The Ford Motor Company recently launched a series of 30-minute podcasts on its Web site created by women especially for women. The idea behind the new series, What Women Want, is to cover the automotive topics that women care about the most, such as safety, technology and Ford car maintenance.
During a recent podcast in the What Women Want series, blogger Becky Harks hosted a 30 minute question and answer session with Ford Motor Company Vehicle Dynamics Development Engineer, Cristina Rodriguez. The two women discussed car maintenance myths and Becky asked Cristina some questions on behalf of her female blog readers. Read on to see what Cristina had to share with Becky and the other women listening in cyberspace.
How can women avoid being ripped off by a mechanic? Because many women are not experts in the field of car maintenance, many of them often feel that they are taken advantage of when they visit their local mechanic, especially if they have their kids with them when they visit the shop. According to the podcast, if women entered the repair shop feeling more confident in their car knowledge they would no longer be easy targets. Cristina suggests asking others about your car problem or searching online to find more information about what the issue might be before heading into the repair shop. That way, you’ll feel like you have an idea of what is going on with your car and you can talk to the mechanic without seeming clueless. Cristina also said that sometimes she will take a man with her to the repair shop, but she will still do all the talking. This will show the mechanic that you know what is going on and aren’t going to allow yourself to be taken advantage of.
Does high octane fuel really give better performance? Most engines are designed to take regular unleaded gasoline (87), which means that higher octane fuel doesn’t necessarily improve the performance of your Ford car. According to Cristina, if your vehicle does not require high octane fuel, you should just use regular unleaded fuel because it will save you money.
Why do people get fuel flushes? People get fuel flushes in order to clean the fuel line. If there is an obstruction on the line, it can affect that car’s performance and a fuel flush may help. However, it’s not something that needs to be done regularly.
Can you really go 12,000 miles without an oil change if you use synthetic oil? Synthetic oil is meant to use on vehicles that operate under extreme conditions or in extreme climates. Technically you could go longer without an oil change on synthetic oil, because it was developed to break down less than regular oil. However, it is best to use the oil that the car manufacturer recommends, which is usually not synthetic oil.
If you take your car into the shop for one thing, and the mechanic tells you 10 different things are wrong with it, what should be the highest priority if you have limited money to spend? Things that need to be fixed right away include anything related to the brakes, steering, tires, engine and transmission. Since the engine and transmission make the car go, if a problem is overlooked, it could cause bigger problems down the line. Even though they are often the most expensive to fix, they should be the first priority and never overlooked. Anything that is dealing with the under body of the car can be pushed aside, unless it’s making a strange noise or vibration. Then get it fixed as soon as possible.
Is it better to have your tires slightly under inflated or over inflated? Neither. The best thing to do is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on what the tire pressure should be. Under or over inflating the tires will change their shape and affect performance, ride and fuel economy. If your tires are under inflated it can cause premature wear on the tires and cost you more money down the line.
Does Ford have any plans to make a hybrid mini van? Ford has recently introduced the eco-boost engine which gives the performance of a bigger engine with more power, but has the fuel economy of a smaller engine. For instance, if you have a V6 eco-boost engine, you will have the power of a V8 with the fuel efficiency of a V6. According to Cristina, Ford is going to be using eco-boost technology into the different vehicles lines within the next few years.
How long can someone drive with the check engine light on? According to Cristina, it depends. Many times in Ford cars today, the check engine light comes on for something as small as forgetting to put the gas cap on tight enough. Other times it’s a malfunction in a sensor or the computer. These are minor problems that don’t need to be attended to immediately. However, if you can physically feel like something in the engine is running differently and the check engine light is on, you should get it checked out immediately.
Where can women find reliable information about car maintenance online? According to Cristina, the Ford Motor Company Web site has a lot of great information. However, she recommends not going to just one source. If you are having car issues, check out a few difference sources online and compare. That way you’ll be able to weed out the facts from the myths.
I have been looking for a new car for a while, and a Ford car is looking like a good choice but I need to consider the personal Ford car leasing options that available as I can’t afford to buy a car outright.
FordCredit is the manufacturers own finance arm and is one of the world’s biggest automotive finance companies. They have finance plans to cater for a variety of needs, and the expertise to help me choose the right option, so I am sure I will find a package that suits my requirements.
Ford Options is a personal contract purchase plan, where I can choose to ‘renew’, ‘return’ or ‘retain’ my Ford car at the end of the agreement. All cars will have a Guaranteed Minimum Future Value (GMFV) so I don’t need to worry about the cars value falling by the end of the agreement. I can spread the payments out over 24, 30 or 36 months too, so I can pay what I can afford each month and as the repayments are fixed and regular there won’t be any nasty surprises.
If I fancy a new car at the end of the agreed contract I can choose to renew by trading the car in at my local Ford Dealer, or privately once the money have been squared up. Any excess monies over the GMFV can be used as a deposit for a new car. There is the opportunity to renew before the end of the agreement to if I see another Ford car I like the look of, but I will have to settle the remaining balance first which is not ideal.
I can also return the car at the end of the agreement, with no more to pay as long as the dealer deems that the car meets ‘fair wear and tear standards’ and provided I have not exceeded the agreed mileage. If I decided I want to keep it I can pay the GMFV and purchase fee and its all mine! Luckily the FordCredit will make contact way before the agreement is up so I’ll have time to decide what I want to do.
So that’s the Ford Options agreement, so what’s the Ford Options Cashplan? It’s very similar to the Options agreement in that you have a GMFV and the options to renew, return or retain you car, but you don’t have regular installments to pay, which is fine as long as you are good at planning your finances. The Ford Options Cashplan can be taken out over 12, 24 or 36 month terms, as opposed to 24, 30 or 36 months for the regular Ford Options agreement.
The last Ford car leasing option is Ford Acquire, a traditional hire purchase plan where at the end of the agreement you will own the car as long as all payments have been cleared. It is probably the most flexible of the finance agreements, as repayments can be paid over anything from 12 to 60 months in installments that suit you.
Personally I think the Ford Options plan will suit me best, I have a regular wage and by paying a fixed amount each month I can budget better. Whichever Ford car leasing agreement suits you though its handy to know you can access account services online so there is always help just a click away!