Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stop Vehicle Problems Before They Stop You

Stop vehicle problems before they stop you. No one likes to be inconvienenced by car problems during a road trip or on your daily commute. Keep your vehicle on the maintenance schedule as recommended by the manufacturer.

(NAPSI)-Whether you're taking a road trip or just commuting to work, the likelihood of your vehicle leaving you stranded is greater than you think.

Each year, AAA rescues 29 million stranded motorists. In 2010, the motor club expects it will jump-start or replace nearly 5 million auto batteries with its AAA Mobile Battery Service, and estimates it will change more than 3.5 million flat tires. And while AAA's well-trained roadside technicians will be able to get three out of five motorists back on the go, more than 11 million drivers will have problems that require their vehicles to be towed-many of which could be avoided with proper maintenance.

Taking care of your vehicle now can cost far less than a major repair later on. AAA recommends two fundamental things you can do to find and fix problems before they happen.

1. Identify a quality repair shop and use that facility for all your vehicle repairs and maintenance so you develop a good working relationship with them and they get to know your car.

One way to find quality auto repair facilities that meet and maintain high professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service is to look for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign. You can also search online at www.AAA.com/Repair.

2. Have your car serviced regularly based on the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule. While some maintenance and repair tasks are best left to certified automotive technicians, there are a few basics you can easily check yourself:

• Engine Air Filter

Check the air filter every six months or 7,500 miles by holding it up to a 100-watt lightbulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it's still clean enough to work.

• Battery

Check the battery cables to ensure they are securely attached to the terminals. Clean the terminals if there are any signs of corrosion.

• Tire Pressure

Check and adjust tire pressures at least once a month when the tires are cold- including the spare. The manufacturer's recommendations can be found in the owner's manual or on a sticker on the driver's doorjamb.

• Tire Tread

Check the tread depth by inserting a quarter upside down into a tire groove with Washington's head facing outward. The tread should cover part of Washington's head.

• Windshield Washer Fluid

Check the windshield washer fluid reservoir monthly and test the washer spray nozzles for proper operation and aim.

• Windshield Wiper Blades

Check the blades at every oil change or whenever they fail to wipe the glass clean in a single swipe. The rubber inserts usually last six to 12 months.

Use A Car Vehicle History Report When Buying A New Car

Here are some commercial fleet auto insurance tips. Get the
insurance tips for operating a safe fleet you need to ensure your buisness's vehicle fleet is insured properly and you are getting the cheapest insurance rates possible.

(NC)—When small businesses first get underway, it is common to have one or two vehicles as the primary methods of transportation for the company. And while this may work in the short term, transportation requirements can change dramatically as a business grows. Once a business is operating five or more commercial vehicles, that business is also managing a fleet.

“When business owners become fleet managers too, they need to review their commercial auto insurance policies to ensure they are properly covered and getting a good rate,” says Paul Lucarelli, fleet director at RSA Canada. “At the same time, take advantage of the risk management advice an experienced fleet broker and insurer can provide to help prevent accidents and contribute to the overall success of a business.”

According to Transport Canada, approximately 75 per cent of crashes result from driver error. The following tips from RSA Canada will start small business owners on the right path towards operating a safe fleet and ensuring they have right fleet insurance coverage in place:

• Assess Your Needs

How large is your company? How often are your vehicles on the road? Determining these answers will allow you to choose the best coverage for your business.

• Research, Research, Research

There are a number of options and plans available for commercial fleet insurance. Know the playing field before committing on the dotted line.

• What Type Of Vehicles Are You Insuring?

Depending on the values and types of vehicles that require insurance coverage, you may want to consider varied coverages and limits to provide the right coverage for the best price.

• What Are Your Intended Uses For The Vehicles?

Are they all going to be used for the same purposes? If not, you may be able to have a varied plan that allows you to save money.

• Invest In Driver Training

Make sure you're promoting a culture of safety in your organization. Well-trained drivers mean lower insurance rates and fewer accidents - that means fewer claims.

• Manage The Maintenance Of Your Fleet

This will result in a better performing fleet, reduce your potential for down time, and decrease your insurance rates.

• Work With An Experienced Fleet Broker And InsuUse a car history report when buying a new car. Take a lesson in history when buying a used car and get the facts before you sign the purchase agreement.

