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Thu, 19 February 2015

Top 10 Ontario Cities For Highest Insurance Rates

    
 




















































































































 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

Most Top 10 Ontario cities for highest car insurance rates in and around Toronto: KANETIX.ca

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2015-02-17

New research from KANETIX.ca shows the majority of Ontario cities with the most expensive car insurance premiums are in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), with Brampton topping the list.

Kanetix.ca released a list of average auto insurance premiums for different communities in Ontario

Ontario has the highest auto insurance rates in the country, notes a statement Tuesday from KANETIX.ca, Canada's first online insurance marketplace that currently provides a million-plus quotes annually to consumers looking for insurance and comparisons for mortgage rates and credit cards.

The research demonstrates, however, that not only do premiums vary significantly across Ontario, the Top 10 are often considerably higher than the provincial average, which is $1,538.

Those Top 10 cities, their premiums and the difference with the provincial average are as follows:

• Brampton – $2,393, +44%;

• Woodbridge – $2,342, +41%

• Vaughan – $2,342, + 41%

• Toronto – $2,017, +27%

• Mississauga – $1,998, +26%

• Hamilton – $1,987, +26%

• Thornhill – $1,884, +20%

• Markham – $1,829, +17%

• Richmond Hill – $1,755, +13%

• Ajax – $1,718, +11%

KANETIX.ca reports the data was aggregated using the company’s free online tool – available across Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island – that, in this case, allowed Ontario users to compare auto insurance rates across the province by postal code. All averages are based on a 35-year-old driver with a clean driving record.

Compare that to Ontario’s cheapest cities for car insurance. These were Belleville, Kingston and the towns of Cobourg and Napanee, the latter two averaging premiums of $1,014 annually.

Where a driver lives is one of a number of factors that go into determining that person’s auto insurance premium, KANETIX.ca reports. Others include congestion, vehicle type, likelihood of theft, and personal driving record.

“Urban areas tend to have higher insurance rates because there are more cars on the road, higher frequency of accidents and greater severity,” explains Janine White, vice president of marketplaces for KANETIX.ca.

“Insurers set their premiums based on claims and actuarial data from a given region. These areas had the highest incidence of claims so this is reflected in the premiums,” White continues.

KANETIX.ca offers the following tips to help lower insurance premiums, regardless of the city in which a driver resides:

• maintain a clean driving record;

• combine auto and home insurance policies to see savings of 5% to 15%;

• install winter tires and save as much as 5%;

• increase the deductible (ensure this amount can be covered should a claim occur) and save up to 10%; and

• consider a usage-based insurance program, which can save 5% up front and as much as 25% overall.

Thu, 12 February 2015

10 Reasons We Can't Wait for 2015 Season of Nascar to Begin

10 Reasons We Can't Wait for the 2015 NASCAR Season to Begin

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10 Reasons We Can't Wait for the 2015 NASCAR Season to Begin
Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

The wait is nearly over, race fans.

The Daytona 500 is under two weeks away, and that means the beginning of another quest for the Sprint Cup for the few dozen drivers lucky enough to have a full-time ride on NASCAR's top-tier circuit. 

From the Great American Race to the Chase for the Sprint Cup, there are plenty of reasons to be excited for the season ahead.

What impact will the new rules have on competition?

Can Jimmie Johnson complete his run toward history?

And how will one of motorsports' legends go out in his final season?

These are the 10 reasons we can't wait for the 2015 NASCAR season to begin.

Begin Slideshow »

Thu, 05 February 2015

Transport truck driver killed in two-vehicle crash on Hwy. 401 near Whitby

WB Hwy. 401 reopens near Whitby after fatal crash
Highway had been closed between Brock Street and Salem Road since late Tuesday night.
The driver of a jeep has been arrested for impaired driving causing death

  • Chris Fox, CP24.com
    Published Wednesday, February 4, 2015 5:35AM EST
    Last Updated Wednesday, February 4, 2015 8:52AM EST

A 51-year-old transport truck driver is dead and a 32-year-old man has been taken into police custody for impaired driving causing death following a two-vehicle crash on Highway 401 near Whitby late Tuesday night.

According to Ontario Provincial Police, a Jeep Wrangler was travelling westbound on Highway 401 near Brock Street when it lost control and was rear-ended by a transport truck that was travelling behind it at around 10 p.m., sending it into a ditch.

The driver of the transport truck then lost control of his vehicle, which ended up rolling over and blocking all three lanes on the highway.

Police say the transport truck driver, who has been identified as Lindsay A. Findlay, was pronounced dead on scene.The driver of the Jeep was not injured.

The crash resulted in a number of drivers being trapped on the highway for hours as police worked to clear the scene, however the last of the vehicles were eventually freed at around 4 a.m.

“The tractor trailer was blocking all lanes from guardrail to guardrail and there was just no way of escape for anybody that was here at the collision scene," OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told CP24 at the scene. "What we started doing was having all the cars turn around and go back the wrong way towards Brock Street but that takes time and five hours later we were still working on that when we were finally able to get the load from this tractor off enough that we could actually move the trailer and make some room for the vehicles to get through."

The westbound lanes of Highway 401 were closed between Salem Road and Brock Street but reopened at around 8:30 a.m.

Remember for instant breaking news follow @cp24 on Twitter.



Read more: http://www.cp24.com/news/transport-truck-driver-killed-in-two-vehicle-crash-on-hwy-401-near-whitby-1.2219954#ixzz3QsUpO8if

Thu, 29 January 2015

GM holding back until 2016 on decision over Ontario plant

President Stephen Carlisle acknowledges pressure to announce new model for Oshawa, Ont., plant

CBC News Posted: Jan 28, 2015 2:26 PM ET Last Updated: Jan 28, 2015 2:26 PM ET

Steve Carlisle, president of GM Canada, said the company is evaluating many complex factors before deciding on the future of its Oshawa, Ont., plant.

Steve Carlisle, president of GM Canada, said the company is evaluating many complex factors before deciding on the future of its Oshawa, Ont., plant. (CBC)

GM will not decide on any new investments in its Oshawa, Ont., manufacturing plant until 2016, its Canadian president said Wednesday in a press statement.

Stephen K. Carlisle, appointed GM Canada president late last year, said the company has begun the process of evaluating the business environment surrounding the Oshawa plant. But he was non-committal on which way GM might be leaning.

“We are going to be careful and are not expecting to be deciding on any major new mandates or investments in Oshawa until well into 2016,” he said in his statement.

Automotive suppliers, autoworkers union Unifor and federal and provincial governments are becoming concerned about the lack of a commitment to a new model to be produced at the GM Oshawa plant beyond 2017.

GM has already decided to move production of the Camaro from Oshawa to Michigan this year and next year, one of three assembly plants in Oshawa will close its doors.

Pressure to make a decision

In his statement, Carlisle acknowledged the pressure to make a decision on a new product model and the future of GM Canada. He said the question had been raised when he and GM CEO Mary Barra met with federal and Ontario industry ministers in Detroit recently.

“But people also want to hear about future products and plans for Oshawa. In any business, especially one as large and complex as an automotive company, there are detailed planning processes before investment and product decisions are made,” he wrote.

'One key milestone is that we must complete our 2016 union contract negotiations before we can make any final decisions'- GM Canada president Stephen Carlisle

A 2016 decision on a new product line would leave GM Canada with a tight timetable to retool a plant and line up automotive suppliers by 2017.

Among the considerations before GM are the value of the Canadian dollar, which is making manufacturing cheaper in Canada, the cost of oil, economic conditions in Canada and its agreement with Unifor.

“One key milestone is that we must complete our 2016 union contract negotiations before we can make any final decisions,” Carlisle said, indicating the pressure on the union to keep costs in line.

He has expressed concern about GM Canada's competitiveness.

Jockeying for incentives

Carlisle acknowledged the importance of Canadian sales to GM, saying Canada ranks fifth for country sales and sixth for vehicle production.

