most manufacturers recommend shorter-than-average oil change and service intervals when using this fuel. 5. Read your owners manual — Check your vehicle owners manual to determine if you can use ethanol-enriched fuels. (Also, avoid the use of ethanol-enriched fuel in lawn equipment, as most smaller engines are not compatible with this type of fuel.)


www.lucasoil.com


Know Your Stuff

Driving a Million Miles

Seven Figures Can a Car Really Last a Million Miles

?

By Garrett McKinnon • VehicleMD Staff Writer

One

million miles. It’s like driving 10,000 miles a year…for a century. It’s like driving around the earth’s equator…40 times. It’s like taking a round trip to the moon…twice. (Before the astronomers write in, we know it’s technically only 955,428 miles in two round trips to the moon, but we rounded!) It’s so far, in fact, that it takes light a little more than 5.3 seconds to cross one million miles. In other words, one million miles is, in the human scale of things, a loooooong way. Yet more and more vehicles these days are turning up with that magic number on their odometers. And I’m not talking about over-the-road trucks, either, since those big-rigs are built to endure such long distances. I’m talking about the very same passenger vehicles most of us drive every single day. For instance, you might have read about Joe LoCicero, the insurance adjuster from Maine who just hit the million-mile mark in his 1990 Honda Accord. Bought the car used in 1996 when it had 74,000 miles on it and averages about 4,700 miles per month. Or how about Wisconsin travelling salesman Peter Gilbert, who retired his 1989 Saab 900 to a museum in 2006 after wracking up 1,001,285 miles. Finally, there’s New York’s Irv Gordon, a retired schoolteacher who purchased his 1966 Volvo P1800S brand new and is preparing to

18 VehicleMD

hit the three million-mile (!) mark early next year. Gordon—who put 1,500 miles on the car the first two days he had it—has driven the car an average of 65,000 miles per year, even shipping the car across the Atlantic to tour Europe on occasion. So how have these drivers achieved such extreme lifespans with their cars, especially when a typical vehicle’s lifespan is around 145,000 miles? By following these seven strategies.

1. Joe LoCicero and his million-mile 1990 Honda Accord.

Drive. A lot.

It goes without saying that in order to hit seven figures on your odometer (if, in fact, your car’s odometer goes that high) you have to put in some serious seat time. But not all miles are created equal. As these drivers could attest, though highway miles are amassed faster, they are typically easier on your car than miles driven in city traffic. Constantly starting, stopping, accelerating, idling, cranking, etc. puts a lot of stress on your car. In contrast, a vehicle, like any machine, operates at peak efficiency when it is in a steady-state rhythm like that experienced while driving at a steady speed on the highway. But don’t worry. Even if you commute (like Gordon did for decades in his Volvo before retiring), there are some other strategies you can use to maximize your vehicle’s lifespan.

2.

Change is good.

All three of these drivers—as well as many others who have racked up very high mileage totals on their vehicles—have something in common: they are all big believers in regular oil changes. Think about it. Your car’s engine is like any other industrial machine.


It works hard, with metal parts sliding back and forth against each other hundreds of times each minute. For vehicles that accumulate the miles, that means the engine is experiencing millions, even billions, of revolutions. That kind of mechanical pressure takes its toll on the motor oil that lubricates engine parts, making periodic oil changes a safe bet if you want to keep your car running. Gordon, for instance, changes his oil every few thousand miles, and didn’t have to have the Volvo’s engine overhauled for the first time until nearly 675,000 miles showed on the odometer. Plus, as motor oil quality has improved in recent decades, those overhauls have gotten further and further apart!

3.

things will break. Like all machines and mechanical devices, the components on cars will eventually wear out—though hopefully not all at once! During his frequent travels, Gilbert encountered several wayward deer and had to pay for collision repairs on several different occasions. And while it can seem like a waste to spend money repairing an older vehicle, if you do the math you’ll find that even a major repair job (spread out over time) is less expensive than replacing your current vehicle. Like the wise man once said, the cheapest car you’ll ever own is the one you’re driving now!

Follow the schedule.

Motor oil isn’t the only fluid that needs attention in a vehicle. That’s why LoCicero credits “religiously” following his car’s recommended fluid maintenance schedule for helping his car achieve its incredible lifespan. In fact, the only major components LoCicero has ever replaced on his car are the fuel pump, cooling fans and the radiator (twice). That none of those repairs were directly related to fluid maintenance speaks to the effectiveness of such a strategy.

4.

Try the synthetic route.

5.

Invest in repairs.

Peter Gilbert donated his 1989 Saab 900 to a museum once it hit a million miles.

