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Fall car care: protecting your paint from falling leaves

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Come autumn, the days start to get cooler and the leaves begin to fall. Though the colorful foliage may look pretty, it’s best to keep it away from your car.

Unfortunately, deciduous leaves contain acidic substances like sap and pollen that can penetrate your car’s clear coat and stain the paint. Fallen leaves can also clog your vehicle’s drains and air filters, which can result in the rusting of components and the arrival of unpleasant odors.

Keep leaves at bay

Here are a few ways to protect your car by steering clear of fallen leaves.

• Don’t park under trees. This is the most obvious solution, but it isn’t always possible. If you can’t avoid parking near trees, try to position your car near one that’s already lost most of its leaves.

• Remove debris right away. The best way to get rid of leaves is to remove them by hand. Using a brush or broom can cause the leaves to scratch your paint.

• Invest in a car cover. If you want to eliminate the possibility that leaves might damage the paint on your car, be sure to cover it when it’s parked. This will also protect your vehicle from heavy rain, dust, snow and ice.

Remove leaf stains
If your car’s exterior is already stained by leaves, you should first remove any sap that’s stuck to the surface with a liquid car wash solution and a clean microfiber cloth. Polish it dry with a second one.

Afterwards, use denatured alcohol, distilled white vinegar or a product specifically designed for gentle stain removal. Once the marks are gone, wash your vehicle once more with the car wash solution.

Conduct a pre-winter wash
Once all the leaves have fallen for the season, wash your car a final time to remove all traces of pollen and sap from the paint. Afterwards, apply a good quality wax. It will help protect your car from the upcoming winter weather.

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5 considerations when shopping for a fuel-efficient car

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Are you looking for a fuel-efficient car? If so, here are five factors to keep in mind when shopping for your new ride.

1. Weight
A smaller, lighter car will use less gas than a heavier one. Keep in mind that the weight of a car doesn’t depend solely on its size. Certain features, such as electric windows and seats, can considerably increase the weight of a vehicle.

2. Cylinders

Engine cylinders are the chambers where gas is converted into power. Therefore, the number of cylinders in an engine directly affects the car’s fuel consumption. The more cylinders an engine has, the more gas it requires to operate the vehicle.

3. Average consumption
Each vehicle has an average fuel economy for highway, city, and combined driving calculated in miles per gallon (MPG). You can find this information on the manufacturer’s website or by visiting a local dealership.

4. Eco mode
Many modern cars have a fuel-saving setting called eco or economy mode. When activated, this feature adjusts the vehicle’s acceleration speed, transmission and air conditioning to reduce fuel consumption.

5. Aerodynamics
Most cars are designed to minimize the impact of air resistance on speed and fuel consumption. However, accessories installed on a vehicle, such as a permanent luggage rack or sports equipment carrier, can alter the car’s aerodynamics.

Once you’ve chosen a vehicle, you can improve its fuel economy by adjusting the way you drive. In particular, use cruise control whenever possible to reduce the amount of gas your car burns.

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Do you need to break in a new car?

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For decades, car manufacturers recommended that drivers break in a new car before pushing it to its limits. Here’s what you should know.

The reason
A break-in period ensures that the moving parts of a car wear down smoothly, thereby reducing the amount of friction between components. It gives the engine, transmission, shocks, brakes, and tires time to work out any imperfections. This process increases the efficiency, durability, and longevity of the vehicle.

The duration

The break-in period is measured in distance rather than time. Each car manufacturer has its own recommended distance, which can be as much as 3,000 miles. However, it’s generally agreed that the first 600 miles are the most important.

The process
Breaking in a car involves adapting the way you drive to avoid overworking the engine and other moving parts. Here’s what’s recommended:

• Don’t push the engine above 3,000 revolutions per minute

• Alternate between accelerating, slowing down, braking and shifting gears on a quiet road

• Avoid abruptly accelerating and braking

• If it’s a manual transmission, shift gears carefully without forcing the gearshift

• Let the engine idle for a few minutes before driving, particularly in cold weather

• Don’t use the vehicle to tow anything

A break-in period is also beneficial after you’ve had one or more moving components of your car replaced. This will help ensure the new parts wear evenly and work optimally.

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Traffic accidents down dramatically as people stay at home

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It might not be safe to hug a stranger, but driving on freeways is safer than ever.

All over major U.S. cities traffic is down, pollution is down, accidents are down.

According to a study by the University of California, Davis, California traffic accidents have fallen by 50 percent since March 19, when the populace was ordered to stay at home.

Typically, there are 1,000 collisions and 400 accidents that result in injuries or fatalities every day on the congested freeways of California.

Now the numbers are 500 collisions and 200 injury/fatality accidents.

The study measured these highways: I-5, both north of Los Angeles and toward Oceanside, U.S. Route 101, U.S. Route 99, state road 152 toward Los Banos and I-280 toward Daly City.

Pollution is also down worldwide. A Stanford scientist studied satellite imagery and found a dramatic decline in air pollution. Marshall Burke, assistant professor in the Stanford Department of Earth System Science, predicted that quarantine might save 77,000 lives in China.