Another big question mark is the willingness of federal and provincial governments to provide incentives. With a election on the way, GM may be waiting to see if an election campaign would make the federal government more amenable to handouts.

Under terms of its 2009 bailout, GM is committed to maintain 16 per cent of its production in Ontario until 2016. 

But while GM has made big commitments to manufacturing in Mexico, announcing a $3.6 billion investment in December that would double capacity, it has yet to announce upcoming capital investment in Canada. Carlisle said it has invested $1 billion in its St. Catharines, Ingersoll and Oshawa, Ont., plants since the 2009 bailout.

Thu, 22 January 2015

Ottawa, Ontario Invest $100M at Guelph-based Maker Linamar

 

 

Thu, 15 January 2015

GO bus crash on Highway 407 leaves woman dead

  • 1 woman dead, 3 hurt after GO Transit bus rolls over on Highway 407
  • Bus crashed through guard rail, slid down embankment
  • Bus was heading from Hamilton to York University
  • Victim was thrown from bus and pinned beneath it
  • A woman died and three people were sent to hospital after a GO Transit bus rolled over on Highway 407 near Weston Road just north of Toronto on Wednesday night.

    The single-vehicle crash happened at about 10 p.m. ET when the bus hit a guard rail then rolled onto its passenger side. The OPP say 56 year-old Radika Nankissoor of Brampton, Ont., died in the crash.

    The bus came to a stop in a grassy area between the Highway 407 and a ramp for Highway 400.

    "A portion of that guard rail actually entered the compartment inside the bus," Ontario Provincial Police Staff Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told CBC News. "And some of the guard rail went off to the side."

    The bus was travelling east on GO route 47 from Hamilton to York University. The provincially owned GO Transit operates bus and train commuter service between Toronto and its surrounding suburbs and cities.

    • After crashing through the guard rail, the GO Transit bus came to a stop in a grassy area between the Highway 407 north of Toronto and a ramp for Highway 400 on Wednesday night.
    • A total of six people, including the driver, were aboard the bus when it crashed. One woman died. Police say the bus struck a guard rail before rolling onto the passenger side.
    • One woman is confirmed dead after the GO Transit bus crashed on its way from Hamilton to York University in Toronto. Police say the woman was thrown from the bus and pinned beneath it.
    • The bus rolled over on Highway 407 near Weston Road. As well as the woman who died, three people, including the driver, were taken to hospital with injuries.
    • Police say they don't yet know what caused the crash. They believe the bus was the only vehicle involved.
    • Tow trucks pulled the bus back on the roadway just after 5 a.m. ET Thursday.
    • After crashing through the guard rail, the GO Transit bus came to a stop in a grassy area between the Highway 407 north of Toronto and a ramp for Highway 400 on Wednesday night. (Tony Smyth/CBC)
    • A total of six people, including the driver, were aboard the bus when it crashed. One woman died. Police say the bus struck a guard rail before rolling onto the passenger side. (Tony Smyth/CBC)
    • One woman is confirmed dead after the GO Transit bus crashed on its way from Hamilton to York University in Toronto. Police say the woman was thrown from the bus and pinned beneath it. (Tony Smyth/CBC)
    • The bus rolled over on Highway 407 near Weston Road. As well as the woman who died, three people, including the driver, were taken to hospital with injuries. (Tony Smyth/CBC)
    • Police say they don't yet know what caused the crash. They believe the bus was the only vehicle involved. (Tony Smyth/CBC)
    • Tow trucks pulled the bus back on the roadway just after 5 a.m. ET Thursday. (Tony Smyth/CBC)
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    Six people were aboard, including the driver.

    Three people were taken to hospital and treated for injuries not believed to be life-threatening. Among them is the driver, a 66-year-old Hamilton man. Two other passengers were not hurt.

    Schmidt said it's fortunate there were only five passengers on board.

    "It could have been far worse had the bus been loaded to capacity," he said.

    The OPP, in co-operation from Metrolinx —  the agency responsible for GO Transit — will investigate what caused the bus to veer off the highway.

    Authorities initially believed that a male passenger died at the scene, but hours later after the bus was lifted, it was revealed that the person was a woman. Police say she was thrown from the bus during the crash and pinned beneath it.

    Metrolinx said the driver is an experienced operator who is co-operating with the investigation. They also say there was no apparent medical condition that may have led to the rollover.Police say they don't yet know what may have caused the bus to crash.

    Police believe the bus was the only vehicle involved in the crash.

    At a news conference Thursday morning, GO Transit president Greg Percy extended his condolences to the family of the woman who died Wednesday. He said safety remains a priority for GO, which carries some 65 million passengers a year over its bus and rail network.

    Percy said the bus is not equipped with an on-board camera, but does have a diagnostic computer that could provide investigators with information about the bus's speed and braking at the time of the crash.

    "We will continue to place safety as the highest priority for GO Transit," he said. Percy said this is the first time a passenger has died aboard a GO bus or train.

    The eastbound Highway 407 ramp to Highway 400 was closed while police investigated the crash overnight. Just after 6:15 a.m. ET Thursday, the OPP announced it had reopened.

    GO TRANSIT BUS CRASH

    Thu, 08 January 2015

    Winter Car-Care Tips

    Keep your car in tip-top shape through the cold months

    Thu, 18 December 2014

    The Preventive Maintenance You Need to Do On Your Car (and When)

    Regular preventive maintenance is probably the single thing you can do as a car owner to keep your ride happy and save money on repairs in the future. However, not everyone agrees on what preventive maintenance is, what you should do, and when you should do it. Let's clear that up, and give you some tips that'll apply to any vehicle.

    Anyone who's ever worked on cars or spent a ton of money getting their car repaired will tell you: Don't ignore preventive maintenance. The basics, like changing your oil, checking your tire pressure, and getting scheduled inspections and work done are like getting regular checkups at the doctor. They keep you healthy and give you—and the experts—a chance to catch anything serious before it becomes a major problem. With your car, that can save you thousands.

    First, Read Your Owner's Manual

    The Preventive Maintenance You Need to Do On Your Car (and When)

    Pay attention to your owner's manual. Regardless of the vehicle you drive, your regular maintenance schedule is inside it, and you'll never fall for old car myths like, "You should change your oil every 3,000 miles," (unless of course, your manual says you should, and odds are it doesn't). You will, however, discover how often your manufacturer really does suggest you change your oil (it can vary widely by vehicle), your filters, any drive or timing belts in your vehicle, and more. You'll even find out whether you're putting the right gas in your vehicle or whether you're using the right kind of oil in the first place.

    Seriously—you wouldn't fire up a complicated piece of technology or a massive new home appliance without checking the manual to make sure you know what you're doing. Most car lovers already know how important this is, but it's still important even for people don't consider themselves interested in how their car works. If you're using the wrong oil, for example, or filling a car that calls for higher octane fuel with the lowest octane stuff you can buy, you may run the risk of voiding your warranty, and worse, causing damage that'll cost more to fix than you'd save by using the cheap stuff.

    Preventive Maintenance Every Vehicle Needs

    The Preventive Maintenance You Need to Do On Your Car (and When)

    When we covered the ways you can save serious money on car repair, more than a few people pointed out that preventive maintenance is probably one of the biggest ways you can save money—not actively, but in the long term. Spending a little money now on these basics will save you from more costly repairs later on:

    Fri, 12 December 2014

    It's Time to Make Winter Tires Manatory

    Several years ago, I filmed a debate — part of our long-cancelled wheels.ca “Smackdown” series — that I have been regretting ever since.

    “Smackdown” was when I would argue with people like freelance writer Mark Richardson or the Star’s Urban Affairs columnist Christopher Hume about things like “should trucks be allowed on expressways during rush hour?” and “is it really necessary for builders of downtown condominiums to provide parking spaces for owners?”

    The one I regret was about winter tires. Resolved: are winter tires (or snow tires) necessary in Toronto?

