August 2013 Newsletter

Back to School Safety Tips

With a new school year starting many drivers are faced with a change in driving habits and experiences. Just getting to work in the morning can become a challenge with wandering children, school crossing guards, busses and congested streets. Another new adventure for many families is having a young adult venture off to college. Here are some simple tips to keep everyone safe this season.

Safe Driving on Local Roads:

Remember that children are easily distracted and very excited about starting school. Chances are they won’t see you. Pay attention to them and be prepared, especially when near a stopped school bus.

When driving on an undivided road you are required to come to a complete stop when a school bus has its red lights on. On a divided road you must stop when traveling the same direction as the school bus and pay extra attention when traveling the opposite way. These laws vary from state to state, but protecting our children is a priority everywhere.

Don’t text or use your cell phone in a school zone. OK… YOU SHOULD NOT TEXT ANY TIME YOU ARE DRIVING and IT IS ILLEGAL IN A SCHOOL ZONE. There is a great application that you can install on both yours and your family’s phones called Detext. It uses GPS to determine if the phone is in motion and disables texting until you come to a stop. Another really great feature of Detext is that when you receive a text it automatically sends a response letting everyone know you will return their text later . Your friends will be very impressed by your safe driving habits!

Use extra caution when driving through your neighborhood. Many students walk from their homes without the aid of a crossing guard. Keep your eyes open and ready to stop even when you are blocks away from a school.

Don’t be in a hurry, with school starting the roads will be more congested with vehicles and pedestrians. Allow some extra time, be extra courteous, and be extra aware.

Getting Your Student and Their Vehicle Ready for College:

Start by getting the vehicle that your student is driving checked out from head to toe (bumper to bumper that is). Freedom Automtoive will do that at absolutely no charge.

Handling basic maintenance at a garage you trust will help prevent breakdowns and repairs while your young driver is away from home. Fresh fluids, a close inspection of belts and hoses, and even a new set of wiper blades will go a long way in easing your mind.

Help you r student understand their vehicle. Show them how to inspect their tires for damage, wear and how to check the tire pressure. Pop the hood and show them how to check their fluid levels. This used to be simple, but could be more confusing than you think.

Make sure that all of the lights and accessories are working and help your student check the blinkers, headlights and brake lights. Take a moment to refresh their memory on what the gauges and dash lights mean.

Want some help? Just stop by Freedom Automotive and we will go through the basics with both you and your student. You can also stop by and pick up our snazzy “Back To School Check List.” .You can also email us[email protected] and we will send you one to download and print. A few moments in the driveway will go a long way in preparing your student for their new adventure. Put it in the glove compartment and let them know they can call us for advice while they are away from home. Give us a quick call and we will help you find a qualified shop in the college town your student will be living in.

Whether you are driving through the neighborhood or are embarking on the great adventure of college in a new town the friendly staff at Freedom Automotive is always ready to help.

Wishing you miles and miles of happy driving,
Lynn Beckwith, That Car Lady


Do You Recall?

How many cars are recalled in the US each year? In 2011, the last year for which we have complete data, there were 14,434,000 vehicles recalled. Considering that 12,778,00 were sold that is pretty significant. Of course recalls cover several year models and normally do not include the current year as problems are often slow to be identified as recall items. Still 14 million is a huge number of cars to be recalled.

What is a recall? A recall is a government mandate to the car maker to get them back into their facilities and repair a safety or emissions item that has shown a clear pattern of repeated failure in a certain car line or body style. It does not cover non-safety or emission items such as air conditioning, radios, power windows or other repeated failures due to poor design or material. Often these will be addressed by the car maker as a service advisory or program where the owner can get the problem repaired free. ALL RECALL REPAIRS ARE FREE.

To find out if your car is subject to a recall you can go to recall.gov and enter your make and model and see what if any recalls are on your vehicle.

Over the years there have been some infamous recalls that had a huge impact on the manufacturer. In the mid 80’s Audi was hit was a massive recall of their vehicles due to sudden acceleration. Sound familiar? Much like the recent recall of Toyota products this recall involved cars that would suddenly accelerate with a wide open throttle. Audi, and later National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials claimed that the problem was due to floor mats slipping out of place and holding the accelerator down or PMS. Yes they really did term it that; Pedal Misapplication Syndrome. Audi sales slipped from about 100,000 to only 12,700 in a couple of years due to this bad publicity. We got the interlocking brake pedal and gear shifter out to that recall and investigation.

The early 70’s Pinto is perhaps the most notorious of recalls. The pinto had a rear mounted gas tank that would rupture and explode in a serve rear end collision. After a couple of years of investigation an internal memo from Ford came to light that outlined the discussion of the cost to reinforce the rear tank versus the cost of paying off claims for injuries. Ford had decided that the $11 per car to make them safer would cost more than paying off the claimants. They were wrong!

In recent years cars and light trucks have been recalled for power mirror switches, cruise control switches and ignition switches that catch fire, for floor mats that might slide under the gas pedal, for leaky fuel lines and for computer reprogramming to correct self test or tuning ability.

According to Edmunds only about 52% of the cars recalled ever have the work performed. That means that if you are buying a used car checking the recalls on it is an important step to take when evaluating the purchase.

Remember to check recall.gov to see if your car is under a recall order and then arrange with your local dealer to get the car repaired as soon as you can. All recalls have to be done at an authorized manufacturers dealer.


The Car Counselor Show New Host (Hostess?)

As many of you know Jim has been out with back surgery for several months and in his place we have enjoyed the company and expertise of Lynn Beckwith, also know as, “That Car Lady”. Lynn joins the show as a regular co-host and will be a valuable part of the show in the future.

Lynn has been in the auto repair business all of her adult life and has owned and operated Beckwith’s Car Care in Humble for more than 25 years. You may have seen her on Fox 26 as a semi regular contributor for auto knowledge and expertise, heard her on the Outlaw Dave Show, or listened to her Auto Minutes on local radio.

Lynn brings a great deal to the show and we are proud to have her join us.