Gilbert purchased his Saab brand-new and knew he wanted to give it the ultimate in protection. That’s why he opted to use synthetic motor oil from the very first oil change, a strategy that paid off big time. Even after a million miles, the Saab’s engine had never been overhauled or needed a repair. In fact, Gilbert bragged that the only major repair he’d ever had to pay for (besides collision repair; more on that later) was a transmission rebuild at 200,000 miles.

If you truly want to keep your car running for an extended period, you have to come to grips with the fact that

Irv Gordon expects to hit the three millionmile mark on his 1966 Volvo P1800S sometime during the next few months.

6.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

7.

Take care.

Your car’s insides aren’t the only parts that will need attention if you want to drive it for a long time. Road grime, dirt, mud and anti-icing salts and chemicals like those found in northern and snow-bound states can play havoc with suspension, exhaust and other components beneath your car. Plus, they’re murder on your car’s finish. (For more on that subject, see the article on page 24.) Gordon notes that he spends as much or more time cleaning his car on the outside than he does maintaining it on the inside. Not only does running your car through the carwash keep it clean and sparkly, it also removes the dirt/grime/salt that can over time contribute to wear and damage. Not to mention the fact that you’re almost certain to take more pride in a car that you spend time and money keeping in good shape. After all, none of the cars we’ve run across that hit the magical million-mile mark were beaters!

Okay. You have the motor oil and other fluids changed regularly. You pay extra for the very best products. You have your baby washed and detailed often. So what’s the final step in driving your car for a very long time? Well, that involves visiting your neighborhood auto service center. You see, the technicians that service your vehicle aren’t just changing the motor oil and filter. They’re also giving your car a thorough once over, looking for little problems that you can fix before they become big—and expensive—ones. Thus our final piece of advice is to partner with a trusted technician or mechanic and listen to his (or her) advice when it comes to needed maintenance and repairs. Because if you really want to drive a million miles, chances are you’ll need some help. 

www.vehiclemd.com 19


Know Your Stuff

Maintenance Records by Jessica Odom VehicleMD Staff Writer

For the Record Y

ou balance your checkbook, don’t you? Of course! That’s how you keep track of what condition your finances are in. But have you ever thought about keeping a ledger to tell you the condition of your car? Maybe not, but it makes sense because your car is likely one of the largest financial investments you’ll ever make. Here, we’ll break it down so you understand exactly what you should do. It’s simple—any and all maintenance records, including services like oil changes and

20 VehicleMD

tire rotations, should be kept for each of your vehicles. You may even choose to keep gas receipts, too. Fuel records will help you better understand your vehicle’s fuel economy and will give a potential buyer an idea of what to expect when you are ready to sell your car. Preventative maintenance records should be kept for your vehicle from the very first to the very last day of ownership, if possible. (Even if you don’t have any records on your vehicle, now is the perfect time to start!) Plus, it only

takes a few minutes each week to maintain your records. Keeping preventative maintenance records on your vehicle will be a big help if you decide to sell it. This data can help increase your car’s resale value, and can help you sell it faster. Just like your checkbook, you should keep your vehicle records in a safe place. But as long as you can get to your records quickly and easily when a maintenance question arises, the method doesn’t really matter. One of the easiest methods for keeping these records is with your computer. While there are applications you can buy that will help, it’s even easier with websites that are set up specifically to help you record your car’s maintenance history, among other things. “Because it’s online, the data is always backed up and always available,” said Steve Eppinger, president of Ownersite Technologies, an online automotive history recording firm. “Beyond the recordkeeping, we can provide detailed reports on expenses and costs, fuel economy, cost per mile, etc.” Records can be as detailed or as concise as you want to make them, and many services like Ownersite.com will allow you to customize your data (i.e. choosing liters per kilometer versus miles per gallon; tracking kilometers instead of miles, etc.). Plus, with many online options you can select the option to be reminded whenever your car needs service based on the service intervals recommended by your owners manual. No more guessing if you need the service—now, you’ll know! If you drive a company car, keeping track of mileage and maintenance records is critical. Just ask the IRS. By keeping the data online, you can compile a complete list of business expenses related to the car, making your quarterly or annual expense reports a breeze. You can even access sites like Ownersite.com via wireless devices, meaning you can record your car’s critical maintenance history from anywhere. Plus, you’ll know the data is always safe, because it’s online and backed up. In the end, keeping a careful record of your car and its associated expenses can be a big help when it comes to maintaining a healthy car. 