    Usually when we did “Smackdown,” it was easy to debate a point of view. For instance, when it comes to cars, Christopher Hume and I never have, don’t now and never will see eye-to-eye. But there were times when Richardson and I agreed on something and yet one of us would have to argue “the other side.” So we’d flip a coin.

    The day we decided it was time to discuss “are winter tires necessary in Toronto?” I lost the toss.

    With a straight face, I made the case that if you only drive in the city of Toronto in winter, all-season radials are all you need. I even went on radio and television — the Dale Goldhawk Show on Rogers cable was one — and insisted that I knew what I was talking about.

    But I was very uncomfortable the whole time.

    As a result, I vowed never to do that again — and I haven’t.

    But today, I have to set the record straight.

    I believe that everybody in Canada should have winter tires on their car or truck.

    I own winter tires and they are on my car right now. They go on every year at the beginning of November and come off every year on or around April 15. My all-season radials are fine for the months in between but not for when the snow flies.

    Last week, on Wednesday, there was a prime example of why everybody should have winter tires on their vehicles. Just as the rush hour started, light snow started to fall and it was windy. Before you could say, “Holy cow, I forgot to put on my snow tires,” there was chaos.

    It took people hours and hours to get home. If there was a hill, nobody could drive up it. Their tires just spun; they had no grip — which would probably not have been the case if they’d had winter tires, specifically ones designed to increase grip on ice.

    I did what I thought was a very smart thing. When I saw that the traffic on the Gardiner and Lake Shore Blvd. W. wasn’t moving at all, I left my car downtown and took the GO train home. And as we passed all the major roads on the way out to the suburbs, I was astounded to see that it was gridlock everywhere. I thanked my lucky stars I had such a swell alternative.

    But tens of thousands of people didn’t. They were trapped in their cars, or on buses and streetcars, that were being held up by cars that didn’t have snow tires and, as a result, were interfering with everybody else.

    And so I came to another conclusion: the government of Ontario should make winter tires mandatory. If a minority of car drivers can make life miserable for the majority of responsible car owners and transit users, then the government has to step in to make sure calamities like these aren’t repeated.

    They did it in Quebec and, according to friends who live there, they don’t have the sort of complete breakdown on the roads we experienced around here last Wednesday. As one guy said to me, “It’s not so much the snow tires. The fact that everybody has them on their cars gives their drivers the confidence they need to drive properly when there’s snow falling. They know they’ve got the tools to do the job.”

    There isn’t a minute to lose. Queen’s Park should act immediately. We’ve got a lot of winter ahead of us. And it’s already started.

    Thu, 04 December 2014

    GM Could Pull Back from Ontario, Auto Analyst says

    Canada could soon see one of its largest automakers, General Motors, dramatically decrease operations in Ontario, an auto analyst says.

    The warning comes at a time when the auto parts industry, autoworkers union Unifor and others dependent on the auto sector are saying Canada is missing out on its share of new auto investment.

    Investment in plants and equipment by the Canadian automotive industry is in the range of $1.5 billion annually, down from an average of at least $3 billion each year during the early 2000s, according to a recent study from the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council. 

    CAPC, a partnership of auto assemblers, parts suppliers, federal and provincial ministers and union representatives, warned that Canada is losing out to the U.S. and Mexico for new investment.

    Wynne Tour 20140207

    Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne tours the General Motors Oshawa Assembly Plant with then-president of GM Canada Kevin Williams, centre, on Feb. 7. An analyst is sounding the alarm about how long GM will remain in Oshawa. (Galit Rodin/Canadian Press)

    Canada makes 2.4 million vehicles a year, about 15 per cent of North American production, but won’t keep that share in the years to come, the study warned. Canada may make 15 per cent of autos, but it is no longer getting 15 per cent of investment. Now, it's more in the range of five per cent.

    On Wednesday, Joe McCabe, president of AutoForecast Solutions, sounded a fresh warning on General Motors, saying he expects the auto giant to pull out of Oshawa and reduce its Ingersoll, Ont., plant to a single shift, perhaps by 2019.

    Bailout agreement expiring

    GM’s promise to maintain 16 per cent of its production in Canada in return for its 2008 bailout expires in 2016.

    McCabe said the automaker is not making plans for continued production in Oshawa.

    "We talk to suppliers, the people who are responsible to bid on new programs at these facilities, and they are looking two to four years in advance, they are not hearing anything from GM," he said in an interview with CBC's The Exchange with Amanda Lang. 

    "We’re not hearing from GM what specific vehicles will go in there, so all the information from the industry is pushing us in that direction."

     

    GM’s Camaro production has been shifted from Oshawa to Lansing, Mich., and it has made no commitment to other models past 2016, though it has not said it is planning to close the Oshawa plant.

    One problem is how few of the vehicles that GM makes here it actually sells in Canada, McCabe said.

    "Other manufacturers like Toyota and Honda — about 70 per cent of the vehicles they build here in Canada are sold here in Canada, but GM sells only about seven per cent of the vehicles it makes here," he said. 

     

     

     

    Until recently, Canada suffered from a high dollar that made the cost of labour seem high.  Michigan recently became a so-called right-to-work state in an effort to compete for automotive jobs and Mexican labour costs are about one fifth of what Canadians are paid.

    'Our competitors understand that a vibrant auto industry is at the centre of a healthy economy and they are willing to invest'- Greig Mordue, CAPC

     

    But even with a lower dollar, Canada is competing against jurisdictions around the world over incentives for new production.

    McCabe urges government to actively recruit new investment from GM before it is too late.

    "The province and the federal government has to talk to the decision-makers at GM and say, if you’re staying, give us some hard facts why you’re staying, show us your new car programs," he said.

    "And if you’re not staying, what agreement can we find mutually beneficial to make you stay," he continued.  

     

    CAPC recommends Canada find a way to become competitive with Mexico, China and U.S. in the race for new capacity. It must provide tangible support and a more streamlined approach to dealing with the industry, says Greig Mordue, general manager of corporate planning with Toyota and a CAPC spokesman.

    “It’s still the most important manufacturing industry in Canada,” Mordue said.

    Winning investment game

    CAPC proposed the creation of a Automotive Investment and Attraction Board, a sort of one-stop shop for prospective investors to put Canada back into the game of winning automotive investment. 

    There is a perception that Canada is too slow in making attractive offers to prospective investors, and puts too many hurdles in the way, Mordue said.

     

    “Our competitors understand that a vibrant auto industry is at the centre of a healthy economy and they are willing to invest,” Mordue said.

    “The auto industry has huge capacity to generate jobs and because of that, the rest of the world is very active in this field,” he said. 

    Mordue says it will be difficult for Canada to sustain its productivity improvements in the auto sector unless it gets its fair share of new investment.

    Thu, 27 November 2014

    Automakers Aim to Block Threat of Vehicle Hacking

     

     

    LOS ANGELES -- Against the team of hackers, the poor car stood no chance.

    Meticulously overwhelming its computer networks, the hackers showed that -- given time -- they would be able to pop the trunk and start the windshield wipers, cut the brakes or lock them up, and even kill the engine.

    Their motives were not malicious. These hackers worked on behalf of the U.S. military, which along with the auto industry is scrambling to fortify the cyber defences of commercially available cars before criminals and even terrorists penetrate them.

    "You're stepping into a rolling computer now," said Chris Valasek, who helped catapult car hacking into the public eye when he and a partner revealed last year they had been able to control a 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Ford Escape by plugging into a port used by mechanics.

    These days, when Valasek isn't working his day job for a computer security firm, he's seeing how Bluetooth might offer an entry point.

    Automakers are betting heavily that consumers will want not just the maps and music playlists of today but also Internet-enabled vehicles that stream movies and the turn dictation into email. The federal government wants to require cars to send each other electronic messages warning of dangers on the road.

    In these and other connections, hackers see opportunity.

    There are no publicly known instances of a car being commandeered outside staged tests. In those tests, hackers prevail.

    One was the Defence Department-funded assault on a 2012 model American-made car, overseen by computer scientist Kathleen Fisher.