(ARA) - Like many other Americans, if you're in the market for a car, you have reviewed your options and decided that buying used is the best value for your money in the current economy. Perhaps you've already researched the make, model, style and options that best suit you. You may have even checked with your bank and other lenders to evaluate your financing options. You're ready to buy…or are you?

While you know in general how much you want to pay and what features you want, it's the specific car's vehicle history that can make all the difference. You may have heard about vehicle history reports and you may already know that they are a good idea, but are they really worth the money? And once you buy one, how can you be sure you understand all the information on it?

"You should physically examine a vehicle yourself if possible and always have a mechanic inspect it. However, this doesn't always tell you everything there is to know about that vehicle," says Len Sims, vice president of operations for NADA Appraisal Guides. "If you buy a used car without a vehicle history report, you could be buying a vehicle with safety issues or other serious issues, in which you could end up in a spider web of declining value."

If you're still unsure of the value of a vehicle history report, consider these facts:

* Many dealers use vehicle history reports to check their used vehicles before they are sold to make sure they are safe and reliable. A significant number of dealers also offer, at no cost, vehicle history reports on the cars they sell.

* Many used vehicles in the United States are bought and sold at wholesale auctions before arriving on dealers' lots and the dealers use vehicle history reports as a determining factor when deciding which autos to buy at auction.

* Many auto dealers and online marketplaces offer free reports on listed vehicles. Some even encourage you to purchase and review a report on the vehicle you're seriously considering, even if they are not the ones selling it.

Once you've made a vehicle history report part of your used-car research, the next step is to understand all the information in the report. While much of the information in a vehicle history report is straightforward, there may be terms and items you aren't familiar with.

A good vehicle report will help explain all the terms and events in a vehicle's history and give you more information on whether the events in that history might ultimately affect the safety and reliability of your vehicle. When reviewing a vehicle history report, look for the following:

* A summary that gives you a brief overview of the information contained on the report, including identifying vehicle information, number of owners, number of reported accidents and information on the title, odometer and vehicle events.

* A vehicle history score. To date, only Experian's AutoCheck provides this. Known as the AutoCheck Score, this number works like a credit score and boils down the vehicle's history into an easy-to-understand number. The AutoCheck Score also provides a number range representing a comparison against vehicles of a similar age and class. This allows you to quickly and easily evaluate a vehicle's history using a more relevant, apples-to-apples comparison. And the score was developed by Experian, a company with a long history of expertise in making complicated information easier to understand.

* Title check. A title check alerts you of whether the title has been branded. States assign title brands to specific vehicles to alert potential customers of past problems. Examples of such problems include an accident that results in a total loss declaration or a vehicle that qualifies as a lemon under that state's lemon laws.

This section will also help you discern if a title may have been "washed," a process that happens when a title is branded in one state and then declared as clean in another state. For example, a vehicle that has a salvage title in one state can sometimes be purchased, repaired, taken to another state, and re-titled there without the salvage designation.

* Problem check. This section will tell you if the vehicle was reported to have been announced as frame damaged at a wholesale auction, sold at salvage auction or seen at a recycling facility.

* Odometer check. Reports collect odometer reading information from many data sources, including state titles, auctions and dealerships. This information can alert you if the vehicle has had its odometer rolled back.

* Use and event check. If the vehicle was used as a company, rental or fleet car, or as a taxi or police car, that information will appear here. This section will also summarize any accidents reported on the vehicle.

* Full history. The complete reported history of the vehicle is listed in chronological order so you can see when accidents, maintenance events, title transfers and other events were reported.

More than one company offers vehicle history reports, so it's important to use a report that puts the important information you need into an easy-to-understand format. Visit www.AutoCheck.com to learn more.

"In this economy, buying a good used vehicle can be a very wise way to get a great car for a lot less money," says Sims. "A vehicle history report with easy-to-understand information can help you purchase a vehicle that will serve you well for years to come."

Take advantage of their loss control expertise. Loss control officers can help you identify areas for improvement, save you money and help you prevent accidents.

Managing your fleet properly and ensuring you have the right insurance coverage can help prevent accidents, reduce the potential for down time and contribute to the long term success of your business. Take advantage of the risk management advice an experienced fleet broker and insurer can provide. More information on fleet insurance or on finding an RSA insurance broker near you can be found online at www.rsagroup.ca .