Fixing Your Old Car vs. Buying a New One

Auto RepairAs drivers, there comes that inevitable time in which we are faced with a dilemma: Repair our current car or purchase a new one?

It is at this point in history, coming out of a recession, when we are starting to see more and more used cars on the road.  These drivers have the right idea; all evidence points toward going with a used car, repairing and maintaining it as you go along. The Car Care Council (CCC) and Engine Repower Council (ERC) both highly recommend repairing over buying new.

There is a general rule of thumb stating it is better to fix/repair your current car if it is less than ten years old, or has less than 150,000 miles on it.

Why? New cars can be very expensive, while older cars are mostly or fully paid off.  An argument against sticking with one’s old car is that repairs are expensive. But the fact is even pricier repairs come out to be about the amount of a year’s worth of payments on a new car. Plus, the cost of auto repair has significantly decreased over the past several years, and some shops even offer financing options. Finally, let’s not forget one of the most attractive reasons to choose a used car over a new car: cheaper car insurance.

Some people’s current car is in dire need of replacement. If this sounds like you and your car is in bad shape, it is best to replace it with a newer, but used car. There are several reasons to go this route. Even routine maintenance costs are much higher for new cars as opposed to older cars. Another thing to keep in mind is that today, automobiles are designed to last much longer than in the past, on average 200,000 miles. This means that even if you are purchasing a newer used car, even though it is used you will still get great usage for thousands of miles. Finally, when purchasing a newer used car, it is best to get needed financing through your bank, not the car dealership, because you will incur lower interest rates.

Having a well-maintained used car and a little extra money in your pocket is a great feeling, and a choice that will continue to grow in popularity.

Your Teen Behind the Wheel

Teenagers are dangerous enough when they’re on solid ground. Imagine what kind of havoc they can wreak at 45 mph! To calm your (and their) nerves, follow these tips on how to prepare your teen for his summer driving.

The freedom of the open road is exciting, but sometimes it can lead to reckless driving, especially among teens. Vehicle accidents are unfortunately the number one cause of death among teenagers. With this in mind, it is important to learn how you can prepare your teenager and his or her vehicle for a safe summer.

  1. Make sure the driver and all passengers wear seatbelts. In most states, law requires seat belt usage because of its effectiveness.
  2. Check the status of the car battery. If it is an older car, it might require a battery repair or an entirely new one. It is also a good idea to supply your teenager with a set of batter cables and proper instruction on how to jump-start a car.
  3. While it may sound insignificant, the quality of the vehicle’s windshield wipers is crucial to safe driving. Ask anyone who has dealt with faulty wipers during a storm- or even a sprinkle. Having a blurred vision is a hazard to the driver’s safety, as well as to others on the road.
  4. Make sure your teen is aware of the dangers that come from texting while driving. While he or she may feel invincible, the reality is that driving is a privilege that requires full attention. Losing focus can result in a horrible, even fatal, accident. Even talking on the phone can often be a major distraction, and in some states it is illegal for minors to do so behind the wheel. If you are concerned with not being able to communicate to your teen while he is in transit, consider setting this rule: if someone calls once, let it go to voicemail. If someone calls twice in a row, code for “important,” find a place to pull the vehicle over and return the call.

Whether it’s a drive across town to his summer job or a road trip across the state to visit friends, your teen’s experience behind the wheel should be taken seriously, and with absolute caution. A confident driver is a steadier driver, so give him the freedom he desires and the rules he needs to have a fun, safe summer.

Teen driver

Are Your Tires Ready For Winter?

With the winter season upon us, it is inevitable we will soon be dealing with colder temperatures, snow, and ice. Properly maintained tires are vital to the safety of your vehicle during the winter months. Your tires are your vehicle’s only contact with the road. Because of this, there are a few precautions you should take before the weather becomes unfavorable.