    Hackers demonstrated they could create the electronic equivalent of a skeleton key to unlock the car's networks. That may take months, Fisher said, but from there it would be "pretty easy to package up the smarts and make it available online, perhaps in a black-market type situation."

    The project's goal is more than just to plug vulnerabilities -- it is to reconceive the most critical lines of computer code that control the car in a way that could make them invulnerable to some of the major known threats. The model code would be distributed to automakers, who could adapt it to their needs. That should take a few more years.

    The industry is participating -- and not waiting.

    One major association representing brands including Honda and Toyota is helping establish an "information sharing and analysis centre" patterned after efforts by big banks to try to thwart cyberattacks.

    "Before, when you designed something, you looked at how might components fail," said Michael Cammisa, director of safety for the Association of Global Automakers. "Now, you have to look at how would somebody maliciously attack the vehicle."

    The so-called Auto-ISAC will allow participating companies to evaluate the credibility of threats and, in the event of an attack, let one warn others so they could test their own systems. The effort was announced this summer at the Cyberauto Challenge in Detroit, one of an increasing number of programs focused on auto hacking. Several days later, in China, organizers of a cybersecurity conference announced success in their challenge to hack a Model S made by Tesla Motors.

    Another American company, General Motors, has checked how Boeing and defence companies create systems to repel hackers, according to Mark Reuss, GM's executive vice-president of global product development.

    Cybersecurity is "one of the highest priority things that we have," Reuss said. "We have got to make sure that our customers are safe."

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    Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/autos/automakers-aim-to-block-threat-of-vehicle-hacking-1.2116224#ixzz3KHA3OolB

    Thu, 20 November 2014

    Buffalo snowstorm going to get 'worse before it gets better'

    A new blast of lake-effect snow began pounding Buffalo on Thursday, piling more misery on a city already buried by an epic, deadly snowfall that could leave some areas with nearly two-and-a-half metres of snow on the ground when it's all done.

    But the meteorological "kick me" sign on the city hasn't fallen off just yet. Forecasters say a rapid weekend warmup, with temperatures as high as 15 C and heavy rain, could turn all that snow into floods.

    With more snow forecast, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday afternoon urged residents of upstate New York to stay off the roads, warning that the crisis will likely get “worse before it gets better.”

    "Mother Nature is showing us who’s boss again,” Cuomo said in a news conference. 

    The storm dumped massive amounts of snow on parts of upstate New York, trapping residents in their homes and stranding motorists on roadways, as the temperature in all 50 states fell to freezing or below.

     

    Cuomo said the amount of snow, the rate at which the snow is falling and the weight of the snow have all conspired to make this an “extraordinarily difficult situation.”

    Stranded vehicles have worsened the situation, as roads cannot be accessed or plowed until the cars are removed, Cuomo said.

    "When we say stay home, really stay home. Going out on the roads is dangerous. It's unnecessary. You're not going got get anywhere," he said. "You will get stuck and then you will further complicate the situation."

    Even hardened Buffalo residents were caught off-guard Tuesday as more than 150 centimetres fell in parts of the city by Wednesday morning. Authorities said snow totals by the afternoon could top 180 centimetres in the hardest-hit areas south of Buffalo, with another potential 30 to 60 centimetres expected by Thursday.

    “It’s going to get, in some ways worse, before it gets better," Cuomo said.

    Cold weather enveloped the entire U.S. Tuesday, leading to record-low temperatures more familiar to January than November. Racing winds and icy roads caused accidents, school closings and delays in municipal operations from the Midwest to the South even where snowfall was low or mercifully absent.

    Even Hawaii was bitten by temperatures at the freezing point or below, the National Weather Service said.

    Hawaii's Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano, had low temperatures of –1 C, said NWS spokeswoman Susan Buchanan.

    Deaths in 3 states

    The storm was blamed for at least seven deaths in New York, New Hampshire and Michigan.

    Erie County officials said a 46-year-old man was discovered early Wednesday in his car, which was in a ditch and buried in snow in the town of Alden, 38 kilometres east of Buffalo. It was unclear how he died.

    On Tuesday, county officials said four people had died, including three from heart attacks and one who was pinned beneath a car he was trying to free from the snow. Two of the heart attack victims were believed to be stricken while shovelling snow.