Know Your Stuff

Oil Monitors

C O U N T I N G D O W N

How Oil Change Monitors Work—And What They’re Not Telling You BMWs have them. Mercedes, too. And so do Audis, Volvos, ditions, i.e. hot or cold weather, stop-and-go driving or high-enLexuses (Lexii?), Acuras and others. What are “they,” you might gine-load applications. For instance, say you start your car on a ask? Oil change indicator lights. And they’re not just confined to 20° F day and take a two-mile trip while towing a heavy trailer. luxury makes, either. Almost every GM vehicle made since 2004 The oil life monitor will not only subtract the revolutions made has come standard with the company’s “Oil Life System,” and by the engine during that trip, it will also subtract additional companies like Chrysler, Honda, Toyota and others are increasrevolutions based on the temperature, the short duration of ingly putting oil change reminder systems in their cars. the trip and the load placed on the engine. In this way, the oil But what do these little lights and flashing messages really tell life monitor adjusts to the conditions under which a vehicle is you about the condition of your car’s motor oil? And how do driven. When the ‘clock’ reaches zero, the oil life monitor flashes they know when your motor oil needs to be changed? Osmosis? a message that the vehicle needs to be serviced. Magic? A lucky guess? While GM’s OLS is set with upper limits representing apRegardless of the automaker, today’s oil life reminder systems proximately 7,000 to 12,000 miles of highway driving (even all have one thing in common: They do not physically measure higher on some models), company literature indicates that the condition of the motor oil in the crankcase. most drivers will see an oil change interval of by Garrett McKinnon That’s worth saying one more time. Oil life around 5,000 to 6,000 miles. Cold weather VehicleMD Staff Writer reminder systems do not measure the actual can reduce the intervals by a good margin. condition of the oil, meaning they can’t tell if Because the system does not monitor the the oil is contaminated with coolant, if the adphysical condition of the oil, using synthetic ditives packages is depleted and (in most cases) motor oil in vehicles not factory-equipped if it is low. So how can they determine when with it will not result in oil change intervals your oil needs to be changed? In two ways: that are any longer than those realized with They either check the calendar or follow the computer model. conventional motor oil. Again, the oil life monitor is unaware First, the computer model: Automotive engineers have spent whether conventional or synthetic motor oil is in the crankcase. decades testing the effects of temperature, engine speed, load, The second type of oil change indicator system is a simple trip duration, etc. on motor oil. From this testing, engineers calendar- or mileage-based reminder. Essentially, the car keeps devise a mathematical model that can predict when a motor oil track of the last time the oil was changed (if the reminder will be degraded (i.e. having lost a significant part of its addisystem was reset properly) and based on either mileage accumutives package) to the point where it needs to be changed. lated or time elapsed (or in some cases both), the car tells you General Motors first developed its Oil Life System (OLS) when to have the oil changed. Manufacturers like Mercedes, back in the 1980s. After testing and honing the system in Volvo, Nissan/Infiniti and Toyota use this type of system. Again, certain vehicle types during the 1990s, the company introduced it doesn’t physically monitor the oil, but it does remind you the system throughout its model lineup in the mid-2000s. Toit’s been so many miles or so much time since you had your oil day, there are more than 31 million GM vehicles in the United changed. (One interesting note: The oil change indicator system States with the OLS system. Think of the GM OLS as a clock in Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can actually be programmed by counting down to zero. Automotive engineers set the clock with the driver; in other words, you decide what oil change interval a predetermined number of engine revolutions (the preferred you want to follow—3,750 miles or 7,500 miles—and the method of measuring usable oil life) based on the motor oil, vehicle will give you a reminder based on that chosen interval.) vehicle, engine size and other factors. A Corvette that comes Because neither of these oil change indicator systems monifactory-filled with synthetic motor oil might have its oil life tors the physical condition of the oil (though some luxury monitor programmed to trip after 15,000 miles of steady-state, makes like Mercedes do have systems that monitor the oil level), mild temperature, 1,500-rpm highway driving. On the other it’s important to check your car’s oil level and condition, generhand, an Impala might have its oil life monitor programmed to ally every time you refuel. If you’re not comfortable doing that trip after 7,500 miles of the same type of driving. The limit varyourself, you might try stopping by your friendly neighborhood ies from vehicle to vehicle based on testing by engineers. auto service center where more often than not a technician will When the oil life monitor is first reset, it begins to record do it for you at no charge, and in just a minute or so. It’s a good the number of engine revolutions, counting backward from way to make sure your car’s oil, the lifeblood of its engine, is up that predetermined limit. However, the oil life monitor has the to the task in between occasions when the oil change reminder capability of “penalizing” itself for certain types of driving conlight pops on!  www.vehiclemd.com 21


Go Green With...

