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News & Tips

Caring for Leather in Your Vehicle

Important Items to Have in Your Car

How to Improve Gas Mileage Proper Maintenance Helps Keep Your Car Safe
Keeping Your Vehicle in Tune with the Environment Washing and Waxing Your Car
What to do in Case of an Accident    


Caring for the Leather in Your Vehicle

With many parts of the nation already experiencing the summer heat, it's a good idea to care and protect the leather in your vechicle. Creative Colors International, one of the largest franchises in the repair, reconditioning and color restoration of leather, vinyl, fabric, plastics and carpeting, offers the following useful information for extending and enhancing the life of your vehicle's leather.

To retain its beauty and other desirable qualities, leather requires frequent conditioning to replace the natural lubricants lost during normal use. With the proper care, leather can
be protected from excessive dryness that can cause it to crack, and from moisture that may cause it to swell or mildew.

Because unprotected leather is susceptible to spotting from water and other liquids, a newly purchased leather item should be treated immediately to help prevent permanent stains from occurring. Be sure to use only the proper protection for your particular type of leather.

1. The use of too much oil or wax can clog pores, causing leather to lose its ability to allow air in and moisture out. For the best protection, we recommend a mild dishwashing soap. Ivory liquid dishwashing soap is an excellent way to keep your leather clean and looking new. One part Ivory to 10 parts water.

2. Dairy products that spill on darker dyed leather will leave a spot. After cleaning, the oils in the dairy products will eventually rise back up to the surface. Try and be careful with any dairy product next to your leather.

3. Lighter colored leather needs to be cleaned often. Dirt, dust and clothing will leave traces on leather. Especially, black and dark-blue dyed jeans.

4. Never use preparations made for smooth leather on suede or "rough out" leather. Use only cleaners or preparations made specifically for suede.

Source: Automotive Service Association (ASA) / Creative Colors International

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Tips for Improving Your Gas Mileage

With today's high gas prices, it's worth taking a few minutes out of your day to make minor modifications that will improve your gas mileage. ALLDATA's ASE certified technicians have developed 22 effective tips for reducing the amount of gas you use while driving your vehicle:

Vehicle Tips

  • Keep your tires properly inflated, and check them frequently
  • Keep your front suspension and steering in proper alignment.
  • Use the thinnest viscosity oil that your car's manufacturer recommends
  • Keep your engine in proper mechanical condition.
  • Keep your engine in tune and make sure the air and fuel filters are clean.
  • Make sure your brakes are not dragging.
  • Repair body damage. That crunched front fender adds aerodynamic drag - just ask any race car driver.
  • Don't use premium fuel if your car does not require it; using it is an unnecessary expense.
  • Don't waste your money on those late night "as seen on TV" products that are supposed to increase your mileage.

Driving Tips

  • Avoid excessive warm-up time. Modern engines do not require it.
  • Don't idle your engine for long periods. Turn off your engine when you leave the car or have to wait a long time.
  • Avoid jack-rabbit starts.
  • Keep your speed at 55 miles per hour or less whenever possible.
  • For newer vehicles with aerodynamic designs, close the windows and turn on the A/C when driving on the freeway.
  • For older cars with inefficient A/C compressors, use the ventilation system and close the windows, temperature permitting.
  • Anticipate merging traffic and stoplights - decelerate and accelerate smoothly.
  • Plan your trips wisely. If you need to go several places, plan a route that allows you to run most or all of your errands in one outing.
  • Empty the trunk! Extra clothes, overdue library books, tools and the bag of aluminum cans that you have been meaning to take to the recycler all weigh down your car unnecessarily.
  • Car pool whenever possible or practical.
  • Listen to radio reports for alternate routes around congested areas.
  • Drive in the highest gear possible (without lugging the engine).
  • Try to keep your speed constant. Use cruise control when on long stretches of road.

Source: Automotive Service Association (ASA) / Alldata.com

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Keeping Your Vehicle in Tune with the Environment

Car care is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer - up to 50 percent longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians. The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

• Keep your engine tuned up. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.

• Check your tires for proper inflation. Underinflation wastes fuel - your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle. Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed

• Keep your air conditioner in top condition and have it serviced only by a technician certified competent to handle/recycle refrigerants.

• Do-it-yourselfers: dispose of used motor oil, anti-freeze/coolant, tires, and old batteries properly. Many repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local municipal or country government for recycling sites

• Observe speed limit. Mileage decreases sharply above 55 mph.

• Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-gos. Use cruise control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.

• Avoid excessive idling. Shut off engine while waiting for friends and family. Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those long warm-ups on cold winter mornings.

• Remove excessive items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage. Store luggage/cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag

Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.

