Posts Tagged ‘Car Care’

Most U.S. Drivers Leery of Auto Repair Shops

December 1st, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Mariam Ali Contact TileAAA advises that finding a trusted mechanic is more important than ever

ORLANDO, Fla. (December 1, 2016) – According to a new AAA survey, two out of three U.S. drivers do not trust auto repair shops in general – citing overcharges, recommendations for unnecessary services and poor past experiences for their lack of confidence. However, the survey also reveals that the majority (64 percent) of U.S. drivers have singled out an auto repair shop that they do trust, suggesting that consumers have prioritized finding a reliable mechanic in an industry with imperfect reputation. AAA urges all drivers to identify a reputable repair facility well before one is needed.

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“To minimize the stress associated with vehicle repair and maintenance, it is critical that drivers find an honest repair shop that they can trust with their vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “AAA found that one-third of U.S. drivers – 75 million motorists in total – have yet to find a trusted repair facility, leaving them vulnerable when trouble strikes.”

With today’s cars collecting a variety of data about the health of the vehicle, drivers need a trusted repair facility more than ever. “Connected cars” with built-in diagnostic capabilities can alert drivers to vehicle trouble and help repair shops quickly and accurately address issues. Unsurprisingly, given concerns around data security, AAA found that the majority of U.S. drivers want the ability to direct their vehicle’s data to the repair shop of their choice – the trusted facility with whom they have built a relationship.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • The top reasons that U.S. drivers do not trust repair shops are:
    • Recommending unnecessary services (76 percent)
    • Overcharging for services (73 percent)
    • Negative past experiences (63 percent)
    • Concerns that the work will not be done correctly (49 percent)
  • Older drivers are more likely to trust auto repair shops than younger drivers.
    • Baby Boomers are twice as likely than younger generations to fully trust auto repair facilities in general, with one-in-five reporting they “totally trust” the industry.
    • Baby Boomers (76 percent) are also more likely to have a chosen auto repair shop that they trust compared to Millennials (55 percent) and Gen-Xers (56 percent).

“As a service to our members and the general public, the AAA Approved Auto Repair program is designed to help drivers identify trustworthy repair shops,” Nielsen continued. “Facilities meet AAA standards by undergoing a rigorous investigation conducted by Automotive Service Excellence certified inspectors, including quarterly inspections and annual re-certifications that ensures high professional standards for technical training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. Plus, if something does go wrong, AAA steps in to arbitrate any issues on behalf of its members.”

To find a trustworthy auto repair shop, AAA suggests that drivers:

  • Look for a repair shop before issues occur. Ask family and friends for recommendations and visit AAA.com/autorepair to locate an AAA Approved Auto Repair facility near you.
  • Research potential repair shops and find out how long they have been in business. This can be a good indicator of shop quality. Also, look into how they deal with consumer complaints. The Better Business Bureau, State Department of Consumer Affairs or attorney general’s office can provide those complaints.
  • Visit the auto repair shop for a minor job such as an oil change or tire rotation. While waiting, talk with shop employees and inspect the shop’s appearance, amenities, technician credentials, and parts and labor warranty. If you find the service to be good, stick with them. Build a relationship with the technician so they can get to know you and your vehicle.

AAA’s Approved Auto Repair (AAR) program was created more than 35 years ago and includes nearly 7,000 facilities across North America. Once a shop meets AAA’s high standards, including certifications, technical training, cleanliness, insurance requirements, it becomes part of the AAR program where it’s re-inspected annually and monitored for customer satisfaction. AAA members receive several unique benefits by selecting an AAR facility, including priority service, a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty, discounts on repairs, free inspections, AAA assistance with dispute resolutions and more.

For additional information about the survey, including a fact sheet and infographics, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

 Ginnie PritchettAAA Experts provide advice on successfully preparing your student for car ownership at college

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ORLANDO, Fla., (July 17, 2013) – Nearly 22 million students will head to college this fall. However, while many parents prepare their teens with instructions about personal safety, laundry and cooking, they sometimes forget to address the important subject of automobile maintenance and repair before sending their young adult off to college with a vehicle.

“Frequently, a teenager’s vehicle is maintained by parents while living at home, and lessons on proper car care are only briefly discussed and seldom utilized,” said John Nielsen, director of AAA Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Before hitting the road, it is vital that your college student fully understands how to independently take care of their vehicle.”

