Auto Maintenance

Vehicle Maintenance And Sensible Driving Habits For Harford County

Vehicle Maintenance And Sensible Driving Habits For Harford County

Regular vehicle maintenance and sensible driving habits will help the environment and save you money in the long run, according to the pros at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

Well-maintained vehicles pollute less, last longer and command greater resale values. Follow these tips from ASE to become a more savvy and environmentally conscientious car-owner.

* Keep the engine running at peak performance. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent, for instance. Replace filters and fluids as recommended in the owner’s manual to keep your vehicle in peak condition.

* Keep tires properly inflated and aligned to reduce the effort required by the engine. This reduces gasoline consumption.

* Find a good technician. Forest Hill Car Care in Forest Hill, Maryland has ASE certified technicians and a strong and solid reputation for good service.

ASE-certified auto technicians have passed one or more national exams in specialties such as engine performance and air conditioning.

* Have your vehicle’s air conditioner serviced only by a technician certified to handle and recycle refrigerants. Older air conditioners contain ozone-depleting chemicals, which could be released into the atmosphere through improper service.

* Avoid speeding and sudden accelerations. Both of these habits guzzle gas.

* Don’t let the car sit idle with the engine running. When waiting for friends or family, shut off the engine to conserve fuel.

* Consolidate errands to eliminate unnecessary driving.

* Remove excess items from the vehicle to reduce weight and improve gas mileage. A lot of people carry around a lot more weight in their car from excess stuff in the trunk then they realize. Also, be sure to remove that rooftop luggage carrier after vacations to reduce air drag.

ASE was founded in 1972 as a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive professionals. Its certified technicians wear a blue-and-white ASE shoulder insignia. They also carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the ASE sign – look for the ASE sign when you visit Forest Hill Car Care.

Worn Out Windshield Wiper Blades Cause Blurry Windshield

Worn Out Windshield Wiper Blades Cause Blurry Windshield

Windshield wiper blades wear down and completely stop performing after time. Imagine driving during a sudden torrential downpour or through a foggy day with windshield wipers whose blades will not clear your windshield.

Harford County Maryland has experienced a lot of sever weather recently. Recently Hurricane Irene pounded the area with rain and winds. The winds blew debris off trees onto windshields while people are driving and your wiper blades had to remove the debris. Following Irene, Tropical Storm Lee hit us with its remnants and caused heavy rains throughout the area.

Both storms should remind us to make sure we have wipers on our vehicles that are in proper operating condition. It is easy to ignore the warning signs of failing wiper blades; that is until you are in a hard rain and need them even more. Not having properly operating blades can endanger you, your passengers and other people on the road.

Since the blades are made of rubber the sun can cause the blades to degrade over time. A lot of use can diminish their effectiveness. And wiping away storm debris can damage the blades. If your blades are showing any indication of wear, now is the time to replace them.

To start off, you should first purchase a complete set of windshield wiper blades that are the proper size for your vehicle. At Forest Hill Car Care we can help you get the proper wiper blades for you car

Many people have a hard time figuring out how to install new windshield wiper blades.  We can install your blades for you quickly and have you back on the road in record time. You won’t have to mess with doing the installation yourself.

If you do want to do the installation follow the directions on the blades or in your owner’s manual. Here are some basic instructions: Pull the wiper arm away from the windshield and make sure that it is not resting on your car’s windshield anymore. Then, you can start removing the old wiper blade from the arm. For some windshield wipers you simply push on a tab and pull the blade off. However, there are some wipers that require you to lift a tab with a small screwdriver to get the blade loose.

When you have removed the old blade, you can now put the new blade on the arm. Make sure that you put it on correctly. The blades should be securely attached to the wiper arm. If not, it could fly off once you are cruising down the streets. If you are satisfied that the blade has been successfully replaced, you can now put the windshield wiper arm back to its old position against the windshield. You can test the blade by using the windshield washer. Sometimes additional adjustment is need to made sure the entire length of the blade is in full contact with the windshield.

Automobile Brakes Slowing Your Way to Safety

Automobile Brakes Slowing Your Way to Safety

An automobile’s brake system has been continually refined and redefined for over a century. If a person steps on the brake pedal what actually happens is that he is actually pushing against the plunger found in the master cylinder.

Just imagine speeding down the highway. Just imagine the sun on your face and the wind on your hair. Just imagine the feeling of being one with your car and the road as well. Feels great, doesn’t it? This time, imagine trying to slow down your descent and finding out that your brakes do not work. Now that would be a great misfortune.

