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Ten Tips For Maintenance…

Where has 2012 gone? It is SO hard to believe that May is just around the corner! Putting together my game plan for spring cleaning around the house, and my husband reminded me that on my way to work, I should stop and take my car through the local car wash; made me think….hmmm….maybe I should create a ‘honey-do’ Spring Cleaning list for our cars:)

Check Brakes
Brakes are one of the most used (and often abused) components. A thin layer of the brake pad disintegrates every time the brakes are applied. It’s vital to replace pads or shoes before drums or rotors become damaged. Check pads, shoes, drums, rotors, calipers, fittings, brake hardware and parking brake to prevent problems.

Check Tires
A smooth and safe ride starts when the rubber meets the road. Check air pressure on all tires, including the spare, as improper tire pressure leads to premature wear and a decrease in fuel mileage. The entire surface of the tire, both tread and side-wall, should be inspected for uneven or irregular wear. Excessive edge wear, center wear and shoulder wear may be signs that other maintenance is required.

Check Wiper Blades
Be prepared for spring showers and summer storms. Properly functioning wiper blades increase visibility in all conditions. Mopar all-season wiper blades are made from an all-metal superstructure that provides durability and reliable performance, featuring an innovative wear indicator that gradually turns from black to green to yellow as the blades wear.

Check Headlamps, Tail Lamps, Turn Signals and Hazard Lights
Properly functioning headlamps and tail lamps play an important role in safe driving, especially at nighttime, or in rainy or foggy conditions. Inspect and test all exterior lamps and lights, including turn signals and hazard lights to ensure they are in proper working order and alignment.

Check Air Filter
The air filter is one of the unsung heroes of a vehicle, as it protects the engine from airborne contaminants. Poor air flow within the engine hinders performance and can lead to greater fuel consumption. Replacing a dirty air filter allows clean, unrestricted air flow into the engine and helps ensure proper performance and longer life.

Check Oil
Oil is the lifeblood of the engine. Engine oil level should be checked often, with the oil being changed and replenished regularly. Low or dirty oil may have dire consequences on how the engine and its components perform, especially under the extreme heat and conditions of summer driving.

Check All Fluid Levels
With the increase in miles driven during warm-weather months, vehicle fluids and lubricants should be checked often and changed at factory-recommended intervals to make sure they’re fresh and filled. Dirty fluids and low fluids may affect the performance of a vehicle and can lead to breakdowns if not properly monitored and filled.

Check Engine Belts, Hoses and Fuel Filter
Belts and hoses under the hood play an important part in the proper function and performance of the engine. Prevent breakdowns or serious engine damage by replacing belts and hoses at recommended intervals. Quality-tested Mopar belts and hoses offer precision fit, optimal service life and original-equipment performance. Checking and replacing the fuel filter is also key to ensuring that the engine is running at its optimal level and maximizes fuel economy.

Check Battery
Following a winter full of cold-morning starts, definitely check the battery. Having reserve power to run the air conditioning and other vehicle accessories in the summer is priceless. When checking the battery, be sure to look for corroded terminals, and inspect for a bulging or cracked case.

Check Shocks & Struts
Following the traditional cold-weather pothole season, shocks and struts should be checked. Shocks and struts are vital to a smooth ride and may also affect a number of related parts on your vehicle. By the way, OEM recommended shocks and struts optimize vehicle handling, tire life and keep vehicles riding smoothly.

If you don’t have a handy-man around the house or you are not a “do-it-yourself” kind of gal; click, call, or visit one of our Express Service Lanes. Most of these “get your car ready for warm weather driving tips” — or, Spring-Cleaning ideas for your autos — can be handled with no appointment, AND we do have Saturday hours! Greenwood, IN location / Indianapolis, IN location. Looking for service specials? Check out our ever-changing list of service offers!

By the way, we LOVE feedback…please don’t hesitate to let us know how we are doing.

Regards,
O’Brien Automotive Family – “Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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Even though we had a mild winter, I think most of us are itching to get out of the house and ‘take a road trip’! So…what to do? Canoeing? Hiking? Bird watching? Are you a wildflower enthusiast? Indiana has you covered! Here is a snap shot of some of the lesser known parks and recreation areas in Indiana you might want to consider.

Let’s start out by talking about Charlestown State Park, located in southern Indiana. This park is one of the best places for hikers and wildflower enthusiasts to go in the spring. The topography and trails in this relatively new 5,100-acre state park provide some rugged challenges, but a visit in May to see wild geranium, trillium, and other spring wildflowers is worth the walk. By the way, bird watchers will enjoy the 72 species of birds, including bluebirds, black vultures and an occasional bald eagle.

