Car Maintenance Tips – Car Care Council Offers 75 Page Guide

April is National Car Care Month and the experts at Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, a nationwide chain that services almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic, offer some simple tips to keep your car in good shape for the spring and summer peak driving season.

Car Maintenance Tips

With spring, in most areas, comes rain – the so-called April showers that bring May flowers. Those showers also can create hazardous driving conditions like wet, slick roads. It is important to make sure your car’s tires, brakes and windshield wipers are ready for the rain. It’s also a good time to check the windshield wiper fluid to be sure it’s full.

In most areas, winter weather is rough on tires and the suspension system, so an important part of the spring checkup could include wheel balancing. This will help give a smoother ride and save wear and tear on the tires.

Cottman also recommends a check of all fluids, hoses and the battery as part of spring car care.

“Regular checkups help ensure that your car will remain safe and trouble-free,” said Randy Wright, President of Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care.

Car Care Guide

A comprehensive 75-page Car Care Guide is available free from the Car Care Council.

The updated guide boasts 20 pages of new materials for motorists and is available free, electronically or by printed copy, in English and Spanish. The guide covers major services, 12 component groups within the vehicle, service interval recommendations and more.

To view or order the Car Care Guide online, click on http://www.carcare.org/car-care-resource/car-care-guide/.

Cottman Automotive Franchise Development FAQ

FAQ Page

  • What level of education is required to purchase a Cottman Franchise?
    • High School graduate is preferred as a minimum requirement
  • Does Cottman provide a website to all Franchisees?
    • Yes.  Each franchisee has a local website that is developed and specific to that particular area.
  • Is it required to be a mechanic to purchase a Cottman Franchise?
    • No
  • What type of marketing assistance does Cottman provide to the franchise?
    • Cottman provides a complete digital strategy for each franchise on an ongoing basis, which includes but is not limited to business listing optimization, PPC (pay per click), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Mobile advertising, and responsive design local websites, and also offers traditional and yellow page advertising, with continuing support with the input from the owner.
  • Why type of operations training help does Cottman provide?
    • Cottman has in-field training as well as quarterly training at the corporate headquarters in Horsham, Pennsylvania.
  • What is the average income earned by a Cottman Franchisee?
    • Will depend on the commitment of the franchise.  Cottman does not currently make any earnings claims or financial performance representations in its FDD.
  • What is the term of a Cottman Franchise? When does it need to be renewed?
    • 15-year term.  Must be renewed by no later than 90 days before expiration date. There is no charge to renew.
  • Does Cottman sell auto parts needed to run the business?
    • No
  • What is the approval process for an application?
    • Proper financial qualifications, followed by a credit/background check.
  • What are the royalty fees required?
    • 7.5 %
  • Is buying a current Cottman center an option?
    • Yes.  In fact, the only way to be part of this brand is to purchase an existing center that is up for resale, or otherwise a franchise in a market/territory where a prior center may have recently closed, which opportunities are limited in supply.
  • What are the financial requirements?
    • A credit score of 675 or higher, $50k-$75k cash, available within 30 days, or 20% of the sale price. A net worth of 100k or more.

Winter Driving Tips: Keep Car Running Safely In Winter Weather

Winter driving can be treacherous in most parts of the country, with snow, ice and freezing temperatures making roads especially hazardous.

The experts at Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, a nationwide automotive service and repair network of licensed centers, offer simple tips to keep your car running smoothly and safely during the winter months ahead.

