Staying Safe and Dealing with Emergencies

This part helps you deal with problems that may occur while you’re away from home. It describes a variety of new safety systems that help children ride comfortably and securely, prevent accidents and injuries, increase traction and stability, avoid rollovers, and even call for help without your assistance when your car is disabled or stolen.

It shows you how to decipher such symptoms as weird noises, smoke, smells, and leaks to determine what’s wrong; I also share what to do to get off the road safely, jump a start, and cool things down if your car overheats in traffic.

If a job is just too hairy to deal with yourself, I tell you how to find a reliable service facility and establish a good relationship with it, describe a problem so a mechanic can diagnose it swiftly and accurately, decipher a mechanic’s invoice, and get satisfaction on complaints if, despite your best efforts, you run into problems with anything you buy.

Helping Your Vehicle Look Its Best

Because keeping a vehicle clean — inside and out — can extend its life and value, in this part I cover washing and waxing the body, tidying up under the hood, cleaning the interior, and removing stains from fabric, carpeting, windows, and other surfaces.

If your vehicle has suffered minor damage, I show you how to repair small dings, dents, and rust spots; touch up paint, and patch or install weatherstripping instead of paying big bucks for body shops to do it. If major work needs to be done I tell you how to choose the right type of parts, and how to evaluate body shops and get the best deal and highest quality work from them.

The Part of Tens

This part can save you money, time, and sanity. It lists the most important preventive maintenance you can do to keep your vehicle in good condition and offers “eco-logical” tips for saving fuel.


The Dictionary of Acronyms and the Practical Glossary not only tell you what automotive terms mean but give you advice about them as well. Throughout the book, glossary terms are set in a special font to remind you to go to the glossary when you see a word that you don’t recognize or a term that you don’t understand.

The handy Specifications Record makes sure that you have the numbers of the parts you need when you go to the auto supply store, and the Maintenance Record reminds you to get busy if you’ve let things go too long. The Maintenance Record also provides a history of maintenance and repair that will be an asset when it’s time to sell your vehicle or trade it in. Each record can be photocopied (before you enter any information on it) so you have one for every vehicle you own.

Icons Used

To make this book easier to read and simpler to use, I include some icons that can help you find and fathom key ideas and information. This icon points to suggestions or hints that can make a task easier, save you money, help you avoid hassles, and otherwise make your life easier.

Last word

This icon appears beside information that you should watch out for because it points out events or circumstances that are dangerous or can end up costing you a lot of money. This icon was specially created for this book to alert you to the relationship between a piece of information and its impact on the environment. The information will help you save fuel, cut air pollution, recycle parts, and dispose of toxic substances safely.

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