Before sending a son or daughter off to college with an automobile, AAA encourages parents to sit down with the child and discuss a plan for proper vehicle maintenance, as well as how to deal with unexpected problems when parental rescue is more than just a few minutes away.

Check and Maintain Tires
Tires are one of the easiest components of a vehicle to maintain, but they are frequently overlooked until something goes wrong. Every student should have a tire pressure gauge in their vehicle, know where it is located, and understand how to use it properly. . While there are a variety of tire pressure gauges, those with electronic readouts might be the easiest for the teen to use.  Explain that tires should be checked at least once a month when the tires are cold.

Show your young adult where to find the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure – typically on a label located on the driver’s door jamb or in the glove box. It is important to let them know they should not use the inflation pressure found on the tire sidewall. That is the tire’s maximum pressure level, but it might not be the correct pressure for the tire when used on their particular vehicle.

To demonstrate proper tire care, AAA offers a number of short videos that can be viewed on the AAA YouTube channel.  These videos can be easily saved and sent as reminders to your child to take a few minutes and check their tires.

Know the Vehicle’s Maintenance Schedule
Performing the manufacturer’s regularly scheduled maintenance on a vehicle will greatly extend its life and help ward off more costly repairs down the road. While it’s a good idea to make sure your student’s car is current with all maintenance items prior to sending them off to college, it’s possible some items will be due while they are away.

Sit down and go over the owner’s manual with your son or daughter. Explain the recommended maintenance schedule and remind them that in addition to basic oil changes other important items such as filters, batteries and brakes must also be regularly checked and maintained.  AAA recommends that parents and teens create a shared calendar with reminders so both are aware of any upcoming required maintenance or services.

The school year spans the winter months when inclement weather can place added demands on vehicle electrical systems. The average lifespan of a car battery is three to five years, so AAA recommends that any battery in this age range be checked before the student leaves for school. In many areas, the AAA Mobile Battery Service will come to a member’s home and provide this service at no charge.

Find a Repair Facility Near College
It is important for parents to help teens identify an auto repair shop they can trust near their school in case routine servicing or unexpected repairs become necessary.

If unfamiliar with the area around a college, visit AAA.com/Repair  to locate nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities. As a free public service for all motorists, AAA inspects auto repair shops around the country and only approves those that meet and continually maintain high professional standards for equipment, customer service, cleanliness and training.

When first arriving at the college, AAA recommends parents and students visit the selected repair shop and meet the staff.  Ask for some shop business cards that you and your teen can keep handy in case an emergency arises.

Prepare for Roadside Emergencies
It is also important for parents to prepare their children for a breakdown or other roadside emergency – especially if they are attending college too far away to ‘call home’ for help.

Make sure the teen’s vehicle has a well-stocked roadside emergency kit with contents suitable for local weather conditions during the school year. A basic kit should include a flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, first-aid kit, bottled water, rags or paper towels, a tire pressure gauge, a blanket, granola or energy bars, and a selection of basic hand tools. In areas with winter ice and snow, add an ice scraper, snow brush and kitty litter or other material to increase traction if stuck in snow.

For added peace of mind, provide the teen membership in a motor club such as AAA that offers reliable roadside assistance through a large dedicated network of service providers with good coverage in and around the college. Remember, AAA’s many benefits are available to members no matter whose vehicle in they are in, so parents won’t have to worry about their teen being stranded in a friend’s vehicle with no access to emergency road service.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 15, 2010

With nearly 40 million hitting the roadways during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, AAA encourages travelers to perform five basic car care tasks to avoid unnecessary breakdowns

Christie HydeAAA estimates nearly 40 million Americans will take to the road during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend as 94 percent of the anticipated 42.2 million travelers are expected to drive to their destination.

To help holiday travelers avoid car trouble and unnecessary delays, AAA recommends drivers

perform five basic car care tasks before hitting the road. These should be done at least a week in advance to allow time to address any issues that may be discovered.

1. Tires – Check tire pressures and tread depth. Check the pressure on all the tires—including the spare—with a quality gauge when the tires are cold. The proper pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker most often located on the driver’s door jamb. Do not use the pressure stamped on the sidewall of the tire. Note that the pressure levels may be different for the front and rear tires.