    • A resident helps shovel out a friends driveway on Nov. 19, in Lancaster, N.Y. Lake-effect snow pummeled areas around Buffalo for a second straight day, leaving residents stuck in their homes as officials tried to clear massive snow mounds with another storm looming.
    • An abandon car marked by orange cones is buried under snow as a snowplow passes by in Buffalo, New York on Nov. 19. Temperatures in all 50 U.S. states dipped to freezing or below on Tuesday as an unseasonably cold blast of weather moved across the country while heavy snow prompted a state of emergency in western New York and contributed to the deaths of four people.
    • A tractor trailer driver sits in the back of his cab as he is stuck in Hamburg, N.Y. due to the closure of the New York State Thruway on Nov. 19.
    • A vehicle, with a large chunk of snow on top, drives along Route 20 after digging out from a massive snowfall in Lancaster, N.Y. on Nov. 19. Another 60 to 90 centimetres are expected in the area.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo checks on a snowbound trucker on the Thruway in Cheektowaga on Nov. 19. State officials say the thruway will stay closed in the Buffalo area for the duration of a lake-effect storm.
    • Snow blankets a house and several cars in Buffalo, N.Y., on Nov. 19, after more than 150 centimetres fell in parts of the city. Authorities say snow totals by the afternoon could top 180 centimetres in the hardest-hit areas south of Buffalo, with another potential 30 to 60 centimetres expected by Thursday.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency to various counties in Upstate New York on Nov. 18, and deployed 150 members of the National Guard to help clear snow-clogged roads and remove abandoned vehicles. Here, a street in Buffalo waits to be cleared.
    • CBC trucks are buried under snow in Buffalo, which was among areas of upper New York state that were hit with a winter storm on Nov. 18.
    • Buffalo resident Patrick Bryne's dog Bonnie sniffs a door that's blocked with snow on Nov. 18.
    • Residents help push out a stuck motorist on George Urban Boulevard in Depew, near Buffalo on Nov. 18.  Several metres of lake-effect snow paralyzed the Buffalo area Tuesday, forcing state troopers to deliver blankets and other supplies to motorists stranded on the New York State Thruway.
    • Mike Valentine and his girlfriend Jill Kless walk home after shopping at Tops as snow falls in Boston, N.Y., Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. Parts of New York measured the season's first big snowfall in feet, rather than inches, on Tuesday as three feet of lake-effect snow blanketed the Buffalo area and forced the closure of a massive stretch of the state Thruway.
    • A West Seneca resident tweeted this photo on Nov. 18, 2014, with just the hashtag #BuffaloSnow.
    • A band of storm clouds moves across Lake Erie and over Buffalo on Nov. 18.
    • A house is obscured by wind-blown, lake-effect snow in Buffalo on Nov. 18.
    • 'View from my door,' tweeted Lancaster resident Matt Piccirillo on Nov. 18. 'That's my car.'
    • A Buffalo resident demonstrates just how high the snowbank is in this photo tweeted with the hashtag #snowpocolypse2014.
    • A West Seneca resident tweeted this photo on Nov. 18 with the caption, 'My car is somewhere in this picture. Can you find it?'
    • Twitter user Scott Fleetwood tweeted this photo of the snow piled up next to his above-ground pool on Nov. 18, saying nearly a metre of snow fell over the course of 10 hours.
    • A Buffalo resident tweeted this picture of the accumulating snow on Nov. 18.
    • Buffalo resident Bridget Helak tweeted on Nov. 18, 'I'll have to jump off the roof to get outside, because the door just isn't happening.'
    • A Buffalo resident tweeted this photo with the caption, 'Snow came back' on Nov. 18.
    • 'Hmm, where to start? Snowed in in Lancaster, tweeted New York state resident Lauren Kicak on Nov. 18.
    • A Twitter user posted this photo showing just how much snow had piled up in the Buffalo area on Nov. 18.
    • Close to one metre of lake-effect snow buries a fence and SUV along a street in Buffalo on Nov. 18.
    • A resident helps shovel out a friends driveway on Nov. 19, in Lancaster, N.Y. Lake-effect snow pummeled areas around Buffalo for a second straight day, leaving residents stuck in their homes as officials tried to clear massive snow mounds with another storm looming. (Mike Groll/AP)
    • An abandon car marked by orange cones is buried under snow as a snowplow passes by in Buffalo, New York on Nov. 19. Temperatures in all 50 U.S. states dipped to freezing or below on Tuesday as an unseasonably cold blast of weather moved across the country while heavy snow prompted a state of emergency in western New York and contributed to the deaths of four people. (Lindsay DeDario/Reuters)
    • A tractor trailer driver sits in the back of his cab as he is stuck in Hamburg, N.Y. due to the closure of the New York State Thruway on Nov. 19. (Harry Scull Jr./The Buffalo News/AP)
    • A vehicle, with a large chunk of snow on top, drives along Route 20 after digging out from a massive snowfall in Lancaster, N.Y. on Nov. 19. Another 60 to 90 centimetres are expected in the area. (The Associated Press)
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo checks on a snowbound trucker on the Thruway in Cheektowaga on Nov. 19. State officials say the thruway will stay closed in the Buffalo area for the duration of a lake-effect storm. (The Associated Press)
    • Snow blankets a house and several cars in Buffalo, N.Y., on Nov. 19, after more than 150 centimetres fell in parts of the city. Authorities say snow totals by the afternoon could top 180 centimetres in the hardest-hit areas south of Buffalo, with another potential 30 to 60 centimetres expected by Thursday. (Petar Valkov/CBC)
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency to various counties in Upstate New York on Nov. 18, and deployed 150 members of the National Guard to help clear snow-clogged roads and remove abandoned vehicles. Here, a street in Buffalo waits to be cleared. (Petar Valkov/CBC)
    • CBC trucks are buried under snow in Buffalo, which was among areas of upper New York state that were hit with a winter storm on Nov. 18. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)
    • Buffalo resident Patrick Bryne's dog Bonnie sniffs a door that's blocked with snow on Nov. 18. (Patrick Bryne/AP)
    • Residents help push out a stuck motorist on George Urban Boulevard in Depew, near Buffalo on Nov. 18. Several metres of lake-effect snow paralyzed the Buffalo area Tuesday, forcing state troopers to deliver blankets and other supplies to motorists stranded on the New York State Thruway. (Derek Gee/The Buffalo News/AP)
    • Mike Valentine and his girlfriend Jill Kless walk home after shopping at Tops as snow falls in Boston, N.Y., Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. Parts of New York measured the season's first big snowfall in feet, rather than inches, on Tuesday as three feet of lake-effect snow blanketed the Buffalo area and forced the closure of a massive stretch of the state Thruway. (Harry Scull Jr./The Buffalo News/Associated Press)
    • A West Seneca resident tweeted this photo on Nov. 18, 2014, with just the hashtag #BuffaloSnow. (@christasgroi/Twitter)
    • A band of storm clouds moves across Lake Erie and over Buffalo on Nov. 18. (Gary Wiepert/Associated Press)
    • A house is obscured by wind-blown, lake-effect snow in Buffalo on Nov. 18. (Carolyn Thompson/Associated Press)
    • 'View from my door,' tweeted Lancaster resident Matt Piccirillo on Nov. 18. 'That's my car.' (@MattPicc/Twitter)
    • A Buffalo resident demonstrates just how high the snowbank is in this photo tweeted with the hashtag #snowpocolypse2014. (?@Buffalo_Blondie/Twitter)
    • A West Seneca resident tweeted this photo on Nov. 18 with the caption, 'My car is somewhere in this picture. Can you find it?' (@uhohhshuhnan/Twitter)
    • Twitter user Scott Fleetwood tweeted this photo of the snow piled up next to his above-ground pool on Nov. 18, saying nearly a metre of snow fell over the course of 10 hours. (?@fleets93/Twitter)
    • A Buffalo resident tweeted this picture of the accumulating snow on Nov. 18. (@AElniski/Twitter)
    • Buffalo resident Bridget Helak tweeted on Nov. 18, 'I'll have to jump off the roof to get outside, because the door just isn't happening.' (@BridgetHelak/Twitter)
    • A Buffalo resident tweeted this photo with the caption, 'Snow came back' on Nov. 18. (@AdamMcG_716/Twitter)
    • 'Hmm, where to start? Snowed in in Lancaster, tweeted New York state resident Lauren Kicak on Nov. 18. (@laurenkicak/Twitter)
    • A Twitter user posted this photo showing just how much snow had piled up in the Buffalo area on Nov. 18. (@TranquillityIW/Twitter)
    • Close to one metre of lake-effect snow buries a fence and SUV along a street in Buffalo on Nov. 18. (Carolyn Thompson/AP )
    1 of 24

    "We have tried to get out of our house, and we are lucky to be able to shovel so we can open the door," said Linda Oakley of Buffalo. "We're just thinking that in case of an emergency we can at least get out the door. We can't go any further."

    The snowstorm forced motorists in 150 vehicles, including a women's basketball team, to ride out the onslaught in their vehicles. They waited for hours to be freed, with some waiting more than a day. Cuomo deployed 150 members of the National Guard to help clear snow-clogged roads and remove abandoned vehicles.

    By early Wednesday, a Thruway official said most but not all passenger vehicles had been cleared.

    'It seemed like a nightmare'

    Members of the Niagara University's women's basketball team were among the lucky ones. Stranded since 1 a.m. ET Tuesday, team members tweeted photos of a plow starting to clear the road.

    Local weather stories from CBC News:

    "It seemed like a nightmare. It just didn't feel like it was going to end," Bryce Foreback, 23, of Shicora, Pa., told The Associated Press by cellphone 20 hours into his wait for help. "I haven't slept in like 30 hours and I'm just waiting to get out of here."

    Foreback had become stuck in a long line of cars near the Lackawanna toll booths just south of Buffalo about 10:30 Monday night.

    Wintry Weather New York

    Omer Odovsc walks in front of his tractor-trailer that got stuck in Boston, N.Y. (Henry Scull Jr./The Buffalo News/Associated Press)

    Winds force highway closure

    In a region accustomed to highway-choking snowstorms, this one is being called one of the worst in memory. Snow blown by strong winds forced the closing of a 212-kilometre stretch of the Thruway, the main highway across New York state.

    In New Hampshire and elsewhere, icy roads led to accidents. Lake-effect storms in Michigan produced gale-force winds and as much as 46 centimetres of snow, and cancelled several flights at the Grand Rapids airport.

    Buffalo snow

    A lake-effect snow storm with freezing temperatures produces a wall of snow travelling over Lake Erie into Buffalo. (Gary Wiepert/Reuters)

    Schools closed in the North Carolina mountains amid blustery winds and ice-coated roads. In Indiana, three firefighters were hurt when a semitrailer hit a fire truck on a snowy highway.

    In Atlanta, tourists Morten and Annette Larsen from Copenhagen were caught off-guard by the freezing weather as they took photos of a monument to the 1996 Summer Olympics at Centennial Olympic Park.

    Thu, 06 November 2014

    Early Warning Signs of Tire Failure

    Early warning signs of tire failure

    Regular checks can prevent an accident

    Last updated: March 2014

     

    A vehicle's tires play a crucial role in a car's safety. As the only parts of the car that physically touch the ground, they are one of the key factors affecting a vehicle's handling and braking, and overall highway safety. What steps can you take to ensure that your tires stay in optimal condition? Performing regular checks is quick and easy, and a worthwhile investment of time in your and your family's safety.

    Trouble signs to look for

    Visually inspect your tires on a regular basis. If you note any of the following early warning signs, have a professional inspection performed, check and correct items that may be causing the condition, or replace your tires.

