Replacing Headlight Bulbs in Pairs


Typically, motorists will only replace a headlight bulb that has burned out or is failing. However, replacing just one failed bulb can result in an unbalanced or unpredictable headlight beam, which presents a potential safety risk. From the driver’s perspective, the road ahead will not be properly lit, and the driver will not get the full benefit of the vehicle’s headlights as the car maker originally intended.

From the oncoming driver’s perspective, an uneven headlamp beam can create an equally risky safety issue. The oncoming car will be harder to see and difficult to position on the road. It could also be confused with a single headlight vehicle such as a motorcycle.

Replacing important auto parts in pairs is a common sense idea. Professional automotive technicians and driving safety advocates alike consistently recommend that tires, brakes, shocks, and wiper blades should be replaced in pairs to make sure the vehicle is properly balanced and functioning safely. Lighting is no different and equally as important to driver safety.

Why replace headlight bulbs when they get old?

Many drivers will only replace a bulb that has completely failed, but for maximum driving safety, an aging bulb should replaced before it burns out. The filament of any halogen headlight bulb ages with use, time, and exposure to the elements. As a result, the bulb’s light output deteriorates. At the end of their typical service life, headlight bulbs project less light, and that reduces the driver’s nighttime visibility.

For example, a new headlight bulb that can typically project a 240-foot beam will only be able to deliver a 160-foot beam after three years. That’s potentially a whopping 33% percent less light and a critical safety concern.

Changing bulbs in pairs also makes good sense from an efficiency point of view. You only have to go to the shop once and you reduce the risk of the other headlight bulb failing while you’re on the road.


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Nighttime Driving Worries: Do You Want to See Better At Night?

night driving

Are you someone, or do you know someone who doesn’t enjoy driving once the sun has gone down? You’re not alone. A recent survey from SYLVANIA Automotive found that 62 percent of motorists avoid driving during evening hours. However, for many drivers avoidance is simply not realistic – you still need to get home from work, your children still need to get to and from after-school activities, and plans must go on. So, what to do? In order to increase visibility on the road and make you more comfortable when driving at night, it is essential that high-performance headlights are installed on your vehicle.

The same survey found that while 28 percent of drivers have difficulty seeing hazards and other drivers on the road at night, 34 percent of drivers have never changed out their headlights.

When asked the question:  “Do you want to see better when driving at night?” – The answer should always be yes.  This is a no brainer – we all want to see better when given the option. Improving a vehicle’s headlights can affect the lives of drivers and their overall experience on the road. Better headlights can help improve down road visibility and increase chances of seeing objects sooner in the event of an accident or hazardous road conditions. This is a simple maintenance check that drivers of all ages should prioritize when it comes to overall road safety.

While many focus on oil changes, brake pads and tire pressure checks, there’s one safety element that’s often overlooked but especially critical this time of year – vehicle headlight maintenance. Headlights are an active safety item and are the first line of defense on a vehicle; if drivers cannot see objects on the road, they cannot react.  If you can see it sooner, you can make a better reaction.

47 percent of surveyed drivers said they would be likely to change their headlights if they knew it would improve the safety of loved ones and other passengers. Changing your headlights is usually a simple DIY fix that doesn’t require a mechanic and helps to keep you and your passengers safe when driving at night.

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A Clean Car is Money in the Bank

clean car

Purchasing a new car is a major financial investment. Keeping it clean is an easy and inexpensive way to protect its resale and trade-in value.

Many motorists procrastinate when it comes to cleaning their vehicles. Whether you do it yourself or have it cleaned professionally, proactively keeping your car clean on the outside, and tidy on the inside, will pay big dividends when it comes to maintaining your vehicle’s value over time.

Here are five simple steps to keep a vehicle clean, helping protect it from the elements and preserve its value.