Check tread depth at several locations on each tire by placing a quarter upside down in the tread grooves. If the top of Washington’s head is exposed at any point, it’s time to start shopping for new tires. While checking the tread, look for uneven tire wear that can indicate alignment, suspension or wheel balance problems that need to be addressed to prevent further damage.

2. Wiper Blades – Wiper blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace them if they leave streaks or miss spots. Also, make sure the windshield washer reservoir is filled with a cleaning solution that will not freeze in cold weather.

3. Battery – Ensure the battery cable connections are tight, and the terminals are free from corrosion. If the battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested to determine how much life it has left. AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and can replace it on-site, if necessary.

4. Emergency Road Kit – It’s always a good idea to carry an emergency kit when traveling—and especially so when one might encounter winter weather. The winter emergency kit should include:

  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Sand, cat litter, or traction mats
  • Small shovel
  • Gloves, hats and blankets
  • Flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Shop rags or paper towels
  • Jumper cables
  • Warning flares or triangles
  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable energy/granola bars
  • Extra warm clothes
  • First-aid kit
  • Basic hand tools
  • Mobile phone and car charger with important numbers pre-programmed, including a roadside assistance provider

 

5. Vehicle Inspection – If it’s almost time for scheduled maintenance, take the opportunity to have the car serviced before a trip. If it has been some time since the vehicle last saw the inside of a repair shop, it would be smart to have it thoroughly inspected by a qualified technician who can identify potential problems before they put a damper on holiday travel.

The AAA Approved Auto Repair program is a free public service that helps consumers find quality auto repair shops they can trust. AAA-approved repair facilities are regularly inspected by AAA for adherence to AAA standards of customer service, technical capabilities and equitable business practices. AAA stands behind the services these shops perform for AAA members. With nearly 8,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America, a nearby repair professional can be quickly located at AAA.com/repair.

Should Thanksgiving travelers experience car trouble during their road trip, AAA has several innovative ways members can request roadside assistance in addition to calling 800-AAA-HELP. iPhone users can request assistance directly from their phone with the AAA Roadside app, which sends their AAA member number, details about their vehicle, the trouble they are experiencing and their location directly to AAA Roadside Assistance. The AAA Roadside app also allows users to quickly locate nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair locations. AAA members also can locate AAA Approved Auto Repair locations with the AAA Discounts and AAA TripTik Mobile apps as well as send their locations to AAA Roadside Assistance. All AAA apps are available from the App Store on iTunes.

Sprint and Nextel users only need to dial *AAA (or *222) from their mobile phones to be connected directly to AAA Roadside Assistance. Sprint users also can use AAA FindMe to have their location sent to AAA Roadside Assistance from any type of GPS-enabled mobile phone. Sprint users should sign up for AAA FindMe for free in advance of their road trip at AAA.com/AAAFindMe.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com

ORLANDO, Fla., September 13, 2010

In recognition of October as AAA Car Care Month, the nation’s largest motor club reminds drivers seasonal checkups are essential for worry-free driving as weather changes

With the change of seasons most people examine their wardrobes. Last season’s coat is inspected for wear, and boots, sweaters and wool slacks come out of the closet for scrutiny. AAA reminds motorists that cars also need seasonal checkups.

AAA recommends that motorists use a simple checklist to determine their car’s fall and winter maintenance needs. Most of the items on the checklist can be inspected by car owners in less than an hour, but several others should be performed by a certified technician.

One way to identify a reliable, high-quality repair facility with certified technicians is to look for one that is AAA Approved. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities must meet and maintain high professional standards for customer service, technician training, service equipment, warranties and cleanliness. There are nearly 8000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities in the U.S., and nearby shops can be quickly located at AAA.com/repair.

Winter Car Care Checklist

Battery and Charging System – Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities can also test and replace weak batteries.

Battery Cables and Terminals – Check the condition of the battery cables and terminals. Make sure all connections are secure and remove any corrosion from the terminals and posts.

Drive Belts – Inspect belts for cracks or fraying. Don’t just look at the smooth top surface of the belt, but turn it over and check the grooved underside where most belt wear occurs.

Engine Hoses –Visually inspect the cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses to check for any that may be brittle or excessively spongy feeling and in need of replacement.