How To Ensure Winter Driving Safety For Your Car

  1. Keep traction in mind. Traction and visibility are major factors to consider in winter, said Joe Josko, regional director for Cottman.  “Too many people neglect their tires, so be sure your tires are safe, with good tread.” He cautions against relying on so-called “high-performance tires” that come with some sporty cars.  “They don’t perform well in heavy rain and snow.” He recommends all-season tires with good tread.
  2. Keep extra salt or sand in the car. Even the best tires can lose traction on ice. The experts at Cottman also recommend keeping a piece of old carpeting in the trunk, so if you get stuck you can place the carpet in front of the drive wheels to give the tires something to grab onto to help get the car moving.
  3. Visibility is crucial, especially in winter weather.  Paul Dintino, a regional director for Cottman, said it’s important to keep the windows clear.  “Replace wiper blades with winter-style blades, which do a better job of keeping the windshield clear,” he suggested.  Refill the washer fluid and keep spare fluid in the car.
  4. Wipe snow and grime from headlights and tail lights. Dintino says that ice and remnants of snow on lights can substantially diminish forward visibility and make it difficult for drivers to see your vehicle.
  5. Check for weak or dead batteries. This is another major winter problem. The Cottman experts recommend a simple load test to be sure the battery has ample power for cold-weather starts.  They also suggest having the battery terminals cleaned to permit maximum power to flow from the battery to the starter.
  6. Anti-freeze should be checked for the winter.  This will protect radiator and engine block from freezing and cracking, which can lead to very costly repair jobs.
  7. Don’t speed and drive extra carefully in winter weather.  Slow down on curves and be vigilant for black ice.

Inclimate Weather Safety

Dintino says advance preparation is a key element in winter driving safety. Seemingly small things like keeping a lock de-icer product in your coat or purse can help keep you from getting locked out. Keep extra sweaters and blankets in the car to keep you warm if you get stranded. Flares can help warn other drivers if you get stuck and can also draw the attention of the police to help you.

The Cottman experts suggest drivers check their owner’s manuals to see what specific steps are recommended for winter care for their vehicle.

“Some advance planning and extra caution can keep your car running safely during tough winter months,” Dintino said.

Holiday Travel Tips – The Cottman Man Urges Drivers To Travel Safely

Nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign Dec. 12 through Jan. 2

Police nationwide will be out in force to stop and arrest drunk drivers during the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday enforcement campaign, which begins December 12 and runs through Jan. 2, 2015. It is part of a nationwide effort coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which provides funding for local police agencies to help staff the effort and to support a nationwide advertising campaign.

Drunk Driving Consequences

“The message is clear and simple: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” said Randy Wright, President of Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, a nationwide transmission and auto repair brand that services almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic.

Drinking alcohol and driving do not mix. If you plan to consume alcohol, then you should also plan not to drive.” 

NHTSA reports that alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes cost more than an estimated $37 billion annually. The risk becomes greater at this time of year as people celebrate at holiday parties and family gatherings. Safety experts say even a single alcoholic drink can impair a driver’s attention, vision and reaction time to the point of contributing to a crash.

Traveling During The Holidays

Cottman recommends some simple holiday travel tips when driving:

    • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
    • Before drinking, designate a non-drinking driver and leave your car keys at home;
    • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a friend or family member, or use public transportation
    • If you see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local police;
    • If someone who you know is about to drive while impaired, take his or her keys and help with other arrangements to get home safely.

“At Cottman, we work hard every day to keep you and your car safe and reliable,” Wright said. “We don’t want to see our customers in the hospital and their cars in for crash-related repairs, so we urge you to be extra careful during this holiday season, so both you and your car stay safe.”

Thanksgiving Travel Tips – Cottman Man Offers Tips For Safe Driving

A long holiday weekend is among the most dangerous times on nation’s roads

November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving weekend, best known for family gatherings over turkey, along with football and shopping, is reputed among police and traffic safety officials as one of the most dangerous driving times of the year.

Holiday Driving Safety

The holiday is a convergence of several factors that make our roads and highways especially hazardous. It is a high-volume traffic time, as people drive to family gatherings and students return home. It’s also a time when alcohol is often consumed – beer while watching a game and wine with the big meal. And the third big factor is drowsiness, caused by consuming a lot of food and, especially, turkey.

“Impaired and drowsy driving are serious risks on Thanksgiving,” said Randy Wright, President of Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, nationwide transmission and auto repair brand that services almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic.

“People tend to get sleepy after a big meal, especially one that includes roasted turkey, which has enzymes that may cause drowsiness. Studies also show that even only one or two alcoholic drinks with the meal can seriously impair driving ability.”