    • Cracking or cuts in the sidewalls.
    • Uneven tread wear. This can be caused by improper inflation, misaligned wheels, damaged tires, or by problems with suspension parts.
    • Excessively worn tread. Most modern tires have tread-wear indicator bars running across the tread, which signal the minimum allowable tread depth of 1/16-inch. When the tread wears down to these bars, it's time for new tires. Inexpensive tread-wear gauges are available at auto-parts and tire stores.
    • Alternatively, you can use a Lincoln-head penny as a tread-wear indicator. Insert the penny into a tire groove with Lincoln's head toward the tire. If you can see the top of Abe's head, the tread is too worn.
    • Bulges or blisters. If you see a bulge or blister on the sidewall, replace the tire at once. These signal potential weak spots that could lead to tire failure.
    • Excessive vibration. Tire vibration may be a sign a wheel is misaligned, unbalanced, or bent. It could also signify internal tire damage. Don't ignore vibration: Have the vehicle serviced at once.

    The problem of underinflation

    Surveys have shown that as many as half the cars on the road may be riding on one or more underinflated tires. Part of the problem is that tires lose air through the rubber and at interfaces with the wheel and valve, sometimes so slowly that many people don't realize it has happened. Seasonal temperature changes may also cause the tire pressure to drop.

    Because the sidewall flexes more at lower tire pressures, underinflation compromises the driving control that a tire is designed to provide. Even a small pressure loss—such as 4 psi—can affect a car's handling, making it harder to control. It can also make the ride softer and the car wallow. In addition, underinflated tires lower a vehicle's fuel economy, which can cost you more money at the pump.

    A sidewall that flexes too much can also cause heat to build up excessively, which can shorten a tire's life and possibly lead to a tread separation or blowout.

    For additional information on the effects of underinflated tires see our report on tire safety.

    Tire-inflation maintenance tips

    • Don't judge the pressure by eyeballing a tire. Modern radial tires bulge slightly, making them look a little underinflated, even when they're not.
    • At least once a month, use a tire gauge to check the pressure in all four tires and the spare. A tire-pressure gauge is available for as little as $3 to $5 at auto-parts stores.
    • Set the tires to the automaker's recommended tire pressure. This is printed on a placard in the car, either on a doorjamb, the fuel-filler door, or on the inside of the glove-compartment lid. Don't go by the "maximum inflation pressure" imprinted on the tire. If your car has a limited-service spare, also check that it's inflated to the pressure specified on the placard—usually 60 psi.
    • Measure the pressure with the tires cold, before they've been driven more than a mile or two. As the vehicle is driven, the tires heat up and the pressure rises, which makes it more difficult to set them to the correct cold-tire pressure.

    Thu, 30 October 2014

    9 Ways to Prepare Your Car for Winter Weather

    Prepare Your Car For WinterWinterizing your vehicle is a wise idea, says the Car Care Council.  An investment of an hour or two to have your vehicle checked is all it takes to have peace of mind and help avoid the cost and hassle of a breakdown during severe weather.

    “The last thing any driver needs is a vehicle that breaks down in cold, harsh winter weather,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A vehicle check before the temperatures drop is a sensible way to avoid the inconvenience of being stranded out in the cold and with the unexpected expense of emergency repairs.”

    The Car Care Council recommends the following nine steps for winterizing your vehicle.

    1. Have the battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
    2. Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
    3. Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
    4. Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
    5. Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
    6. If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
    7. Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
    8. Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
    9. Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.

    Watch the Winter Car Care Minute video here!

    Motorists should also keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Drivers should check the tire pressure of the spare in the trunk and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

    The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

    Thu, 23 October 2014

    Multiply Gas Savings with Vehicle Maintenance

    Multiply Gas Savings with Vehicle Maintenance

     

    Save Gas Beyond the PumpAs gas prices continue to drop, motorists should take advantage of their savings at the pump and invest it back into their vehicles. By spending a little now to increase fuel efficiency, drivers can multiply fuel savings and save more money at the pump, says the Car Care Council.

    The national average of the cost of a gallon of gas has been above $3 since 2010 but is expected to dip below that mark this year, according to a recent forecast by energy information service GasBuddy.com.

    “Gas prices are expected to fall below $3 per gallon on average, and that means motorists can count on significant savings at the pump,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A small investment in simple and inexpensive auto care will add up to better fuel economy and even more savings.”

    The non-profit Car Care Council encourages motorists to be car care aware and perform simple steps to improve fuel efficiency and save money.

    • Engine Performance: Keep your car properly tuned to improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.
    • Tire Pressure: Keep tires properly inflated and improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent.
    • Motor Oil: Improve gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent by using the grade of motor oil recommended by the manufacturer.
    • Air Filters: Replacing clogged air filters on older vehicles can improve fuel economy and will improve performance and acceleration on all vehicles.
    • Gas Cap: Damaged, loose or missing gas caps allow gas to vaporize into the air.
    • Fix It: Addressing a serious maintenance problem, like a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve mileage by as much as 40 percent, according to www.fueleconomy.gov.

    In addition to vehicle maintenance, modifying driving habits, such as observing the speed limit and avoiding quick stops and starts, can also increase fuel efficiency. Consolidating trips, avoiding excessive idling and removing unnecessary items from the trunk are also easy ways to lower fuel consumption. The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

    Thu, 16 October 2014

    Stopping and Steering are Keys to Driving Safely

    There are more vehicles on U.S. roads than ever before. With an estimated 240.5 million cars and light trucks crowding our roads as of 2011, your safety and that of others is at risk when your vehicle isn't stopping and steering at its best. Reducing your vehicle's stopping distance by just an inch or so could make the difference between a minor scare and a major fender bender.

    Crowded roads aren't the only concern. The roads themselves are often in a sorry state of repair. Portions of our highway system (including many bridges) haven't seen much in the way of maintenance or repair since they were built.

    In cold climates, the freeze/thaw cycle enlarges cracks and holes in the pavement. In sunnier spots, the heat, heavy cargo hauling and years of neglect take their own toll on roads. The result can be a moonscape of potholes that can affect the handling of your vehicle. Bad roads can cause suspension components, so vital to steering control and handling, to grow old before their time.

    But you don't have to be an automotive expert to keep your vehicle's stopping and steering systems safe. An ASE-certified brake service technician is trained to diagnose problems and identify potential areas of concern, such as checking thickness of rotors and identifying worn brake lines and hoses.

    Pay a little now, or a lot later

    Putting off repairs for too long results in growing costs. For example, let’s look at a typical brake job. Not only will you have to buy new brake pads, but add in new brake rotors as well to replace the ones that were ruined by procrastination.

    New rotors can range from $50 to $250 or more, depending upon the vehicle application — and that's for each wheel. Even if normal wear dictates rotor replacement, the upside is that it could be the last time you'll ever replace them before you trade in the vehicle.

    It's important to perform needed maintenance early. Allowing the situation to bloom into an expensive repair threatens the practicality of keeping your paid-for wheels on the road. If you made 36, 48 or even 60 monthly payments without flinching in order to buy the car, but don't like to pay for maintenance, try considering it as a short-term "car payment" that only has to be made occasionally.

    Safety tips for brake service:

    • Invest in a top-quality brake pads.
    • If any rotors are marginal for continued service after refinishing (too thin or very close to the minimum thickness specification), have them replaced. An ASE-certified technician can compare the specification dimension and your rotors' actual thickness for you on request. If you own an older vehicle equipped with original equipment (OE) rotors, be prepared to replace them at this time.
    • Have the brake calipers inspected to ensure that any moving parts, such as slides and bleeder screws, haven't corroded and frozen up.
    • Don't always jump at the lowest quoted price for your brake job. A low price quote can mean that you're not getting the complete brake system serviced.

    Remember, there are cheap jobs that use basic components. There are also more-expensive jobs that use premium components. When evaluating the cost of any vehicle repair or maintenance, consider the quality of work and the parts. What's the cost difference between the two? Which one would you trust most?