In Los Angeles, as April began, residents were enjoying their fourth week of smog-free air.

In fact, the air is clearer from Los Angeles to India, which has 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities. Major cities in India, something new is in the sky: blue. Living with such badly polluted air makes dwellers in such cities uniquely at risk for viruses like Covid-19.

However, scientists say with the resumption of factory work and traffic, blue skies will once again be replaced with gray.

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Car warranties 101

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One of the advantages of purchasing a new car is that it comes with a warranty. It’s important, however, for buyers to understand what exactly it covers. Here’s a brief rundown of what you get with both a basic and an extended warranty.

Basic warranty
Also called a factory warranty or a manufacturer’s warranty, a basic warranty is standard with the purchase of any new vehicle. Typically, it comprises multiple warranties. This includes a bumper-to-bumper warranty, which, as the name suggests, covers just about everything between the front and back bumper. It also includes a powertrain warranty, which applies to the engine, transmission, and drivetrain and is usually more limited.

Note that warranties don’t cover cosmetic damage or normal wear and tear; they cover manufacturing defects that were the fault of the automaker.

A standard warranty lasts between three to five years or 36,000 and 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Extended warranty
When you purchase a vehicle, sometimes an extended warranty is given as a bonus, but more commonly, it comes at an extra cost. In most cases, an extended warranty from the automaker is simply an extension of the factory warranty.

However, you may also opt for an extended warranty from a third-party provider, which may offer more comprehensive coverage and perks like roadside assistance.

Note that nothing forces you to purchase an extended warranty right away. You can wait until the factory warranty is about to expire before getting this extra protection.

Warranties differ between car makes and models, so always take the time to familiarize yourself with any car warranty you receive or purchase.

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Top 5 driver-assistance technologies

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Driver-assistance technologies contribute to your safety on the road. Here are five handy features available in many newer cars.

1. Traction control
This technology is designed to prevent loss of traction when the car is accelerating. It senses when one wheel is spinning faster than the others and automatically engages the brake on that wheel. This is a useful feature to have in winter driving conditions when a loss of traction can cause the car to slide.

2. Blindspot detection
This feature uses sensors to monitor the sides and rear of the car and alert the driver when another car enters into their blind spot. Most systems warn the driver of the potential hazard with a flashing light mounted on the side-view mirrors or rear-view mirror. However, some systems use audio alerts or cause the steering wheel or driver’s seat to lightly vibrate.

3. Automatic emergency braking
This technology detects upcoming obstacles and automatically reduces the car’s speed or brings it to a stop when there’s a risk of collision. The sensors are able to detect slowed and stopped traffic and, in more advanced systems, pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals.

4. Lane departure warning
These systems detect the lines on the road and warn drivers anytime they move out of their lane without using the turn signal. Some systems use flashing lights on the dashboard to alert the driver, while others use a vibrating steering wheel or driver’s seat.

5. Backing aids
These systems detect objects in the car’s path when it’s reversing and alert the driver using a warning light or warning sound. Some newer cars also have a backup camera, which gives the driver a clearer view of the obstacles behind the car.

Some additional driver-assistance technologies worth asking your local car dealer about are adaptive cruise control, driver monitoring and adaptive lighting.

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5 key steps for taking your car out of storage

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Spring is here, and if you happen to have a summer vehicle tucked away, now’s the time to take it out of storage. Here are five essential steps to take before you hit the road.

1. Check the fluids. If you didn’t change the oil before putting your car into storage for the winter, do it now. You should also check the other fluids, including your coolant, brake, transmission, and windshield wa¬sher fluids. Top these up if necessary.

2. Inspect the tires. Even if they look fine, check the pressure in your tires as it may have dropped over the winter. If necessary, inflate them to the manufacturer’s requirements. Visually inspect them for wear, cracks and bulges, and repair or replace them if necessary.

3. Connect the battery. If your battery wasn’t connected to a maintainer or tender over the winter, charge it fully. Before reconnecting it, check the wires and terminals for corrosion.

4. Perform a visual inspection. Check all visible electric wires and hoses for damage. Ensure that there are no foreign objects or signs of pest infestation under the hood, in the trunk and in the cabin. Finally, look for signs of damage to the paint and body.

5. Replace worn out parts. Air filters can accumulate dust over the winter and windshield wipers can become dry and cracked from disuse. If necessary, install replacements before driving.

When driving your car for the first time after an extended period in storage, it’s normal for the wheels to vibrate for a few minutes until any flat spots have rounded out. Similarly, the brakes may be noisy the first time you use them. If these things don’t go away after driving for about half an hour, or you notice other irregularities, bring your car to a professional to have it inspected.

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King Cartoons

Front Royal
76°
Light Rain
5:47am8:35pm EDT
Feels like: 76°F
Wind: 9mph NW
Humidity: 86%
Pressure: 29.86"Hg
UV index: 2
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min 65°F
88/60°F
80/53°F