Traveling On Thanksgiving

Cottman offers some simple Thanksgiving travel tips to help keep Thanksgiving from being marred by tragedy on the road:

  1. Always be sure the driver and all passengers are wearing seat belts.
  2. If you plan to drive, don’t drink or take drugs. If you plan to drink, designate a non-drinking driver before holiday celebrating begins.
  3. Avoid driving long distances after a heavy holiday meal. If you must, have someone who can share driving tasks, and allow extra time for frequent rest stops.
  4. If you feel yourself nodding off, get to a safe place to pull over, have coffee or a caffeinated product and close your eyes for a 20-minute nap. You can’t force yourself to stay awake, and opening the windows or blasting the radio will not help.

“At Cottman, we all work hard to keep you and your car safe and reliable,” Wright said. “We urge you to take precautions on this festive holiday, so both you and your car stay safe.”

Service of Veterans is Important to Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care

November 11, 2014

Veterans Day is an annual reminder to give thanks to the men and women who have protected the American way of life through their service in our Armed Forces.

For Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, a nationwide auto repair and transmission company for almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic, the holiday has a special meaning. Roughly 25 percent of Cottman shops nationwide are owned and run by veterans.

Honoring Our Veterans

“Service to our nation and its people is part of the DNA of veterans, and it’s what we applaud and thank them for,” said Cottman Vice President of Digital Marketing Derik Beck. “Service is also a core value we emphasize to our franchisees, in service to the customer and to the community at large. It’s a principle on which this company was built and has grown. We’ve seen that veterans have a true commitment to service instilled in them, and it is what helps them succeed as small business owners in their communities.”

Typical of that commitment to service is what one Cottman franchise, Fred Bowen who has four highly successful shops in North Carolina, says has been a major factor in his success. Bowen, 57, credits his success 100 percent to his sixteen years as an officer in the Marine Corps, where he served throughout the U.S., in South and Central America, Asia, and the Pacific.

“Running a successful auto care business requires good team-building and leadership skills,” Bowen said. “That’s exactly the training and hands-on experience I received in the Marines. It was all about teamwork and leadership, and that, coupled with a focus on outstanding customer service, is what has made my stores successful.”

Cottman’s veteran-owned locations include shops in Denver, CO; Wheat Ridge, CO; Maple Shade, NJ; Woodbury Heights, NJ; Cornelius, NC; Durham, NC; Greensboro, NC; Winston-Salem, NC; Cincinnati, OH; Lansdale, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Mauldin, SC; Austin, TX; Cedar Park, TX; Round Rock, TX, Richmond, VA and The Woodlands, TX.

Transmission and Auto Repair Company

With locations across the U.S., Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care is a transmission and auto repair company for almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic. Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care specialize in complete transmission service, brakes, suspension, air conditioning service and much more. Cottman is based in Horsham, Pa. For more information, please visit www.cottman.com.

Cottman Supports National Teens Driver Safety Week

October 17, 2014

Getting a driver’s license has become a rite of passage for teens, but it also begins what could be a dangerous journey.

Crashes are more common among young drivers than any other age group. Nationwide, one in four crash fatalities involve someone 16 to 24 years old, which is nearly twice as high as other age groups. Traffic crashes continue to be the biggest cause of teen deaths, with more than 3,000 teens killed every year on our roads and highways.

Teen Driver Safety Week

Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, a nationwide chain of total auto repair centers, recognizes National Teens Driver Safety Week, which begins Oct. 19, as an ideal time for parents to discuss safe driving with their teens.

“We know, from what we do every day, that cars can usually be fixed. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always hold true for a teen who’s been in a crash,” said Cottman President Randy Wright. “Too many of our children are killed or become permanently disabled due to crashes. In many cases, these are preventable tragedies.”

Cottman encourages parents to talk with their teens about some of the biggest causes of teen crashes – speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and drowsiness.

Dangers Of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has become a major factor in teen crashes during the past decade. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 10 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.

Distractions while driving can include eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, using a navigation system, watching a video and adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player. But cell phone use and texting are, by far, the most dangerous since they take the driver’s eyes and attention off the road. The typical text takes five seconds to read or send. At highway speeds, that is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field while blindfolded, traffic safety experts say.

There are many free resources that parents can use to help discuss safe driving with their children. NHTSA has a wealth of information at www.nhtsa.gov. Videos on a variety of teen safe driving topics are available for free download from The National Road Safety Foundation at www.nrsf.org.