• All four of your tires should be the same type, size, tread pattern, speed rating, and load index. Differences in these factors can negatively affect a vehicle’s handling and stability.
• Proper inflation and pressure are imperative. Having inadequate tire pressure can cause unnecessary wear, as well as impact your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Keep in mind that as the temperature drops, so does the pressure in your tires. Make it a priority to check your tires’ pressure every few weeks in the winter.
• Have your tires checked for proper alignment and tread. This is something that should be done on a regular basis, but is most crucial to have done in preparation for winter.
• Make sure your tires are in good shape, or get new ones. Tires that are worn, cracked, or out of balance can seriously hinder your ability to drive and control your car. The majority of winter accidents are caused by loss of control of the vehicle on snowy or icy roads.
• Should you decide to get new tires, winter or snow tires are the best bet for those living in regions that have particularly cold and snowy winter months. Snow tires can provide up to 20% better snow traction than all-season tires. With snow tires, you receive the benefits of shorter braking distances as well as more predictable and controllable turning.
• If you choose not to purchase winter/snow tires, be sure to check the tread on your current tires. The next time you do purchase tires, check for deep grooves on the edges of the tires. These types of grooves move both snow and water outwards from underneath your tire, creating better handling and traction year-round.

Car Seat Safety

Our children are our most valuable passengers, and require more care and precaution to ensure their safety. Unfortunately, 84% of child restraint systems are misused or installed incorrectly.

Suggestions for:

Children of all ages
•Children under the age of 13 should ride in the backseat.
•Your child’s weight, height, and age should be used to select your car seat.
•Refer to both your vehicle owner’s manual and the car seat manufacturer’s instructions when installing.
Register your child’s car seat with the manufacturer, and receive notification of defects and recalls.

Car Seat, child safety Children age 1 and under
•Children under 12 months should ride in a car seat that is rear-facing.
-Infant-only: these car seats can only be installed as rear-facing.
-3-in-1: these car seats are convertible, and also tend to have higher weight and height requirements, allowing your child to be rear-facing for longer.

Children ages 1-3
•Children in this age range should stay in rear-facing car seats as long as they can. The American Academy of Pediatrics now suggests keeping toddlers in rear-facing seats until age 2.
•Once they outgrow the allowable limit, they are then ready for a forward-facing seat with a harness.

booster seat, child safetyChildren ages 4-7
•Children in this age range should stay in a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as they can.
•Once they outgrow the allowable limit, they are then ready for a booster seat.

Children ages 8-12
•Children in this age range should stay in a booster seat until they have grown enough to fit in a regular seat and seat belt properly.
•A properly fitted seat belt must fit closely across the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt should fit closely across the shoulder and chest.

For further information, see this Safe Kids USA checklist that covers each age range.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 3 out of 4 children are not as secure as they should be in their vehicles due to incorrectly installed car seats. Have a professional check yours to make sure you child is as safe as possible. There thousands of child car seat inspection stations across the country. To find one in your community, visit the NHTSA website. To view child restraint requirements by state, visit to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) website.

Car-X is Pleased to Announce the Opening of a New Car-X Store in Ankeny, Iowa

CAR-X ANKENY, IOWA – NEW STORE OPENING

SCHAUMBURG, IL – Roger W. Hill, President and CEO of Car-X, announced the opening of a new store in Ankeny, Iowa. Mark Goldner, the Des Moines franchisee opened his seventh Car-X Tire and Auto location in Ankeny on September 22, 2014.

The new Ankeny store located at 2105 South Ankeny Boulevard and has 10 bays. The service center will be open Monday thru Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and accepts appointments. The phone number is 515-964-1155. Car-X Tire and Auto repairs all makes and models, including diesel and hybrid vehicles.

“Mark is one of our visionary franchisees providing outstanding customer service,” said Rich Brayer, VP Marketing – “he has a 26 year history of great performance at Car-X.”

In 1988, Mr. Goldner partnered with Car-X Tire and Auto in Des Moines as Store Manager and Inventory Manager. As the business grew, he moved into a Supervisor role where he helped to grow the business. Mr. Goldner and his wife purchased the business in 2008 and have been operating and building the Car-X Tire and Auto brand to the seven locations in Des Moines, Ames, and now in Ankeny, Iowa ever since.

Car-X has over 40 years of experience and is known for its great customer service by providing products and services that help your car or truck perform at its best. Car-X offers complete auto maintenance services, from regular tune-ups to emergency repairs, timing belts to hoses to brakes – Car-X does everything in, on and under your car.

So “Don’t Worry Call the Car-X Man.”

Car-X Tire and Auto was founded in 1971 by a group of enterprising and experienced muffler shop owners. During the early years, Car-X was primarily an exhaust specialist. But today, in our 24/7 non-stop, fast paced world, we’ve adapted to providing just about any automotive repair you can imagine. We continue to evaluate our position and business and add products and services that are comparable to today’s auto repair climate.

