Prepare Your Vehicle for Fall

 In many parts of the country, the leaves have started to fall, and parents have sent their children back to school. Before the weather takes a turn, Firestone Complete Auto Care would like to offer the following car maintenance tips to get vehicles ready for the damp, cold road ahead.

Take your vehicle for a full check up. As the fall weather rolls in, it’s important to have the following items checked by a professional: battery cables and terminals, belts and hoses, air filters, windshield wipers and all fluids, including anti-freeze, oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, automatic transmission fluid and windshield washer fluid.

Take a good look at your tires. Are there signs of uneven tread wear? That could indicate under-inflation, unbalanced tires or misaligned wheels. Remember to check your tire pressure with a gauge at least once a month and regularly inspect the tread depth. Your tread will be even more important during the autumn months when wet, dead leaves cover the roadways.

Take care of your lights and turn signals. Fall, along with less favorable weather, also means it’s time to turn the clocks back for daylight savings. With a shorter day comes a longer night, so be sure your headlights, taillights and turn signals are in proper working order and shining at the appropriate levels.

Talk to your teenager. Have a teenager in the house? Worried about all the driving they will be doing during the fall? You can’t teen-proof your neighborhood, but you can talk to your teen about safe driving before they head to school. Teens Drive Smart, a teen driver safety initiative from Bridgestone Americas, the parent company to Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, which owns and operates Firestone Complete Auto Care, has tips and resources for parents to help start a conversation with their teens about smart driving.

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Hybrid Cars: The Performance Cars of the Future

When most people think of hybrid cars, they imagine practical, mild-mannered vehicles. But could we someday see hybrid racecars burning up the tracks?

In March of 2010, Porsche (www.porsche.com/usa/) unveiled three hybrids at the Geneva Auto Show: one for the road; one for the race track; and one that is a genuine Porsche supercar. These innovative new Porsches — the Cayenne S Hybrid, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid and the 918 Spyder — show that hybrids can be sporty, fast and powerful.

The Cayenne S, Porsche’s first production hybrid car, features a sophisticated parallel full hybrid system with the combined power of a 380 horsepower V6 combustion engine and an electric motor. The car has the potential to significantly enhance fuel economy at high speeds — when the driver lifts off the accelerator at cruising or highway speeds, the gasoline engine can be switched off and disengaged from the drivetrain. This enables the vehicle to move without combustion or electric power.

The GT3 R’s innovative hybrid technology has been developed especially for racing. The front axle features two powerful electric motors that supplement the car’s 480 horsepower, naturally aspirated four-liter flat-six that drives the rear wheels. Instead of the heavy batteries found in hybrid road cars, an electrical flywheel power generator resides next to the driver to deliver energy to the electric motors. The 911 GT3 R Hybrid competed in the 24 Hours on the Nordschleife of Nürburgring in May 2010, leading for eight hours before retiring after 22 hours and 15 minutes for mechanical reasons. In the 2010 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta it finished 18th out of a starting field of 41 cars.

With the 918 Spyder high-performance mid-engine concept hybrid sports car, Porsche is displaying its expertise in the field of highly efficient and low-emission drive technology. The 918 Spyder prototype with plug-in hybrid technology combines high-tech performance features with electric mobility to produce a fascinating range of qualities. It has an ultra-compact car’s emission levels of 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer, and it consumes just three liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, but can go from 0 to 62 mph in just under 3.2 seconds and reach a top track speed over 198 mph.

How to Find Mechanics Who Will Come to You

When it comes to managing vehicle repairs, the associated hassles and inconveniences that come about — whether from having no vehicle or the process of finding a reputable repair shop — can become a major annoyance.

However, according to a new start-up business from San Francisco called YourMechanic, a new system is “changing the nature of auto repair.” YourMechanic is a car repair marketplace that connects people to certified, trustworthy, local mechanics. The best part: there’s no need to spend your entire lunch break finding an opening at the repair shop, since the mechanics will come to you.

This new way of fixing your car is getting great reviews and earning awards. YourMechanic recently won TechCrunch Disrupt, the annual start-up competition pitting the best new ideas in Silicon Valley.

TechCrunch, a leader in reviewing the latest tech developments and profiling worthy start-ups, compared YourMechanic to Uber — the company that effectively helped turn every cab driver into a potential entrepreneur. Using Uber, commuters can call a taxi with a smartphone app instead of waiting to hail the next one. As TechCrunch pointed out, YourMechanic has key similarities: mechanics will come to you, and the process is simple.

Anyone can go online to YourMechanic.com, explain their problem, provide details about their vehicle and get instant quotes. All mechanics are required to honor the quotes provided, so you just pick your mechanic and go.

Once you select your preferred mechanic — based on work history, certifications, ratings and customer reviews — they will arrive at your specified location fully prepared to fix your car. Whether day or night, weekday or weekend, mechanics will make repairs as long as they have a parking lot or driveway to work in.

Ultimately, the business model is designed to lower costs for consumers and mechanics. The mechanics doing the work pocket money that would have gone to the presiding repair shop. As a result, their rates are a little more reasonable.