Next stop, Monroe Lake! This park is an awesome place to watch migrating waterfowl and to hear returning warblers and other woodland nesting birds. This 13,952-acre property includes a 3,000-plus acre lake and several marshes.

Into wildlife watching? The best way to enjoy this passion is to grab an oar and paddle the waters at Chain O’Lakes State Park. This park  is a great place to enjoy the outdoors from the seat of a canoe. Named for the chain of seven lakes that are linked by channels, the 2,718-acre park features camping, hiking, a seasonal interpretive center in a historic schoolhouse and, of course, great places for quiet canoe trips.

Bottom line, Indiana is blessed with a park to fit everyone’s wishes. Visit this website that covers all that Indiana has to offer, and start planning your day trip!

By the way, we LOVE feedback…please don’t hesitate to let us know how we are doing.

Regards,
O’Brien Automotive Family – “Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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Is a Dirty Cabin Air Filter Preventing You From Breathing Easily in Your Car?

Almost everyone knows that home heating and air conditioning systems have a filter to help trap airborne particles. Did you know your vehicle may have a similar filter? More than 80 percent of new domestic and import vehicles sold in the U.S. today (model years 2000 and newer) come equipped with cabin air filtration systems or a slot where one can be installed. If you get headaches, allergic reactions or breathing problems riding in your car, it’s probably time to change the cabin air filter.

During the hot summer months, contaminants, such as pollen, dust, mold spores and smog, can easily enter a vehicle`s passenger compartment through the air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems, making the air in the car six times dirtier than the air outside, cautions the Car Care Council.
Motorists can protect themselves and their passengers from these containments by replacing the vehicle`s cabin air filter annually (every 12,000 miles) or more often in areas with heavy containments, or whenever heating or cooling efficiency is reduced. Here is a quick video on how to replace your cabin air filter. Cabin air filters clean the incoming air and remove allergens – especially beneficial to people who suffer from allergies.

If the cabin air filter is not replaced, it can cause musty odors in the vehicle, and over time, the heater and air conditioner may become damaged by corrosion. A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can also cause containments to become so concentrated in the cabin that passengers actually breathe in more fumes and particles when riding in the car compared to walking down the street.

By the way, most of this information was reprinted from the Car Care Council’s site. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! By the way, we LOVE feedback…please don’t hesitate to let us know how we are doing.

Regards,
O’Brien Automotive Family – “Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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Maintaining and Servicing Today`s High-Tech Cars and Trucks…time for another “tid-bit” that will help you keep your auto in good running order to help minimize your overall driving expenses.

Each year, cars and trucks seem to get more and more complicated. Today`s vehicles have as many as 50 micro-processors under the control of a central computer. From sophisticated engine controls to high-end electronic systems, it takes sophisticated training and specialized equipment to service and maintain “your ride”. As your dealer, it is our job to confirm these complex systems are working properly, discover when they aren`t and fix them properly. The days of the conventional “tune-up” are long gone!

So….how do we know what`s going on in there when you bring your vehicle in for service? Well, we tap into the “communications bus”, the method by which each component, module and sensor communicates its status to a central memory module that stores the information, compiling both the nominal (good) and the faults (bad). There is a multi-pin information port in each vehicle where we plug in our computers. We download this information to our diagnostic equipment in the service department.

Geez…sounds confusing, doesn`t it? As any “shade-tree mechanic” will tell you, today`s cars and trucks are too complicated. We agree they are complicated, but having the right diagnostic systems and tools makes all the difference. Cars and trucks still have service intervals recommended by the manufacturer.

…..as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Bottom line? Today, we figure out the problem using systems analysis with the help of our specialized computers. Once we understand the problem, fixing your vehicle is still based on the basic principles of mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic systems. If it`s broke, we can fix it!! Or, if you are a “do-it-yourselfer” — for newer automobiles, here is a detailed gameplan you might consider. Driving an older car, truck, or van? Check out this article.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! By the way, we LOVE feedback…please don’t hesitate to let us know how we are doing.

Regards,

O’Brien Automotive Family – “Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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Miracles for increasing fuel efficiency don`t exist!!

When gas prices go up, the scam artists show up. Products that claim to boost gas mileage are bogus, according to the EPA. After testing hundreds of “mileage maximizers,” the EPA says it “has not found any product that significantly improves mileage.” Experts say they all have one thing in common. “They don`t work,” says John Millett, spokesman for the EPA. The EPA to date has tested in the neighborhood of 100 gas-saving devices, the most recent at the request of the Federal Trade Commission. In addition, Popular Mechanics magazine`s experts recently tested seven fuel-saving products and found no significant change in miles-per-gallon ratings. Two products actually increased fuel consumption by 20 percent, and a third one melted before they could complete the test. How about the claim that higher octane means higher power? Wrong…..an engine designed to run on regular unleaded will not experience a power- boost if you put premium gas in the tank. Use the fuel grade specified by the manufacturer – nothing less and nothing more.