Re-Refined Motor Oil

Save the Planet. Get an Oil Change. by Tammy Neal VehicleMD Staff Writer

R

educe, reuse, recycle. This is the mantra many of us are following in today’s more environmentally conscious society. We’re reducing the amount of packaging we use, reusing items like grocery bags and plastic water bottles, and recycling where and when we can. Plus, more and more of us are looking for recycled products when it comes time to buy, knowing these products cut down our energy consumption and lessen

dependence on foreign oil,” said Curt Knapp, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Safety-Kleen Systems, a leading re-refiner. “Re-refining uses up to 85 percent less energy to produce, and is an eco-responsible way to manage used oil.” The re-refining process also keeps millions of gallons of used motor oil from being disposed of improperly. For instance, the oil from one oil change (about a gallon) can contami-

Re-refining uses up to 85 percent less energy to produce, and is an eco-responsible way to manage used oil. our impact on the environment. But did you know you can actually purchase a motor oil that is “recycled”? It’s technically called “re-refined” motor oil because it comes from used motor oil that has been collected, cleaned and actually put back through the refining process. The resultant products meet the same high quality standards as “virgin” motor oil manufactured from crude oil, but helps protect the environment in a number of ways. “Re-refining used oil conserves nonrenewable resources and can reduce

22 VehicleMD

nate one million gallons of drinking water. That’s a year’s supply of water for 50 people! According to federal reports, oil that is not collected and re-refined accounts for more than 40 percent of the total oil pollution of our nation’s harbors and waterways. Re-refined motor oil is eco-friendly in other ways, too. For example, collection and rerefining of about 150 million gallons of the more than one billion gallons of the used oil generated by U.S. vehicles each year could save more than one

million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, which is equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road. Most of the motor oil found in engines today is made from crude petroleum that is carefully “refined” into base lubricating oil. Later in the manufacturing process, a combination of additives are added, giving motor oil the special properties that set it apart from other petroleum products like tar or gasoline. These additives wear out over time, which is why you must change your oil at regular intervals. The base oil—what we call the oil that doesn’t have additives added to it yet—actually never wears out. It just becomes dirty as it works to do its lubricating job. When the oil is drained from your engine, your service center collects


The Importance of Recycling Motor Oil: S  Recycling all the oil

it in a used-oil tank. Then, a re-refining company collects the oil and takes it to the refinery. The used oil can be conventional, synthetic, high-mileage or any of the several other motor oil types found across the country; the type of oil doesn’t matter when it’s being re-refined. At the refinery, the used oil goes through a process that cleans up the oil by removing the additives and contaminants. This makes it just as good as oil derived from virgin crude. In fact, rerefined oil may be even better because it takes 85 percent less energy to re-refine motor oil than to produce it from crude. Once the oil has been cleaned and re-refined to give it the right consistency and chemical properties, additives are added to the newly re-refined oil, making it ready to use in your engine once again. The great thing is, since the

petroleum molecules never wear out, this process can be repeated over and over again. How do you know re-refined motor oil is safe for your engine? Chances are, the motor oil currently in your vehicle is certified by the American Petroleum Institute. This is the association that tests all motor oils on the market to make sure they meet minimum performance requirements. You can tell that an oil is API-certified because it bears the “donut” symbol on the front of its package. If re-refined oil has been certified by API, you can rest assured it’s safe for your engine. Also, major car and engine manufacturers have approved the use of re-refined oil. So, as long as the re-refined oil you choose meets the same standards called for in your owners manual, it will not void your warranty. Next time you’re due for auto maintenance, ask your service technician about re-refined motor oil. If you choose this route, you’ll not only be getting an oil change that’s good for your engine, you’ll be getting one that’s good for the planet, too.  

filters sold annually in the United States would result in the recovery of about 160,000 tons of steel or enough to make 16 new stadiums the size of Atlanta’s Olympic Stadium.

S  It takes 85 percent less

energy to re-refine motor oil than it does to produce motor oil from crude oil.

S  2.5 quarts of re-refined

oil can be produced from one gallon of used motor oil.

S  Motor oil never wears

out, it just gets dirty. Oil can be recycled, re-refined and used again and again, reducing our reliance on imported oil.

