APRIL IS NATIONAL CAR CARE MONTH – “Be Car Care Aware”

Winter is gone and Spring has sprung!

In some parts of the state, spring often equates to rain and the unique road hazards that come with it, such as slick, wet roads.  

April was chosen for National Car Care Month because it is the perfect time to check or replace tires, brakes and windshield wipers–to get your vehicle ready for spring driving and summer road trips!

Established by the Car Care Council, National Car Care Month was developed to help educate vehicle owners about the importance of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair through a consumer education campaign “Be Car Care Aware.”

By encouraging consumers to schedule regular check-ups of their vehicles, inherent dangers and issues caused by deferring vehicle maintenance can be avoided.  Most importantly, well maintained vehicles last longer, improve highway safety and are better for the environment.

The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) has a plethora of resources for consumers such as the Top 5 Reasons to Read Your Owner’s Manual, Summer Driving Tips for Getting Your Car in Shape and they can even assist with finding a registered repair shop near you.

Remember: Check the license! Before scheduling a service appointment for your car, visit BAR’s website at www.bar.ca.gov.  Click on License Search or call (800) 952-5210.

NATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE PROFESSIONALS WEEK June 8 – 14, 2016

Since 2001, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence has declared one week in June as National Automotive Service Professionals Week.

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This year, June 8 – 14, is the designated week for consumers to show their appreciation to the men and women who repair and help maintain the myriad of vehicles we depend on for our daily transportation needs.

Today’s vehicles are more sophisticated and technically advanced than earlier models.  They are essentially computers driving on America’s roads.  Hours of training and education are necessary to properly diagnose and repair these vehicles and it requires a significant level of knowledge, skill and dedication.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs along with the Bureau of Automotive Repair and the Arbitration Certification Program are proud to recognize these professionals for their commitment to their customers and the automotive industry.

Tips for Keeping Your Car and Family Safe: Winter Driving

Most Californians are fortunate to live in areas where the notion of “winterizing” our vehicles is not necessary, but winter driving season is near so keep reading if you live in or are planning to visit an area where the barometric pressure can take a sharp dive well before the winter solstice.

Winter Driving Image

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) offers the following tips to keep you, your passengers, and your vehicle safe for driving this winter.

 WINTERIZE YOUR VEHICLE

Below are procedures you may already follow for proper vehicle maintenance, but driving during inclement conditions such as snow and ice really ups the ante.

  • Start with your owner’s manual

Be sure your vehicle is up-to-date on its recommended maintenance, including changing the engine oil and filter, and adding antifreeze, coolant, brake, automatic transmission, windshield wiper and steering fluids if needed.  Be sure to use the correct engine oil because engine oil thickens below a specific temperature.

  • Carry tire chains

Practice placing the chains on your tires before venturing out.  It’s better to get the hang of it before you need to use them.

  • Check the battery

Corrosion, cracks, and dirt can affect battery cables and hinder performance.

  • Be sure your brake system is in good shape

Have a licensed adjuster check pads and linings. Visit the BAR website at www.bar.ca.gov to find a licensed brake station.

  •  Inspect the lights

The inspection should include turn signals, brake, fog, and high beams. Cleaning your car’s lenses can maximize visibility.

  • Check hoses and belts

Look for any cracks, soft spots, or bulges that could be a potential problem and find a qualified technician for any repairs.  Visit the BAR website (www.bar.ca.gov) to find a licensed auto repair technician.

  • Test your vehicle’s heater and defrost systems

Make sure they are working properly.

  • Change wiper blades

Unless you recently purchased a pair, it is best to err on the side of caution and purchase new, quality, windshield wiper blades.

  • Inspect tires

Balding or underinflated tires reduce your vehicle’s handling and traction and can be a safety hazard.  Check the air pressure in your tires regularly, including the spare.

 

KEEP IN MIND

Road trips during the winter months, although beautiful, can be dangerous.  Below are additional precautions and items you might consider bringing while traveling in winter.

  • Share your plans

Let family members or friends know your dates of travel and proposed travel route.

  • Carry a road atlas

GPS reception can become compromised in remote areas or during storms.

  •  Bring extra windshield washer fluid

During a snowy or messy day of driving, you may use your windshield wipers and the washer fluid more than usual.

  • Fill’er up!

Your vehicle may become your life source should you become stranded during a winter road trip.  The more fuel you have, the longer the vehicle can idle to heat the interior of the car in an emergency.

  • Pack on the pounds

Keep sand bags or two 20-pound bags of kitty litter in the trunk to help add weight to improve rear wheel traction.  Sand and liter can also be spread on the ground in front of or behind wheels to provide traction if you get stuck in the snow.

BE PREPARED FOR THE UNEXPECTED

Pack a winter safety kit with the following essentials.

  • Jumper cables
  • NOAA Weather radio with re-chargeable battery and crank power option and phone/tablet charger through USB connection and flashlight
  • Extra batteries for smartphone
  • Basic first-aid supplies
  • Bottled water and non-perishable snacks
  • Fleece blankets
  • Extra clothing
  • Road safety flares
  • Windshield ice-scraper and brush
  • Tool kit
  • Cellphone and car charger

The Bureau of Automotive Repair has created a brochure with the above tips and more (http://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/BARWinterTips.pdf) to help you get your vehicle winter road trip ready.

ICYMI: Bureau of Automotive Repair Tests Counterfeit Airbags

As part of an investigation by ABC’s 20/20, the California Bureau of Automotive Repair was asked to test counterfeit airbags to demonstrate how dangerous they can be as illustrated in the video above. Please note no one was injured during this test.

For the complete ABC 20/20 story, click here.