“Any time is a good time for a parent to talk with his or her teen driver about safe behavior behind the wheel,” said Cottman’s Randy Wright.

About Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care:

With locations across the U.S., Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care is a transmission and auto repair company for almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic. Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care continues to take claim of the growing $250 billion aftermarket auto industry and specializes in complete transmission service, brakes, suspension, air conditioning service and much more. Cottman is based in Horsham, Pa. For more information, please visit www.cottman.com.

The Cottman Man Offers Back To School Safety Tips

School bells are ringing throughout the country, as an estimated 55 million children begin another school year. About 13 percent, or 7-1/2 million children, will walk or ride bicycles to and from school every day.

Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, a nationwide chain of total auto care centers, cautions motorists to be extra careful, especially during afternoon hours. Statistics from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that nearly half — 42 percent — of fatalities among pedestrians ages 15 and under occur between 4 and 8 p.m. The number of pedestrian deaths from traffic crashes has increased over the past six years, the government agency says.

“It’s up to all of us, drivers and parents, to help keep our children safe as they travel to and from school,” said Cottman President Randy Wright. “We know, from what we do every day, that cars can usually be fixed. But it can be a very different story — a tragic one — for a child who gets hit by a car.”

School Zone Driving Safety

Cottman offers some simple tips for drivers and for parents to help keep school children safe and avoid tragedy when going back to school:

  1. Follow the speed limit and slow down in and around school zones.  If driving during school travel times, allow extra time to avoid rushing.
  2. Use extra caution near school buses, and always stop when a school bus has its lights flashing or its stop sign raised.  Never pass a stopped school bus if its lights are flashing.  Even once the lights stop flashing and the bus begins to move, be extra careful to watch for children crossing.
  3. Come to a complete stop at stop signs and watch for children on sidewalks or near crosswalks.  If in doubt about a child’s intent to cross the street, wait, make eye or verbal contact and, if safe, let him or her cross.
  4. Eliminate distractions when you drive, especially as you drive near schools and through residential neighborhoods.  We all now realize the danger of calling or texting while driving, but other activities like eating, tuning the radio or looking at the GPS system can also take your eyes and your mind off the road, with potentially disastrous results.

Pedestrian Safety

Safety experts encourage parents to remind their children of pedestrian safety tips, including:

  1. Use crosswalks or traffic signals to cross, and always look both ways before entering the street.
  2. Don’t cross from between parked cars, shrubs or other things that might block you from a driver’s view.
  3. If in an area with no sidewalks, walk along the curb facing traffic, which makes you more visible to oncoming drivers.  Always keep an eye on oncoming traffic and don’t use a cell phone or handheld game while walking.
  4. If riding in the street, ride in the same direction as traffic.  Wear a properly-fitted safety helmet.
  5. Wear light colors that can be easily seen by motorists.  If walking at night or in bad weather, wear reflective material or use a flashlight or blinker so you can be more easily seen by drivers.

About Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care:

With locations across the U.S., Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care is a transmission and auto repair company for almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic. Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care continues to take claim of the growing $250 billion aftermarket auto industry and specializes in complete transmission service, brakes, suspension, air conditioning service and much more. Cottman is based in Horsham, Pa. For more information, please visit www.cottman.com.

Auto Service Chain Puts New Focus On It’s Local People

A new campaign, beginning in July, will put the iconic Cottman Man front and center as the chain unveils — The Cottman Man – Still the Man.

For more than five decades, motorists throughout the U.S. and Canada have been encouraged to trust “The Cottman Man” for a full range of automotive care. He was the face of Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, an auto repair and transmission company with auto service franchise centers across the country.

The Cottman Man Unveiled

A new campaign, beginning in July, will put the iconic Cottman Man front and center as the chain unveils — The Cottman Man – Still the Man.

This theme, along with a restyled visual of The Cottman Man, will be the focus of the company’s marketing efforts. “Since 1962, when we opened our first service center in Philadelphia, The Cottman Man has come to symbolize the personalized service and reliability that has become the hallmark of our brand,” said Randy Wright, Cottman’s President. “That high level of service and integrity remains central to what we offer, and the new tagline is designed to reinforce that commitment to our customers.”