S  One gallon of used

motor oil, improperly disposed of, can contaminate up to one million gallons of water—a year’s supply for 50 people.

www.vehiclemd.com 23


Make It Shine

Winter Finish Protection

Waging War Against Winter

How To Protect Your Car From Icy (and Salty) Fury

by Kara Bishop VehicleMD Staff Writer

We

love our cars. They get us from A to B in a timely manner, while protecting us from the elements. But more importantly, they define us. People walking down the street can tell what kind of person we are by what we drive—and how we take care of what we drive. We want to take care of our cars. We want them in tip-top shape for every occasion, whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or a “red carpet” event. We are willing to invest in our

it’s never too soon to start some of these tasks now, before winter weather makes them even tougher to perform!)

Visit the Carwash

With winter on the horizon, be sure to visit your friendly neighborhood carwash soon— and as often as necessary during the winter. The carwash does more than just keep your car shiny, the soap and water also help remove salt and other chemicals that can dull or mar your car’s finish. Experts on automotive exterior You may want to look for wax products care say one of the best ways to that specifically state they will prevent prevent rust and corrosion to your paint job is to have your car the harmful effects of acid rain and washed clean of winter’s nasty contain UV protectants. A paste wax components. Also, don’t be afraid to invest in an upscale carwash, will most likely be your best bet when which generally features extra protecting against rust and corrosion. protectants that will give your car’s paint job that precious extra skosh of protection. And don’t neglect the undercarriage, which sees most of adorable rides because they’re dependable and, winter’s elements in full force, either. Orderwell, adorable. ing the undercoat wash can help remove those So what should you do when winter comes rust-causing bits of salt and other chemicals along? Many of us love snow and ice and cold that may, over time, corrode the suspension, temperatures, but have you ever thought about exhaust and other undercar components. what these elements do to cars, especially on the outside? Think about it. Winter is all about cold snow, rough ice, scratchy dirt, ice-melting chemicals like salt and ash, etc. None of these is particularly good for your car’s finish, and taken together they can turn the sparkling boulevard cruiser you drove last summer into a jalopy look-alike. However, there is hope for those who want to win the war against the damage that winter and its cohorts wage against your car’s exterior. Follow all or most of these, and winter won’t stand a chance against your car’s finish. (And 24 VehicleMD

Wax On, Wax Off

Putting wax on a car can be (loosely) compared to donning a coat of armor. Once your car is squeaky clean, applying a coat of good quality wax to the exterior can help protect it from icemelting—and paint-marring—chemicals. As long as the weather cooperates, most wax protectants will work in the winter, but you may want to look for products that specifically state they will prevent the harmful effects of acid rain and contain UV protectants. A paste wax will most likely be your best bet when

protecting against rust and corrosion. Plus, most full-service carwash/detail facilities offer this service as part of a high-end detail package. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, it pays to spend a few extra bucks to have someone do it for you.

Glass Needs Love, Too

Your windows and windshield are an important part of your car’s exterior, too. After all, winter weather and precipitation are going to affect your ability to see what is occurring on the road around you, which is going to affect your safety, which is going to affect…well, you get the point. To keep your windshield free of snow, ice, rain or sleet, consider winter wiper blades. Over the summer, your wiper blades can become brittle and cracked from the heat, causing them to make a “chattering” sound when you turn them on. They will worsen in the winter, when severe cold can make the blades brittle and stiff. However, winter wiper blades are specially designed to combat cold temperatures and the precipitation that usually accompanies Old Man Winter. Winter wiper blades are usually made of a Teflon-like material rather than rubber, so they won’t tear and are much more durable. They also typically have a coating on the frame of the blade to prevent the buildup of snow and ice, which can affect performance. Be sure to ask your local service center about winter wiper blades and whether they are a good fit for you and your car. So there you have it. Implement these simple tactics, and you’ll have winter running for cover when it tries to wage war against your car. 


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THE BACK PAGE

Signs Times of

the

Can you identify these road signs from the part shown? Answers below.

2 1

3 4

5

7 6

8

10

12

9

11

____ A. Men at Work ____ B. Children Present ____ C. Signal Light Ahead ____ D. Side Road Ahead ____ E. Wrong Way ____ F. Truck Crossing

____ G. Interstate ____ H. Railroad Crossing ____ I. Right Turn Ahead ____ J. Two-Way Traffic ____ K. Yield Ahead ____ L. Stop Sign

ANSWERS: 1. C: Signal Light Ahead; 2. H: Railroad Crossing; 3. B: Children Present; 4. G: Interstate; 5. D: Side Road Ahead; 6. J: Two-Way Traffic; 7. F: Truck Crossing; 8. K: Yield Ahead; 9. E: Wrong Way; 10. L: Stop Sign; 11. I: Right Turn Ahead; 12. A: Men at Work 26 VehicleMD


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