  • Declutter – Start the cleaning process by removing excess clutter from inside the car as it can be distracting and hazardous, especially when debris finds its way near the gas and brake pedals. Don’t forget to clear out items that have accumulated in the trunk as they can add extra weight and reduce fuel efficiency.
  • Clean the Interior – The next step is to thoroughly clean the interior, wash the windows, and clean and install floor mats. Be sure to vacuum on a regular basis. A clean and orderly interior allows you spot issues in the cabin so you can get them repaired before they get worse.
  • Wash the Exterior – Give your car a good wash from top to bottom using products specifically made for automobiles. Always clean the tires and wheels before washing the body, and don’t use the same washing mitt or cloth for both.
  • Wax Twice a Year – Waxing not only protects a vehicle’s finish, but it also makes subsequent washing easier. Before proceeding, make sure there are no foreign particles on the paint. It is important to note that waxing should be done in the shade, not direct sunlight.
  • Fix Chips – If you find minor paint damage, cover the paint chips as quickly as possible to prevent further damage. For a quick fix until you can get paint touchup supplies, dab a little clear nail polish on the scratch.
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How To Determine Oil Change Intervals

oil changes

Many cars now come with a system that displays a message on the instrument cluster indicating when it’s time for a change. Rants on the Internet, however, would have you believe that such indicators are the work of the devil—devilish automakers, that is, who program the oil-life monitors to extend change intervals so that engines wear out sooner, forcing motorists to buy new cars. But you can dismiss such conspiracy thinking. Oil-life monitors do their job quite well. Oil is an engine’s lifeblood, and like a blood test, an engine-oil analysis can identify potential problems before they become serious—and expensive.

Most oil-monitoring systems don’t actually measure various substances in the oil. Instead, they track driving habits, using algorithms that take into account such variables as mileage, engine speeds, and operating temperature to estimate when the oil is likely to be cruddy enough to require a change.

The monitors typically alert the driver to change the oil between 5,000 and 10,000 miles. But the interval could be shorter or longer depending upon your driving routine. If most of your driving is long-distance at relatively high speeds, the monitor may not indicate a change for 12,000 or even 15,000 miles. If tootling for a few minutes down the road to the market or mall is the only driving you usually do, the monitor may go off in as little as 2,500 or 3,000 miles.

Oil lubricates the engine’s internal moving parts, and short-distance driving is particularly hard on motor oil. Moisture from condensation and combustion gases form acids and sludge in the oil that inhibit lubrication and accelerate wear. Allowing the oil to reach its optimum operating temperature burns off contaminants—and that may take up 20 or 30 minutes of driving, especially in colder weather.

Though oil-life monitoring systems work well, you’ll still need to crack open the good book—your car’s owner’s manual. And that means reading the fine print. For instance, the manual may say not to exceed 10,000 miles between changes despite the oil-life monitor’s instructions. Or, it may specify an oil change once a year, even though the car’s oil-life monitor hasn’t called for one. An annual oil change also gives your mechanic a chance to inspect your car and alert you to problems that might have developed during the year.

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The Future of Car Audio is Here With Pioneer’s NEX In-Dash Receivers


Key features in the Pioneer NEX receivers include:

  • Robust Built-in Navigation – In addition to the latest mapping and turn-by-turn directions to 7.9 million Points-of-Interest, such as restaurants, gas stations and ATMs, the AVIC NEX models that feature built-in navigation can obtain over-the-air traffic information for further assistance and convenience in getting consumers to their destinations.
  • iDatalink® Maestro1 – Enables convenient and unobtrusive integration of NEX receivers with OEM (original equipment) systems to retain many of the original features found or tied with the stock radio, including Bluetooth® connectivity and key services such as OnStar®, Sync®, uConnect®, SiriusXM®, and more.
  • MirrorLink™ – Consumers can connect compatible smartphones using Pioneer’s optional CD-MU200 USB cable ($35 SRP) for access to certain music and map applications.
  • Expanded Bluetooth® Capability – Offering Bluetooth AVRCP 1.4 to enable browsing a user’s media library and HFP 1.6 with wideband audio for clearer overall sound quality.
  • Siri® Eyes Free – Users of an iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s device can take advantage of Siri Eyes Free for accessing many iPhone functions such as music selection, listening to and composing text messages, Maps, Calendar information, Reminders, and more.
  • Pandora® Station Creation –Users can quickly create new Pandora stations based on the currently playing track, artist, or genre from a connected iPhone or compatible Android™ smartphone.
  • SiriusXM-Ready™ – Ready for use with optional SXV200 Connect Vehicle Tuner (sold separately, subscription required) for access to SiriusXM’s commercial-free music, premier sports and live events, comedy, news, exclusive talk and entertainment channels. The NEX receivers will also be the first SiriusXM-Ready in-vehicle receivers to display album art delivered via satellite.
  • HDMI® Connection (except AVIC-5000NEX) – The integrated HDMI port on back of the receivers can be used for smartphone connectivity.
  • Aha™ Radio – Aha seamlessly organizes and integrates the user’s favorite content (over 40,000 stations available) from the web, like news, entertainment, weather, audiobooks. The feature also provides audio updates from Facebook® and Twitter® when the receiver is connected to a compatible smartphone, allowing easy access and audio playback.
  • FLAC file support – First in the industry to support internal decoding and playback of FLAC “lossless” digital audio files.
  • Touchscreen Display – Large WVGA touchscreen displays, in either 6.1- or 7-inch size, provide quick access to sources and convenient features. In addition, the flagship AVIC-8000NEX is the Industry’s first navigation system to offer a 7-inch capacitive touch panel display.
  • Dual Camera Inputs – Enable users to add a reverse (rear facing) camera and additional front facing or other view applications camera.
  • Built-in Auto EQ and Time Alignment – Provides tailored audio adjustments specifically for the car and user preference.
  • 13-Band Graphic Equalizer – Touch panel swipe setting and built-in high/low pass crossover with adjustable points and slopes
  • Dual USB Inputs
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A Little Auto Care Goes a Long Way


Performing simple preventative maintenance on your vehicle will go a long way toward protecting your vehicle investment, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

Buying a new car today comes with a hefty price tag when you add up the down payment, monthly car payments and higher insurance rates. Neglecting its care can mean even higher costs down the line in the form of more extensive repairs and lost resale value,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “By following a proactive auto care plan, the typical car should deliver at least 200,000 miles of safe, dependable, efficient and enjoyable performance.”

National Car Care Month in April is the perfect time of year to give your car some extra attention. The Car Care Council recommends following a vehicle service schedule, keeping a free copy of the council’s Car Care Guide in the glovebox and performing the most common routine maintenance procedures to keep your vehicle performing at its best.

  • Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  • Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
  • Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  • Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
  • Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and safety reasons, such as defrosting.
  • Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

Be sure to fully inspect your vehicle annually, including performing a tune-up and wheel alignment,” continued White. “If you ever suspect there is a problem, it’s a good idea to address it quickly before minor repairs become more complicated, expensive repairs.”

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Ask Six Simple Questions to Select the Right Auto Repair Shop


Ask six simple questions to help identify the right auto repair shop to properly care for one of your most valuable assets, your car.

  1. Does the business employ ASE-certified technicians? Credentials and affiliations are indicators of professionalism and the management’s commitment to training and education.
  2. Is the shop and customer waiting area clean and organized? Cleanliness and organization are signs of a well-run business.
  3. Are customers greeted and treated in a friendly and respectful manner? Many auto repair businesses excel in the area of customer service and satisfaction. A simple phone call to the shop to inquire about their services can give you a glimpse of how they treat customers.
  4. Does the business provide a written estimate? The business should complete a written estimate and request your signature prior to starting any repairs on your car.
  5. Does the business offer a warranty? Most auto repair businesses offer a warranty on parts and labor and the warranty is usually in writing or posted in the waiting area.
  6. Does the business have a list of satisfied customers or references that it is willing to give you? Satisfied customers and recommendations from family, friends and neighbors are helpful in finding a good shop. Many auto repair facilities also have company websites that are worth checking out as they often include testimonials and additional information about the business.

A vehicle is a major purchase for most people, so it makes sense to take the time to select an auto repair facility that will take the best care of that investment. Being an informed auto care consumer means not only learning about your vehicle and its service needs, but also the facility that will make the repairs.

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