    Beyond basic brake pads and rotor replacement or resurfacing, ask for quotations on the following expanded parts and services if you own an older vehicle:

    • If your brake hydraulic system has never been flushed, consider having it serviced to remove moisture and impurities from the fluid reservoir, lines, calipers and/or wheel cylinders.
    • Have rubber-type flex brake hoses replaced when they're hard, cracked or simply old.
    • When rotors are being resurfaced for reuse, request inspection of the wheel bearings.
    • On rear-wheel-drive cars or trucks, have the front wheel bearings inspected and repacked with new grease, along with replacing the seals. Don't take the chance of being stranded over an inexpensive bearing or seal.
    • For drum brake applications, ask to have a new brake hardware kit installed when the brake shoes are replaced and the drums are refinished. The technician should ensure that each assembly's wheel cylinder pistons, starwheel adjuster and bleeder screw aren't sticking or seized.
    • Have your emergency brake assembly tested periodically. Have it repaired or adjusted if necessary.

    This approach to vehicle maintenance may cost a little more up front, but if you make the investment now, you can be sure that-old or new-your car or truck will stop in the shortest distance possible-and be able to steer around trouble.

    If your vehicle is more than five years old and has only had brake pad and rotor servicing in the past, it's generally appropriate to have the items from our expanded list serviced or replaced.

    To find a local ASE Blue Seal Shop that can help you keep your vehicle in top condition, visit our ASE Blue Seal Shop Locator page.

    SIDEBAR:

    An ‘Epidemic’ of Unperformed Maintenance
    Consider these facts regarding vehicles and maintenance:

    • In its Automotive Aftermarket Status Report 2012, analysts at the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) reported unperformed vehicle maintenance across the entire U.S. fleet had grown to $62 billion in 2010, compared to $54 billion a year earlier.
    • According to a 2005 Car Care Council report, poorly maintained vehicles account for 5 percent of all accidents, causing more than $2 billion in property damage, lost wages and medical expenses.
    • The average age of cars on today’s U.S. roads is more than 11 years, according to a 2011 study by Polk, a Southfield, Mich.-based research firm. Light-duty trucks average 10.4 years old, and the average age of the U.S. fleet is 10.8 years old.

    Arbitrarily dividing the unperformed maintenance amount by an assumed (and generous) average repair cost of $300 per vehicle across the entire car and light truck fleet potentially indicates that 206.6 million vehicles need some type of maintenance and repair.

    Amazingly, this suggests that more than 85 percent of the entire passenger car and light truck fleet suffers from some form of unperformed maintenance. If your vehicle is over five years old, the likelihood that it needs maintenance or service of any type climbs dramatically.



    https://www.ase.com/News-Events/Publications/Car-Care-Articles/Stopping-and-Steering-and-Keys-to-Driving-Safety.aspx

    Thu, 09 October 2014

    Fall Car Care Month Checklist: Winter is on the Way

    October is Fall Car Care Month, and the Car Care Council reminds motorists that checking their vehicles before the temperatures drop is a sensible way to avoid being stranded out in the cold and the unexpected expense of emergency repairs.

    “The last thing any driver needs is a vehicle that breaks down in cold, harsh winter weather. Winter magnifies existing problems like hard starts, sluggish performance and rough idling,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Whether you perform the check or maintenance yourself or go to the repair shop, it’s a small investment of time and money to ensure peace of mind, and help avoid the cost and hassle of a breakdown during severe weather.”

    The Car Care Council recommends the following Fall Car Care Month checklist to make sure your vehicle is ready for cold winter weather ahead.

    Heating, Wipers & Lights

    • Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly.
    • Consider winter wiper blades and use cold-weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
    • Check to see that all exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.

    Tires & Brakes
    Tire Tread- compare

    • Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure of all tires, including the spare. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads.
    • During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
    • Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.

    Gas, Oil & Filters

    • Keep your gas tank at least half full throughout the cold weather to prevent moisture from forming in gas lines and possibly freezing.
    • Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate.
    • Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.

    System Checks – Charging, Cooling & Exhaust

    • Have the battery and charging system checked, as cold weather is hard on batteries.
    • Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
    • Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.

    Pack the Essentials
    Prepare Your Care

    • Make sure that your ice scraper and snow brush are accessible and ready to use.
    • Stock an emergency kit with jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, extra clothes, bottled water, nonperishable food and a first aid kit with any needed medication.
    • Order a free copy of the recently-updated 80-page Car Care Guide for your glove box at www.carcare.org/car-care-guide.

    The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

    Thu, 02 October 2014

    Clean Windshileds Contribute to Safe Driving in All Seasons

    A clean windshield is an asset in all seasons. As we deal with the heavy downpours of spring; and then, depending on where we live, we prepare for the dust blowing on a hot, dry summer’s day. And, of course, there is always the dirt that flies in from the road, construction areas and dry fields. Throw in a jumble of dead bugs and you can see why keeping your car’s windshield clean in all seasons will help enhance your safety and driving comfort all year around.

    In its own way, every season poses a challenge for a car’s wiper blades. Take for instance, a freezing winter’s day when your windshield is covered in ice and snow. The wiper blades tend to get clogged, and get stuck to the glass, making it a struggle to pry them away from the windshield and get them back into doing their job. 

    On the other hand, in the summer months, exposure to heat and ozone can cause the wiping element to crack and break apart. Plus, the dirt, bugs and other debris that splatter on the windshield may melt and stick, making it harder for the wipers to clean evenly without streaks and chatter. Heavy spring rains can reduce visibility and compromise safety even more.

    To help overcome the challenges of adverse weather conditions, Bosch developed the ‘beam’ or ‘flat’ wiper blade design which completely eliminates the conventional bracketed support structure and uses tension spring arcing technology to create a custom fit contoured to the curvature of the driver and the passenger sides of the windshield. Oftentimes, the curvature is not the same on both sides.

    The premium Bosch ICON™ wiper blade is a beam blade designed to function equally well in all weather conditions – extreme cold, sleet, snow, heat, strong winds or heavy rain.  ICON’s dual tension springs are housed in a flexible, asymmetrical aerodynamic spoiler that increases the downforce to keep the blade hugging the windshield even at highway speeds.

    Bosch ICON offers up to 40 percent longer life than other premium ‘beam’ blades on the market, Furthermore, ICON’s flexible fx dual rubber wiping element resists heat and ozone deterioration and helps maintain flexibility all year around. And, with no external steel brackets, springs, or partitioned plastic spoilers, ICON doesn’t clog with ice and snow in winter either.

    Result? A clean windshield and better overall wiping performance help to make driving safer – in all kinds of weather.

    Image(s): 
    ICON wiper blades wipe windshields clean in any weather
    Vehicle Components and Systems: 

    Thu, 25 September 2014

    Stonechip Windshield Advice

    Should You Repair It or Replace It?

    A chipped or cracked windshield can be annoying and unsafe. Check out MSN Autos' comprehensive report on windshield repair to learn about effective repair methods and how much they cost.

    By Staff of MSN Autos 

     

     Click to enlarge picture

    Rock chips are repaired using a tool that injects special resin into the window, sealing the chip and preventing further cracking.

    WHACK!

    There was a time when a chip or crack in your windshield meant certain replacement. That's no longer the case. Modern technology makes it possible to repair windshields that would have previously been scrapped. Not only does this save your windshield, it also saves you money.

    But be aware that even the most advanced glass repair techniques have their limits. So if your windshield is severely damaged, new glass may still be in your future.

    Do I have to replace my windshield or can it be repaired?
    Windshield repair or replacement depends on the size, location and severity of the damage. The majority of windshield repair shops can repair quarter-sized rock chips and cracks up to three inches long. Anything bigger and most places will recommend replacement.

    However, some facilities use a special technique that allows them to repair cracks up to 12 inches long. So it pays to check around before committing to a new windshield.

    Location of the damage also plays an important role in determining your windshield's fate. Cracks at the edge of the windshield tend to spread very quickly and can compromise the structural integrity of the glass. If they're caught in time, they can be repaired. But in most cases, it's usually advisable to replace the windshield.

