Thursday, March 24, 2005

Is your Car Ready for Summer?

Is Your Car Ready for Summer?
The Experts at Offer Easy Road Trip Tips Anyone Can Use

Summer is on its way and that means more and more people will be hitting the open highway to enjoy the great outdoors this year. Road trips are fun, but if your car strands you along the roadside somewhere, it can put a real damper on your highway excursion.

If you’re planning a road trip with your family or friends this summer season, be sure to prep your car with these handy ‘road trip tips’ offered by the experts at (, a leading vehicle information website. For ‘do-it-yourselfers’, you can perform these quick and easy inspections on your own. For added peace of mind, suggests taking this list with you to your local automotive dealer where you can have your car serviced by an accredited car mechanic.

1. Tire Test

Tires are important – they’re the only things connecting your car to the road, so examine them carefully. Pay close attention to tire pressure and tire tread – you can buy a tire pressure gauge and tread depth gauge from your local auto parts store. When checking tire pressure, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for correct air pressure information or refer to information usually posted on the inside of your car’s doorjamb. Check your tires before you drive even one mile (when they’re cold) to determine if you need to inflate or deflate each tire to arrive at the correct pressure. Next, use the tread depth gauge to determine if you need to replace your tires – each tire should have at least 2/32” of tread or more; this is the minimum amount of tread allowed by law. Finally, be sure to check your spare tire for adequate tire pressure and tread depth as well.

2. Got Fluids?

Hot summer weather can wreak havoc on your car’s engine – that’s why it’s important to check your vehicle’s fluids to keep it running smoothly and reliably this summer. If you don’t know how to check your car’s fluids, refer to your owner’s manual or have your local mechanic assist you. Start with the oil – suggests using a thicker-weight oil in the summer because hot weather tends to thin oil which can cause inadequate lubrication of important engine parts. While you’re at it, make sure you check the transmission, differential, power steering and brake fluids. You might need to replace or refill the liquids. And finally, be sure to fill the windshield wiper fluids and antifreeze – antifreeze is designed to prevent your car from overheating during hot summer months.

3. Motor Skills

Lift the hood and check your car’s engine components. Start by examining the battery and cables for any cracks, corrosion or dirt. Hot weather can shorten the life of your battery – if you need to, replace it before a long road trip. Next up? Take a look at the radiator and hoses for cracks and leaks and don’t forget to change the air filter. Air filters prevent dirt and dust from seeping into your engine, which can decrease the performance of your car’s engine while reducing gas mileage in the process. Don’t know a thing about checking your engine components? Don’t worry – your local mechanic can help.

4. Component Check 101

Finally, check the components of your car, including the air conditioning, windshield wipers and the exterior and interior lights (including the Check Engine light). Turn your air conditioning on, let it run for a while and then turn it off. Listen for unusual noises and be sure to put your hand in front of the air vent to gauge the air temperature. Replace worn windshield wiper blades. And test all of your vehicle’s interior and exterior lights, including your headlight high beams to make sure they’re working properly. Never leave home for a long road trip when the Check Engine light is on or when a malfunction indicator light is illuminated. It’s important to have engine problems diagnosed and fixed prior to your departure.

5. Safety First recommends having a well-stocked emergency kit in your car at all times, especially for long road trips. Be sure to include a basic tool kit (such as screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers), emergency flairs, a flashlight with fresh batteries, jumper cables, a tire iron, a jack and plenty of drinking water in case you’re stranded for a long period of time.

Additionally, recommends maintaining your vehicle based on the servicing recommendations outlined in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. A regularly maintained car with corresponding service records and applicable paperwork will usually fetch a premium price – and will typically be more desirable to a potential buyer – at resale time.

“Not only are these inspection and safety tips important in preparing you for a summer road trip, they’re a vital part of regular car care no matter the season,” said Mark Perleberg, lead auto expert, “Get in the habit of inspecting your car – or having a certified mechanic at your local car dealership inspect your car – on a regular basis. An ounce of car care prevention can help you avoid costly and unnecessary repairs in the future.”

About (

N.A.D.A. Appraisal Guides ( is the world’s largest publisher of vehicle valuations and specification information for new and used cars, trucks, vans and SUVs, as well as van conversions, limousines, classic and collectible cars, boats, RVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, personal watercraft and manufactured housing. offers a variety of new and used vehicle services in addition to pricing and specification information. Throughout its 72-year history, N.A.D.A. Appraisal Guides has earned the reputation as the recognized authority for vehicle valuations. Its website,, is the most comprehensive vehicle information resource on the Internet today.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Flood Damaged Car Buying Tips

How to Spot a Flood-Damaged Car

The Experts at Offer Tips to Help Used Car Shoppers Avoid Buying a Flood-Damaged Ride

January 20, 2005 – Costa Mesa, CA – Rain, hail, sleet, floods, mudslides…this winter has definitely been a bear for residents all over the nation. But as the weather begins to break and as we approach the busy season for car sales, shoppers should be on the lookout for used cars that may have sustained flood damage this winter – damage that can go unnoticed to the untrained eye.

The experts at, a leading vehicle information website, offer the following tips to help used car shoppers avoid buying a flood-damaged car.