Car-X Tire and Auto has 149 locations and has built a reputation on exceptional customer satisfaction

For additional information, contact Rich Brayer, at Direct Line: 847-273-8934 or rbrayer@carx.com

AC During Summer Months

During the warm summer months a typical driver will reach down and turn on the air conditioning system. Some drivers may be woman driving, A/Chesitant to do so though because they feel that it wastes more gasoline, which results in them spending more money then they would like to. Many drivers would just rather be a little hotter than have to buy more gas each week. Fortunately, a driver doesn’t necessarily have to choose between saving money and staying cool when it’s hot. A few things, such as a complete AC checkup along with any needed repairs can help reduce the amount of excess fuel used by the air conditioning system.

Proper maintenance and repairs are one of the ways to save fuel while running the air conditioner. A leaky or plugged hose will make the air warm and less effective, which will cause the AC system to work harder. The harder the compressor needs to work, the more gas the vehicle will use turning the compressor. An AC checkup can expose any necessary AC repairs that must be done. For the most part, air conditioning problems are easy to fix and won’t require a lot of money to repair them. The vehicle can normally be fixed within a couple of hours. In the end, drivers will end up with efficient and effective AC systems in their car that don’t eat up as much gas as poorly maintained systems.

In the end, the best way to conserve gas while using the air conditioner is to make sure that the system works properly. That involves getting an AC checkup and then doing any AC repairs that may be needed. Properly maintained AC systems burn much less fuel than an improperly working system. With that in mind, all of this work can be taken care of quickly and for a relatively inexpensive price.

Lastly, drivers should focus on doing some other things to reduce the amount of fuel they burn with the AC system on or not on. Drivers should focus on driving smoothly without any sudden braking moves or excessive use of the gas pedal. Also, using the cruise control can help a car use less fuel. Drivers should use the air conditioner at a low level rather than a high one to save quite a bit of money on fuel costs. Remember the AC system is designed to be used in most newer egg shaped cars, putting down the windows causes more wind resistance then if the windows are up!

5 Tips for Better Performance

Driving isn’t just about getting from Point A to Point B; it’s also about knowing you’re safe while you get there and enjoying the drive along the way. You want to be confident that your car is performing at its peak, both to keep you safe and to make the ride pleasant.

1. Remember that tires matter.

Good tires grip the road, hug the curves, and handle slick surfaces. But even good tires, out of alignment, will make steering a chore when it should be easy. When you have to fight the steering wheel to keep your car straight, something is off; it may well be that your tires need to be rotated and aligned.

If your tires are old and worn, if you find your car slipping on turns, then it may be time to replace the tires. You’ll see immediate improved performance in steering and handling when you’re driving on good tires in proper alignment.

 

2. Keep up with basic maintenance items.

We’re talking oil changes, topping off the antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid, and having a regular inspection done so you know things are working the way they should be.

Prevent big problems from happening and you’ll not only save money in the long term, you’ll also drive with confidence knowing that your car has been taken care of by a professional.

 

3. Use the right fuel and the right oil in the right amount.

Check your car owner’s manual to be sure you know about fuel requirements; if your engine needs premium gasoline and you fill it up with regular, you can cause engine problems later and you’ll definitely affect your car’s performance negatively. If you do oil changes yourself, be sure you’re using the right type of oil for your engine and don’t overfill it, which can cause the engine to smoke.

 

4. Consider the weather.

Remember that in the winter, with cold temperatures, the engine needs time to warm up. Start your car in the driveway, or in the garage with the door open, a few minutes before you need to leave. That allows time to let the oil get warmed up and flowing where it should. You’ll also get warmer seats and nice hot air blowing out your heater.

Summer requires a different kind of care: car engines can overheat in high temperatures and will also go through fluids faster due to evaporation. Watch your engine temperature gauge, and if it’s going up over the halfway mark, pull over and let your car cool off for a while. Be sure to have your fluids refilled regularly.

 

5. Get a regular tune-up.

It’s easy to get an oil change every three months and think you’ve covered all the bases, but there is a lot more to a car than oil. Engine parts experience wear and tear all the time, and a tune-up by a professional mechanic will ensure that the worn parts are replaced and everything is tuned to peak performance.

You’ll also be preventing larger problems from occurring later by taking care of worn parts before they break completely.

 

The last – and most important – part of better car performance is driver performance. Have fun and enjoy your car, but use common sense, be safe, and follow the rules of the road while you drive.