The modern automotive brake system has become extremely independent, dependable, indispensable, and very efficient. All these are due to the experiences of drivers and innovations of automobile experts.

The brake system of an automobile generally consists of disk brakes. They are mounted and installed in the front and rear ends of the automobile. The disk brakes, or also known as drum brakes, installed in the rear is connected by a system of tubes and hoses. These then link the brake at each wheel and connect them to the master cylinder. If a person looks more closely into an automobile’s brake system, he would be able to discover that there are other systems that are connected to this system. These other systems include the parking brakes, the power brake booster, and the anti-lock system.

When a person steps on the brake pedal what actually happens is that he or she is actually pushing against the plunger found in the master cylinder. In doing this, it forces the hydraulic oil or brake fluid to go through a series of tubes and hoses to the braking unit at each wheel. The concept behind this is that hydraulic fluid, or any other kind of fluid, cannot be compressed. By pushing the fluid through the pipe, this produces the same action and reaction of like pushing a steel bar through a pipe.

However, the main difference between the hydraulic fluid and a steel bar is that the hydraulic fluid has the capacity to be directed through many twists and turns on its way to its destination while a steel bar has no capacity to do so. When releasing the brakes, after going through its maze, the fluid arrives back to its original location and state so that it can be used once again. What is essential, though, is to keep the liquid free from air bubbles. If there are air bubbles in the liquid this actually slows down and reduces the vehicle’s braking system’s efficiency. If this actually happens, the entire braking system must undergo a bleeding where the air can be removed. Each wheel cylinder and caliper has “bleeder screws” that facilitate the release of any air in the fluid.

Obviously brakes are an important part of safe driving. In today’s world of driving being able to stop your vehicle as quickly as possible is critical to your safety, the safety of your passengers and the safety of others. There are many symptoms that you should have checked out by an experienced auto mechanic: if it seems that the vehicle does not stop as quickly as it used to, if you feel a change in the way the pedal feels when you apply the brakes, if you feel the car pull to one side when you apply the brakes, when you feel the anti-lock brakes activate when they shouldn’t or if the ABS light is on in your vehicle.

If you live in Harford County Maryland – Forest Hill, Bel Air, Fallston – feel free to bring your vehicle to Forest Hill Car Care for a free brake check.

Start Saving Money At The Gas Pump

Start Saving Money At The Gas Pump

With the rising cost of gas prices…and no end in sight…everyone wants to save as much money at the gas pump as they possibly can.  You may not be able to control the price of gas but you can change certain habits and follow some basic guidelines to help you save as much money as possible.

Rising gas and oil prices each year mean that the average driver, who travels approximately 15,000 miles each year in a car that gets about 20 miles to the gallon, will pay more at the end of the year for his gas costs.

Every time that the price of gas goes up at the fuel pump by 10 cents the cost of the average drivers gas consumption will rise by about $75 over a year.

Only 15 percent of the fuel that you put into your car gets used and the rest of the energy is lost for many reasons.  It is important to maintain your car and have an understanding of how your vehicle operates.

If this information is foreign to you, you may consider taking a basic mechanics course to gain some knowledge.

The more that you understand about the way that your vehicle runs, and what it takes to properly maintain it, the more success you will have when it comes to understanding what steps to take to start saving money.

If only 15 percent of the fuel that you pay for gets used that means that you need to be absolutely certain that the condition in which your car is running is as efficient as it can be.

In addition to a mechanics course you may be able to find fuel saving tips that are available through a small mini-course at your local college.

You can try to shop around in your local area for the cheapest gas that you can find but you shouldn’t go too far out of your way to try and get that best price unless you’re already traveling in that direction anyway.

Once you start driving around looking for the gas pump that can beat the one in your neighborhood you start to increase the amount of money that you spend on your driving expenses.

Since your goal is to save money you would be defeating the purpose by driving around for too long.  Studies done by the AAA indicate that it will cost you approximately 51.7 cents per mile to drive your car this year.

Keep in mind that the IRS will only allow a deduction of 36 cents per mile so driving too far to get the cheapest gas isn’t always cost efficient.

While you are driving to a location that you would normally be going anyway you can of course keep your eyes open for the cheapest gas.