1. Check the vehicle’s history.
First thing’s first – be sure to check the car’s title history at to determine if the vehicle may have sustained significant water damage in the past. Unless a car was considered damaged beyond the cost of repair, however, the title will not indicate flood damage. Nevertheless, it’s still a good idea to start your homework by obtaining a car’s history report to be sure the vehicle wasn’t considered a total loss due to excessive water damage. Vehicle history reports are available at the Used Car Center. Consumers can click on the Vehicle History Report tab in the Resources section for more information.

2. Use your nose.
Your nose is a great tool in determining whether a car has sustained significant water damage in the past. Virtually every flood-damaged vehicle will have an unusual musty smell, such as those odors brought on by mold or mildew. No matter how dry a car might be on the inside today, use your nose as a guide to alert you to any water damage it may have sustained in the past.

3. Check for residue.
Look for water and grit inside the car and inside the engine compartment as signs of a potential submersion. Check under the dashboard for dried mud or residue and be sure to lift the trunk mats and check for signs of water, grit, mud or residue of any kind. Be concerned if you notice excessive dirt, mud or water stains in or around areas of the vehicle that aren’t exposed to the elements. And don’t forget to look for unusual or excessive moisture in the car’s gauges.

4. Check the carpet.
Check for recently shampooed carpet and be sure to inquire about newly installed carpets or headliners in relatively new vehicles – for the most part, carpets and headliners should last for many years without needing repair or replacement.

5. Look for rust.
Look for rust on the inside of the car and under interior carpeting. Also, check for rust on screws inside the console or other areas of the car where water simply wouldn’t reach had the car not been submerged and don’t forget to check for surface rust under the trunk mats.

“These inspection suggestions won’t detect flood damage in every case,” said Mark Perleberg, lead auto expert at, “but they’re a great starting point. We advise shoppers to obtain a vehicle history report, perform their own inspection and if they’re still uncertain, have a professional mechanic take a look at the vehicle prior to purchase for added peace of mind.”

Jennifer Lange,
Director of Public Relations
714/556-8511 ext. 265

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

New Car Buying Basics

New Car Buying Basics

The experts at offer simple tips anyone can use to make new car buying a breeze.

January 11, 2004 – Costa Mesa, CA – Maybe it’s that new car smell or the thrill of owning a brand-spanking-new car nobody else has ever owned. Whatever the reason, purchasing a new vehicle can be a thrill. For some shoppers, however, the process can be a bit scary. Getting back to the basics, the experts at – a leading vehicle information website – offer the following tips to make your next new car buying experience a breeze.

Do your homework.
Before you set foot in any new car dealership, do your homework. Determine the type of vehicle that best fits your needs, your wants and your lifestyle. offers a comprehensive New Car Information Center to help you choose your ideal ride, including a side-by-side comparison tool to let you compare up to four different vehicles simultaneously – a convenient alternative to visiting a variety of different manufacturer’s websites. Additionally, you can research safety information, read expert reviews, and build and price vehicles by choosing the make, model, colors and options that interest you most. The New Car Information Center allows you to research virtually every aspect of every new vehicle available on the market.

Check your wallet.
Next up – determine your budget and stick to it. If you’re financing a car, find out exactly how much you can afford to spend on a monthly basis. Again, offers a wealth of vehicle pricing resources to help you do the math as well as a Credit Check service to determine what type of credit you have and what type of loan you could qualify for. Don’t forget to factor in any down payments or trade-in allowance (if you have a used car you’re trading towards the purchase of a new car, be sure to check the trade-in price at and be sure to research any Current Offers available for the car you want to buy, if applicable. Current Offers are manufacturer-to-consumer incentives and rebates (and in many cases dealers also offer their own incentives) that ultimately reduce the car’s overall purchase price. Also, be sure to determine the price of the exact features and options you want ahead of time since many options and add-ons will increase the amount of money you’ll spend.

Get a quote.
Now it’s time to get a price quote from a local dealer. The most convenient way to obtain a quote is to submit a new car purchase request online at a vehicle information website such as This request is then routed to a local dealer in your area who can provide you with a quick and easy price quote over the phone or via email, depending on your preference. Be sure to ask the dealer if the vehicle you’re interested in buying is available at the dealership ahead of time. If the dealership doesn’t have the car in inventory, they might be able to locate the car for you.

Take a test drive.
No amount of online research can replace the experience of an actual, physical test drive, so be sure to take that new car for a spin. You can test drive new vehicles at a local car dealership, you could ask a family member or friend who owns a similar vehicle to take their car for a ride, or you could rent a similar car with similar options for a day or two and spend some quality time examining and driving it before you make your final decision. A test drive is extremely important, so take the time and do it right.

Get the best price.
If you get a reasonable price quote for your car (with tax, license and other applicable fees), one with an affordable monthly payment and one that includes incentives and rebates that make the deal even sweeter, it’s time to sign on the dotted line. If you think there’s some wiggle room between what the dealer is asking and what you’re willing to pay, however, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Depending on the vehicle, a dealer may be willing to negotiate a lower final sales price. Next, be sure to discuss financing if needed. Consider securing a loan at the dealership or research other financing options, such as programs offered by banks, credit unions or other independent lenders. Finally, if you’re trading in a used car for credit towards the purchase of your new car, be sure to research its value at prior to the negotiation process. Obviously, any credit for your trade-in coupled with any down payment you make will ultimately reduce the car’s overall purchase price.

More new car buying tips are available online at Shoppers can click on the “Auto Resources” tab at the home page to access the information.

Jennifer Lange,
Director of Public Relations
714/556-8511 ext. 265