    Also be aware that some facilities may not repair a chip that appears directly in the driver's line of vision. Because the repair process leaves minor distortions in the glass, some shops prefer to replace the windshield rather than compromise the driver's vision.

    Regardless of the size and location of a chip or crack, it's always advisable to have it repaired quickly. If you wait some time to repair it, dirt can work its way into the damaged area, affecting the effectiveness and clarity of the repair.

    Finally, bear in mind that if your windshield took a big enough hit, it may simply be beyond saving. Major impacts (BIG objects) or accident damage go beyond what any repair facility can fix. In these severe cases, replacement is a must.

    How much will this cost?
    The cost to repair a windshield is pretty standard across the country. MSN Autos surveyed windshield repair facilities across the country and found that costs are fairly consistent. Repairing a single rock chip costs around $40-$50 for the first chip, then usually $10 extra for each additional chip.

    The cost to repair most cracks is about the same. However, if the crack is longer than three inches, it may require special treatment. Long-crack specialist Novus typically charges about $70 to repair a six- to twelve-inch windshield crack.

    Windshield replacement costs considerably more and varies greatly depending on the vehicle. In addition to the cost of the windshield itself, a windshield molding kit and installation labor must be factored into the overall replacement cost.

    MSN Autos checked with an assortment of dealers and automotive glass shops to get an idea of representative replacement costs for the following four 1998 vehicles—Toyota Camry, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Corvette, BMW 540i. All prices include windshield, molding and installation.

     

    Vehicle Dealer Price Automotive Glass Shop Price
    Toyota Camry $550.00 $350.00
    Ford Explorer $1,300.00 $400.00
    Chevrolet Corvette $920.00 $650.00
    BMW 540i $650.00 $500.00

    The difference in cost between a dealer price and an independent glass shop is usually due to the actual glass used. Dealers often charge more because they're using an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) windshield, which is exactly the same as the one that originally came with the car.

    Meanwhile, local automotive glass shops typically use windshields from non-OEM suppliers. This glass is usually less expensive, but offers quality, safety and clarity similar to the more-expensive OEM windshield. Non-OEM glass is required to meet or exceed the same safety standards as OEM glass.

    However, all the glass shops MSN Autos spoke with strongly advised that only OEM-recommended sealers and adhesives be used during windshield replacement. Use of inferior quality urethane could result in the windshield leaking or even becoming dislodged in an accident.

    Where do I get the work done?
    When it comes to repairing or replacing your windshield, you have a number of possible options. It all depends on your specific needs.

     

    • Automotive glass specialist. These facilities specialize in the repair and replacement of automotive glass. This includes not only windshields, but also side and rear windows. Most usually attempt to repair a windshield before recommending replacement.
    • Windshield repair facility. These independent and nationally franchised shops usually specialize in windshield repairs only. They fix chips and cracks, but do not install new windshields.
    • New car dealer. Your local dealer can replace your windshield with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) windshield. Many dealers sub-contract to mobile glass services, who come to the dealership and replace windshields on-site. Sometimes non-OEM windshields are also available through dealers.
    • Mobile glass repair and replacement service. Rather than go somewhere to have work performed on your car, these services come to you and repair or replace your windshield wherever your car is located—at home, or even at work.
    • General glass service. In addition to replacing automotive glass, these facilities also handle sales and installation of commercial and residential glass.

    The windshield services listed above can be found in your Yellow Pages under Glass—Auto or Windshield Repair.

    Is this covered by my insurance?
    Windshields are covered by nearly all automotive insurance companies. But because the cost to replace a windshield is so much higher than repairing it (four to ten times higher), coverage is handled differently for replacement vs. repair.

    If you're replacing a windshield, your insurance company will ask you to pay your deductible and they'll pay for the complete replacement.

    However, if you're repairing the windshield, the deal is a little sweeter. Having recognized that it's more economical to repair a windshield than replace it, some insurance companies will waive your deductible and pay for the entire repair.

    This is confirmed by Jean Mires, Operations Manager for AAA Insurance in Bellevue, WA, who told MSN Autos, "If a windshield needs to be replaced, we pay the replacement cost and the policyholder pays the deductible. But if it can be repaired, then we waive the deductible and pay for the repair in full."

    This arrangement encourages customers to repair their windshields rather than replace them every time they're chipped. It also represents a substantial savings to both you and your insurance company over the lifetime of your policy.

    On the other hand, if your windshield is in genuine need of replacement don't skimp, replace it. A heavily damaged windshield is not only difficult to look through, it's also unsafe. The structural integrity may have been compromised and could weaken further if it isn't replaced quickly.

    Have a qualified glass specialist carefully examine your windshield to determine whether a repair will suffice or if it should indeed be replaced. Also remember to check with your insurance agent to confirm the terms of your coverage before committing to any windshield work.

    How does windshield repair work?
    Windshield repair involves injection of a special resin into the damaged area using a tool that attaches directly to the glass. Once injected, this resin is then cured and polished to restore the clarity and strength to the glass.

    When a chip or crack occurs, it often spreads into the windshield's inner layer of plastic, which is sandwiched between two layers of glass. In some instances, a drill is used to make a clean passageway to the plastic, where the resin is injected to repair the damage.

    Think of a windshield repair as first-aid that prevents the damage from getting worse. In some cases, it may look nearly perfect, while in others, it could still appear slightly blemished. But in either case, a proper repair prevents damage from spreading.

    And since every chip is unique, some will respond more effectively to repair than others. A repaired windshield will never look as perfectly clear as a brand new one.

    Thu, 18 September 2014

    September is National Preparedness Month: Is Your Car Ready if Disaster Hits

    Make Sure Your Car is Ready if Disaster Hits

    Would your car be ready if you had to leave at a moment’s notice? If you were stranded in your car, would you be prepared? During National Preparedness Month in September, the non-profit Car Care Council is reminding drivers of the importance of regular maintenance and do-it-yourself checks, as well as a stocked emergency kit.

    “Emergencies and natural disasters come in a variety of forms, and you don’t always have time to prepare,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “It is important and gives you peace of mind to know that your vehicle is always ready for the task.”

    The Car Care Council recommends checking the following to make sure your car is ready for the unexpected:

    Tire Tread- compareTire Tread: Tire tread helps your car grip the road. Having low tire tread is especially dangerous when driving in wet, flood-like, snowy or icy conditions. Check your tread easily with a penny.

    Tire pressure: Pressure that is too low or too high can affect gas mileage, tread wear and vehicle performance. Check your tires once a month when they are still cold, using the PSI (pounds per square inch) number located on the driver door or in the owner’s manual.

    Fluids Check: Check your car’s fluids once a month or take a peek when you fill the gas tank. Top off fluids, such as your oil and coolant, and visit a technician if you suspect a leak.

    Belts: A broken engine belt can literally stop you in your tracks. Look for signs of excessive wear or looseness.

    Battery Test By A TechnicianBrakes: Your vehicle’s brakes are very important for safety; make sure they are ready in any condition. Have your brakes inspected by a technician once a year, and be aware of any signs of brake trouble, including noise, pulling and vibration while braking.

    Battery: Even in a non-emergency, it is stressful when your car does not start. Extreme temperatures, such as summer and winter, can wear the battery. A technician can test that the battery is charging at the correct rate. If your battery is three years or older, it may need to be replaced.

     

    Emergency Kit: A vehicle emergency kit should include jumper cables, a road atlas, first-aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries, water, non-perishable food and blankets. Keep a copy of the Car Care Council’s new Car Care Guide in your glove box for information on vehicle systems and maintenance. Order your free copy online at www.carcare.org/car-care-guide.

    For more information on how to stay safe behind the wheel when a disaster hits, download the information sheet from the American Public Health Association’s Get Ready program: http://www.getreadyforflu.org/facts/DrivingDisastersWeb.pdf.

    The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

    Prepare Your Care

     

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