According to Derik Beck, Vice President of Digital Marketing for Cottman, “So many service companies have become monoliths, with no local connection. Cottman has always prided themselves on the reputation and trust our franchisees have worked hard to earn, and the new campaign puts the focus back on our local people who represent the Cottman Man in their community. The individual center owner is truly the Cottman Man and is still the man,” said Beck.

Cottman’s Senior Director of Advertising, Sue Burg, who has been with the company for more than 30 years, noted that ideals of The Cottman Man never left the brand, and now the icon will put more of a visual emphasis on this important aspect in marketing and advertising moving forward. “The new tagline and the updated Cottman Man visual will be the focus of ads online and in print, which will include newspaper inserts and coupon drops. Local franchisees will incorporate the tagline in their own local ad buys online, in newspapers and on the radio. A new seal of approval is also being unveiled, showing service and parts are “Cottman Man-Approved,” Burg stated.

About Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care:

With locations across the U.S. and Canada, Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care is an auto repair and transmission company for almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic. Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care continues to take claim of the growing $200 billion aftermarket auto industry and specializes in complete transmission service, brakes, suspension, air conditioning service and much more. Cottman is based in Horsham, Pa. For more information, please visit www.cottman.com.

Summer Car Care Tips – Keep Your Car Running Smoothly And Safely

During the summer season, most of us spend more time in our cars, vacationing or taking weekend or day trips. Travel experts expect summer driving to increase even more this year, despite climbing gas prices, as a response to the unusually harsh winter that gripped much of the nation.

Summer Driving Advice

Paul Dintino, an ASE Master Technician and director of national accounts at Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, a chain of full-service car care centers with locations nationwide, says a following a few simple summer car care steps at the start of the summer can keep your car running smoothly, safely and efficiently.

1. Check the tire pressure.

Dintino recommends checking the air pressure in all the tires. The ideal air pressure varies by make and model, so it’s important to refer to the owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer says is the best tire pressure. Dintino cautions not to exceed the recommended pressure, especially in the summer when air temperatures and road surfaces are hotter since air expands with heat.

Maintaining the proper tire pressure not only helps provide a safe and smooth ride, but it also improves fuel efficiency. Tires with a lower than recommended air pressure have more tire surface coming in contact with the road, which adds to friction that works against the engine.

2. Be sure the air filter is clean.

It’s important to check the air filter to be sure it’s clean. Dintino says a dirty filter prevents the proper amount of air to get into the system, and an improper mixture of fuel and air retards the efficiency of combustion in the engine. “A dirty air filter means you get less gas mileage,” he notes. “With today’s high gasoline prices, anything that lowers your car’s miles-per-gallon performance can cost you a bundle at the pump.”

3. Check wheel alignment.

Wheels should be checked regularly for proper alignment; at least once a year. “It’s especially important to check wheel alignment after the rough winter many of us had,” says Dintino, “since travel over rough icy roads and potholes can knock the alignment off.”

Improper wheel alignment can be costly, since it causes tires to wear unevenly and more quickly, and it also creates more drag which lowers gas mileage.

4. Check the coolant.

Coolant helps prevent the water in the radiator from boiling and evaporating, which can leave you stranded and cause major engine damage. It’s especially important in the warm weather of summer when air temperatures are higher and the car’s air conditioning is often in use.

Many of the new cars have “closed systems” that cannot be opened without proper equipment, so it’s best to have a service center check the coolant level for the recommended amount of coolant. If you have an older model that enables you to open the radiator, only do so when the car is cold. Never open the radiator cap after the car’s been running or serious injury could occur.

5. Check your brakes.

Don’t wait until you hear your brakes squeak, Dintino says. Brakes should be checked once a year, and the start of the summer driving season is a good time to have it done.

“A few simple steps can help keep your car running smoothly and safely,” says Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care’s Dintino.

About Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care:

With locations across the U.S. and in Canada, Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care is an auto repair and transmission company for almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic. Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care continues to take claim of the growing $200 billion aftermarket auto industry and specializes in complete transmission service, brakes, suspension, air conditioning service and much more. Cottman is based in Horsham, Pa. For more information, please visit www.cottman.com.