Source: Automotive Service Association (ASA)

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What to Do in Case of an Accident

Most drivers make costly, long-term decision errors immediately following an accident as fear gives way to anger and frustration. Questions race through your head faster than the mind can register them. Who was at fault? Will my car ever be right again? What are my rights and responsibilities? A calm and informed reaction to an accident will reduce your chances for additional grief and expense.

• Move your vehicle to a safe place, then stop and identify yourself to the other driver. (Some state or local statutes may require the vehicle be left as is.) If it can’t be moved, turn on the hazard lights. Seek medical help if you or other parties require it, and notify the police. Tell them who you are, where you are, and about any obvious or claimed injuries.

• Exchange information with the other driver(s) including driver’s license numbers. Get the driver’s name, address, telephone numbers and name of insurance company. Also, list any passengers and witnesses.

• Get names and badge numbers of any police officers who arrive at the scene. If there are injuries or extensive damage, the police should file a report. Ask to get a copy.

• Avoid any extensive discussions at the scene about who is responsible for damage. If the other person admits responsibility, offers a money settlement and you accept, any future claim against the driver may be compromised. You or the other party may later find damage and bodily injury not apparent at first.

• Write a complete description of the accident as soon as possible. Include weather conditions, estimated speeds, and as much precise information as you can observe. Take photographs if a camera is available.

• Have the vehicle towed or driven to a collision repair facility of your choice.
• Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible.

Source: Automotive Service Association (ASA)

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Important Items to Carry in Your Vehicle

In case of road-side emergencies, accidents or bad weather, always have in your vehicle the following items:

• Jumper cables
• Pliers, an adjustable wrench and a screwdriver
• A first-aid kit
• Blankets
• A supply of any regularly needed or taken medications
• Candles and matches
• Sand or kitty litter for climates with snow or ice
• Clean water
• Canned fruit or nuts and a can opener

Source: Automotive Service Association (ASA)

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Maintaining Your Car, Ensuring You and Your Family's Safety

According to recent studies, 5 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities are clearly caused by automobile maintenance neglect. The following simple and inexpensive preventive checks will greatly extend the life of the vehicle, ensure safer operation and even benefit the environment.

• Always consult your owner’s manual, but a good rule of thumb is to have the oil filter changed regularly, every 3,000 to 4,000 miles.

• Have all fluids checked, including brake, power steering, transmission/transaxle, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze. These fluids play a large role in the safety and performance of the vehicle.

• Check tire inflation. Under-inflated tires can result in a loss of fuel efficiency. This is the least expensive form of preventive and safety maintenance. Tires should be checked once a month.

• Keep your engine tuned. A fouled spark plug or plugged/restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.

• Have the chassis lubricated frequently. This step extends the life of the moving components of the vehicle's suspension system.

• Check battery cables and posts for corrosion and clean them as needed. The battery fluid should also be checked and filled if it is low, except in the case of maintenance-free batteries.

• Have the lighting system checked frequently, including headlights, turn signals, and brake and tail lights.

• Check windshield washer blades for cracks, tears and windshield contact. Replace them approximately once a year or sooner if streaking begins.

• Inspect engine belts regularly. Worn belts will affect the engine performance. Look for cracks and missing sections or segments.

• Have the air filtration system checked frequently. The air filter should be checked approximately every other oil change for clogging or damage. This system ensures that the vehicle is performing at its peak condition.

• Always consult the vehicle owner's manual for individual service schedules as manufacturer maintenance requirements vary greatly.

Source: Automotive Service Association (ASA)

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Washing & Waxing Your Vehicle

Washing your car is like taking a good hot shower, it just makes you feel better. But there are some important things to remember. First, household detergent is a real no-no; it's likely to take off the wax and damage the paint. There are numerous products designed especially for your purpose available in auto supply stores, use one of them.

Work in the shade and use a sponge, towel or wash mitt. These should be kept completely free of abrasive grit. Pay attention to those crevices underneath the vehicle that accumulate mud and road dirt. The high pressure hose in a do-it-yourself car wash is great for this, as is a home style pressure washer.

Automotive chemical manufacturers have developed new products that make the finished job more impressive. Tires and black plastic trim, for example, can be made to look like new with protective dressings. There are cleaners for chrome, aluminum and stainless steel; even products designed for hard-to-remove brake pad dust from wheels.

The Council reminds you that while we can't seem to escape harmful ultraviolet rays and acid rain, regular washing and waxing can keep your vehicle looking new.

Source: Automotive Service Association (ASA) / Car Care Council

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97 Daniel Webster Highway, Nashua, NH 03060 | Tel: 603.888.6464 or 603.888.9810