Tire Type and Tread – In areas with heavy winter weather, changing to snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best winter traction. All-season tires will work well in light to moderate snow conditions, providing they have adequate tread depth. If any tire has less than 3/32-inches of tread, it should be replaced. Uneven wear on the tires can indicate alignment, suspension or wheel balance problems that should be addressed to prevent further damage to the tires.

Tire Pressure – Check tire pressure more frequently during winter months. As the temperature drops, so will the pressures in the tires—typically 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The proper tire pressure levels can be found on a sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb. And, don’t forget to check the spare.

Air Filter – Check the engine’s air filter by holding it up to a 60-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if the light is blocked by most of the filter, replace it.

Coolant Levels – Check the coolant level when the engine is cold. If the coolant level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. The level of antifreeze protection can be checked with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.

Lights – Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, emergency flashers, turn signals, brake lights and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.

Wiper Blades – Blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace blades that leave streaks or miss spots. In areas with snowy conditions, consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade in a rubber boot to prevent ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the rubber blade and the glass.

Washer Fluid – Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a cleaning solution that has antifreeze components for cold weather use.

Brakes – Have brakes inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order.

Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids – Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.

Emergency Road Kit – Update the car’s emergency kit for winter weather. The kit should include:

  • Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
  • Snow shovel
  • Snow brush
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Window washer solvent
  • Ice scraper
  • Cloth or roll of paper towels
  • Jumper cables
  • Gloves, hats and blankets
  • Warning devices (flares or triangles)
  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks (energy or granola bars)
  • Extra clothes
  • First-aid kit
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
  • Mobile phone and car charger with important numbers programmed in it, including a roadside assistance provider

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA, September 1, 2010

In recognition of October as AAA Car Care Month, the nation’s largest motor club reminds car owners of the benefits of properly maintaining their vehicles

AAA Car Care Month kicks off today, and the nation’s largest motor club asks motorists to consider how following the right maintenance schedule and procedures can not only help save money, but also the environment.

“Knowing what and when maintenance needs to be performed keeps consumers from over- or under-maintaining their vehicle,” said John Nielsen, director, AAA Auto Repair and Buying Programs. “It also cuts down on the over-use of environmentally sensitive products such as motor oil, aids in the conservation of gasoline and can prolong the overall life of a car.”

Are You Over-Changing Your Car’s Oil?
Frequently motorists believe their cars’ oil should be changed every 3000 miles, however most late-model vehicles now can go 5000 to 7000 miles between oil changes. “Having oil changes performed more frequently than needed is both a waste of money and an unnecessary additional burden on the environment,” said Nielsen.

Motorists should check their vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out what intervals their vehicle’s manufacturer recommends for changing the oil based on the conditions in which they drive.

A Few Minutes a Month Can Mean Hundreds in Savings
Tire maintenance—including proper inflation and regular rotation/balancing—also saves money by extending the life of the tires while reducing a car’s fuel consumption. Extending tire replacement intervals and using less gasoline also provide added benefit to the environment.

“Tires are essential to our vehicles, but they’re frequently overlooked. Taking a few minutes at least once a month to check the tires could extend how long you can drive on them for thousands of miles, and it can improve a car’s gas mileage,” Nielsen said.

At least once a month, motorists should inspect each of their tires—including the spare. Check the tire pressure and ensure it’s inflated to vehicle recommended maintenancelevels, and NOT the levels stamped on the sidewall of the tire.

“One of the biggest mistakes motorists make when inflating their tires is referencing the wrong tire pressure level. Many incorrectly look to the sidewall of the tire. The correct pressure levels can be found on sticker on the driver’s side door jamb or in the owner’s manual,” Nielsen explained.

While checking each tire’s pressure levels, inspect the tire sidewalls for bulges, and check the tread for excessive or uneven wear that indicates the need for wheel alignment and/or tire replacement. For maximum life, rotate the tires at the mileage intervals specified in the owner’s manual.

The Road to a Long Car Life Starts with the Owner’s Manual
Following the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule found in the owner’s manual is the best way to keep a car running properly and avoid costly repairs. To help make vehicle check-ups, maintenance and repairs more convenient and trouble-free, AAA independently inspects and approves qualified repair facilities. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities must meet and maintain high professional standards for customer service, technician training, service equipment, warranties and cleanliness. There are nearly 8000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities in North America, and nearby locations can be quickly located at AAA.com/repair.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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