When it comes to winter car care, many motorists think of antifreeze and batteries, but vehicles need extra attention when temperatures drop below zero. The non-profit Car Care Council offers six quick tips to help your vehicle perform at its best during cold weather months.
1) Keep the gas tank at least half full; this decreases the chance of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.
2) Check the tire pressure, including the spare, as tires can lose pressure when temperatures drop. Consider special tires if snow and ice are a problem in your area.
3) Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
4) If you’re not trying to defrost the windshield or warm the interior, modern cars are ready to be driven right away. Idling longer than 30 seconds in most cases is unnecessary for the sake of warming up the engine. The best way to warm up your car is to drive gently at the start.
5) Change to low-viscosity oil in winter as it will flow more easily between moving parts when it is cold. Drivers in sub-zero temperatures should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.
6) Consider using cold weather washer fluid and special winter windshield blades if you live in a place with especially harsh winter conditions.
“Sub-zero temperatures can have a real impact on your vehicle,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance and rough idling, and very cold temperatures reduce battery power. If you haven’t had your vehicle checked recently, a thorough vehicle inspection is a good idea so you can avoid the aggravation and unexpected cost of a breakdown in freezing weather.”
As a precaution, motorists should be sure their vehicle is stocked with an emergency kit containing an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.
Top Consumer Reviews- Best Warranty Coverage
December 4, 2018
Avoid Car Payments with New Month-to-Month Auto Warranties
So you’re finally done making your monthly car payment. Time to celebrate, right? Except, now your car is also at a much higher risk for expensive repairs.
You could get a new car to avoid repairs, but do you really want to get into another car payment just as you finally have some extra income to set aside?
Your best solution may be a new repair protection product that can save you from a car payment while giving you the peace of mind a newer car may be able to provide. New Month-to-Month Vehicle Service Contracts work more like a Home Appliance Warranty. As a true month-to-month protection plan, you can now keep your car for as long or as short as you like, even past 200,000 miles.
Month-to-Month vs. Traditional Term Warranties
With the month-to-month plans, you can protect yourself from expensive car repair for far less than a car payment and with less upfront expense than traditional “Term” Warranties.
Extended Auto Warranties, as most people call them, have been around since the 70’s. But those warranties come with the disappointment that they expire just as your car is getting to the age where mechanical problems become more frequent and more expensive.
While you could buy a 3, 4 or 5 year “extended warranty”, such plans also come with a $3,000 – $10,000 price tag. And to make matters worse, “Term” warranties are paid up front.
Some extended warranty companies will let you finance your warranty over 12 or 18 months, but regardless, you’re still out thousands of dollars in 18 months.
Meanwhile, a Month-to-Month Warranty only requires a nominal activation fee and allows you to pay as you go.
And, when you add up your monthly payments over 3 years, chances are you’ll still save a few hundred dollars in cost, not to mention the interest you may have accrued on your credit card.
Lock in your Price and Coverage Level and beat Inflation!
An additional benefit of Month-to-Month plans is that you can lock in a coverage level and price for as long as you own your car. Even as Mechanic Labor Rates rise with inflation, the premiums for your month-to-month extended warranty do not increase.
With Term Coverage, once it expires, you may be able to obtain yet another policy, but that policy will no longer cover the same amount of parts and electronics due to your vehicle’s age and mileage. Month-to-Month plans allow you to keep the most comprehensive coverage literally forever.
Repair Costs Are Skyrocketing!
Here’s a sobering fact. The average American household spends $3,269 a year on car maintenance and repairs. All those fancy gadgets like GPS, Bluetooth, Anti-Lock Brakes, Airbags and crash prevention sensors come at a high cost to American consumers. Cars nowadays are not the simple machines they used to be. Today, new vehicles are loaded with complex technology and electronics.
The average cost to repair an air conditioning system for example is $1,850. Over the next five years repair costs are going to increase about 12% per year. That $1,850 air conditioner repair today could cost as much as $3,000 to repair five years from now.
Not only has the cost of repairs skyrocketed, so has the cost of just diagnosing the issue. If your Check Engine Light comes on, the average repair shop charges between $100 – $150 just to hook your car up to a computer to tell us what’s wrong with your vehicle.
Are Cars less reliable than ever?
Even newer vehicles can experience unexpected mechanical problems, and particularly as of late. Recent manufacturer recalls are proof of that. According to automotive news site Edmunds.com, “Safety recalls for automobiles sold in the U.S. are soaring, and that’s leaving many consumers wondering whether the big numbers mean automotive reliability and safety are declining. It’s a valid question. The number of passenger vehicle recalls in 2014 set a new record, 324 campaigns, exceeding the previous record of 224 campaigns in 2004 by almost 45 percent.
Worse than the climbing total of recall campaigns, though, is that the number of cars and light trucks subject to those recalls is soaring. More than 63 million passenger vehicles were recalled in 2014. That’s more than triple the total for 2013 and slightly more than double the 30 million vehicles recalled in 2004.”
One third of recalls are brought about by consumer complaints after they had no choice but to pay for expensive repairs. This is when a Vehicle Service Contract or “Extended Warranty” can be really useful. Not only can the Warranty Administrators cover your repair costs, but they can also track repair patterns and report potential recall issues to manufacturers.
Extending Your Car’s Warranty makes Financial Sense!
Extended Warranty administrators have kept up with technology as they have now loaded up their repair protection plans with lots of Electronics and Hybrid Add-Ons.
It’s not too late to get an extended warranty on your car, even if it’s been out of warranty for years. If your car has less than 150,000 miles, chances are you still qualify for an extended warranty.
Commonly referred to as an Extended Auto Warranty, a Vehicle Service Contract offered by third parties is the best bet to keep repair costs in check. When purchasing an Extended Warranty, you will want to check the claim administrators record, reputation and financial stability. Ask your salesperson about the underwriter’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) and AM-Best ratings.
You choose the Repair Shop or Dealer!
Unlike the original manufacturer warranty, extended third party warranties are more flexible and provide more benefits. You can still take your car to the Dealer, but you also have the option of getting your car repaired by a more convenient repair shop. Additionally, Extended Warranties will actually provide you with a Rental Car while your car is in the shop and cover you for towing and roadside assistance. If you’re paying out of pocket for Roadside Assistance already, you’ll be able to cancel that service and apply your savings to your month-to-month extended warranty.
After looking at most common scenarios of what an average person will pay in auto repairs after a car is out of factory warranty, it makes sense to extend coverage. But it is important to understand what you’re getting into and especially what is covered and what isn’t. Like any other type of product that will last for years, it pays to spend 5 minutes going over what you get, what is excluded, and what other perks come along with it. Things such as roadside assistance, loaner cars, and trip interruption can be included or offered as options. But an extended auto warranty is something that everyone should at least consider. No matter how you slice it, an $80-$99 monthly auto warranty payment is far less than a car payment!