So whom do you trust when it comes to getting the best fuel mileage your car or truck can achieve?
Your dealer`s service department, that`s who!

There`s a reason the manufacturer publishes a recommended service schedule. These intervals are derived from the manufacturer`s engineering and testing to determine what is necessary to maintain the performance of key components:

• The best way to get the best mileage is to maintain your vehicle according to the manufacturer`s service schedule.
• The best way to maintain your vehicle is doing factory authorized service / using original equipment and parts.

Conclusion? The old adage that “something that sounds too good to be true, probably is ” nearly always applies. So, don`t be “fuelish” and let those scammers put one over on you.

I certainly hope that my posted “tid-bits” will help you keep your auto in good running order and help minimize your overall driving expenses. Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! By the way, we LOVE feedback…please don’t hesitate to let us know how we are doing.

Regards,

O’Brien Automotive Family – “Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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This is the second post in my series of ‘tid-bits’ that will help you keep your auto in good running order:

Auto technicians say the key to keeping vehicles running well -today and down the road- is routine maintenance. However, many drivers tend to stall when it comes to keeping up with some everyday auto-basics. A recent survey by the Car Care Council found:

• 38 percent of cars had low or dirty engine oil.
• 54 percent had low tire pressure.
• 28 percent had inadequate cooling protection.
• 19 percent needed new belts.
• 16 percent had dirty air filters.
• 10 percent had low or contaminated brake fluid.

For your convenience, I highly recommend reading the Car Care Council’s easy to read Service Interval Schedule . This schedule is an easy to read and it will help you keep track of regular maintenance. Most of the checks and services described can be done at little or no cost. Best of all, they are quick and easy to do.

I certainly hope that my posted “tid-bits” will help you keep your auto in good running order and help minimize your overall driving expenses. Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! And, we LOVE feedback…please don’t hesitate to let us know how we are doing.

Regards,

O’Brien Automotive Family – “Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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In a word, “ouch”! I am sure that you have seen the recent news and headlines….Gas prices are expected to rise – “Local motorists could be paying more than $4 per gallon for gasoline by Memorial Day.” Why? The higher prices are expected because of seasonal demand patterns, rising tensions with Iran and increasing demand for oil from China, said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. Per DeHaan, “A sudden slowdown of the U.S. economy might be the only thing that would drive gas prices down. “That is the double-edge sword with gas prices,” DeHaan said. “Prices rise when the economy is improving; they fall when it is not.”

So…what is a person to do? Check out our “Nine Ways to Conserve Your Gasoline” below!

NINE WAYS TO CONSERVE YOUR GASOLINE
1. Slow Down
One of the best ways to save on gas is to reduce your speed. According to the DOE, every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph represents a 7 percent decrease in fuel economy.
2. Check Your Tire Pressure
Under-inflated tires have more rolling resistance, which causes you to burn more fuel to keep the car moving. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (if equipped), or the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) label on or near the driver’s side door. Properly inflated tires may improve your fuel economy by up to 3.3 percent.
3. Accelerate With Care
Fast acceleration wastes fuel. Accelerate modestly so the transmission can shift up into the higher gears more efficiently. Rapid acceleration and braking can lower your gas mileage by up to 33 percent on the highway and up to 5 percent during city driving.
4. Drive A Consistent Speed
Follow the lead of trucks and keep a consistent speed. Constant slowing down and speeding up reduces fuel economy. Consider using cruise control when appropriate.
5. Avoid Excessive Idling
Idling your vehicle gets 0 miles per gallon.
6. Stick With Stock
New wheels and tires may look cool, but if they’re not the same as the OEM specifications, they could create more resistance, thereby reducing fuel economy.
7. Clean Out Your Car
Carrying around extra baggage ? or anything that you don’t need for that trip ? only adds extra weight to your car and impacts fuel economy. For example, depending on your vehicle’s weight, an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could decrease your MPG by up to two percent.
8. Plan Your Trips Better
Consider grouping your trips instead of making several trips to accomplish your daily tasks. Several short trips may use twice as much fuel as a single, longer trip that covers the same distance.
9. Use The Proper Maintenance Fluids and Replacement Parts
Always use the engine oil, replacement parts and any other fluids that the manufacturer recommends. Change your oil at the recommended intervals and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for all routine maintenance.

Over the next several weeks, I will be posting “tid-bits” that will help you keep your auto in good running order to help minimize your overall driving expenses. Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! And, we LOVE feedback…please don’t hesitate to let us know how we are doing.

Regards,

O’Brien Automotive Family – “Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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