Use GasBuddy and Multitask Your Shopping Expeditions

Use GasBuddy and Multitask Your Shopping Expeditions

If you know of a certain gas station that consistently sells lower priced gas and it’s out of your way you might want to consider making a weekly or bi-weekly journey to this destination.

This way you can take a day to get gas, buy your groceries, and take a walk in the park within a different area of the city where you live. In effect, what you are doing is multitasking and saving money on your fuel costs at the same time.

One of the ways that you can save money at the gas pump is by using a gasoline credit card. When you have a gas card you’ll be able to get 5 or 10 percent rebate back on the purchase of your gas. This can amount to as much as $75 to $300 each year. If you have multiple drivers in your family you’ll want to make sure that every car driving person carries a gasoline credit card with them so that you can take advantage of multiple gas sales.

Many gasoline companies are joining up with other retailers to give you numerous savings at the gas pump.
You’ll be able to not only save on your gas purchase, but you’ll be able to earn points towards your next purchase with participating retailers.

Gasoline becomes denser in colder temperatures. Gas pumps are set to measure the volume of the fuel that you pump and not the density. This means that if you fill up your gas tank in the cooler morning temperatures, or in the colder evening hours, that you’ll be getting better gas price economy. Try to fill up your gas tank later in the evening to avoid the rush of day hours.

Using the Internet to find the lowest gas prices is a great way to have all the information that you need before getting into your car to fuel up. There are several sites on the Internet that will help you find the cheapest gas in your area. One of these sites is GasBuddy. GasBuddy has all the information for both the United States and Canada to help you find the lowest gas price on the day that you are filling up your gas tank.

GasBuddy has over 170 websites that it uses to get you the recent best prices. The price of gas is always changing so having the latest information is going to save you money over a period of time. There are times that the price of gas will vary by up to 20 percent within a short radius so it’s important to you to stay current with the lowest price of gas.

The information provided by GasBuddy is quite comprehensive. For example, after indicating that you live in Maryland you are directed to sites for different areas.

Choosing Baltimore, MD gives you the following information: (1) lowest price in the last 24 hours, (2) gas station name and address, and (3) time the last price was posted.

When you use GasBuddy you’ll be able to save that much more each time you buy gas for your vehicle.

Better Maintenance Better Performance

Better Car Maintenance Better Car Performance

Studies at FuelEconomy.com suggest replacing the air filter in your car on a regular basis. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve the mileage that you get with your car by up to 10 percent.

When you calculate that 10 percent into gasoline savings, you’ll be saving up to 15 cents per gallon. You can ask your mechanic to replace the air filter in your car.

Studies show that not only should you be replacing the air filter in your car on a regular basis, you should also be maintaining and regularly replacing the fuel filter. The cleaner that your fuel filter is the more efficiently your vehicle is going to run, saving you more money in fuel costs.

Have the fuel filter replaced when your car is in for a regular maintenance checkup.

You should be paying attention to the alignment in your car. Improper alignment will cause a certain amount of engine drag, which will increase the amount of gas that you are using. The better maintained that car is the better all around performance that you’ll get. Talk to your mechanic about your next alignment servicing.

One of the ways that you can tell if your car is due for alignment is if there is a pulling on the steering wheel when you are driving. If you are experiencing a type of pulling action it’s important that you schedule an appointment to have an alignment done.

When you regularly rotate your tires and check them for uneven use and wear you will find that you are saving in both tires and gas costs. After you have an alignment done on your car most mechanics will also rotate the tires. This doesn’t by any means mean that you should wait until you need an alignment to get those tires rotated. Check your tires regularly to see how they are doing on wear and tear.

If your tires are showing signs of balding you’ll want to replace them immediately since the better your tires are the better fuel consumption you’ll see. Not only should you be maintaining the engine of your car, you should also be paying attention to the tires that you are driving on.

• Purchase a tire gauge and check your car’s tire pressure every month. When you are driving around on tires that are under-inflated you can reduce the fuel efficiency of your car by up to 2 percent for each pound that the tires are under-inflated.

• Under-inflated tires wear out faster, which again contributes to higher gas consumption.

• Not only will you save on gas consumption when you maintain your tires, studies show that you will also save money on the maintenance of your vehicle by up to $250 each year.

• The best time to check your tire pressure is when it’s cool outside or in the morning after your car has been sitting for several hours without driving.

• Use appropriate tires for each season when possible. When you put away your winter tires in the warm weather you’ll be able to use them for several years