Putting Together A "Back to School" List? Don't Forget To Include the Mechanic In Your Glove Box

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CarMD helps students monitor their vehicle's health and well-being.

With gas prices around $4.00 a gallon right now, that's a major concern for cost-conscious students and their parents.

Within the next few weeks, students all over the country will be heading off to colleges and universities. In preparation, they and their parents will be putting together detailed "back to school" lists of items considered essential for on-campus living, such as laptops, printers, cell phones and MP3 players.

Most of these items are "no brainers" and wouldn't tend to be forgotten. But, what often does get overlooked is the commute to school and the student's safety while on the road. One way to help ensure that a vehicle is in tip-top condition is to put a "mechanic in the student's glove box" - CarMD®. This unique electronic device combines an easy-to-use handheld tool with an unprecedented online database to provide solutions for a variety of automotive repairs.

One simply plugs the tester into the vehicle's OBD2 port (usually found under the dashboard) and its color-coded LEDs provide a quick indication of the vehicle's health. The tester can then be plugged into a personal computer to download easy-to-read, user-friendly reports via the CarMD website. The product, which works on all 1996 and newer cars, light trucks, SUVs and minivans manufactured for use in the U.S. -- foreign and domestic, helps identify the most likely problem and what measures should be taken to repair it.

Employing the same technology as much more expensive tools used by mechanics, CarMD can give parents peace of mind when their teen is on the road. The device can be used to see if a vehicle is road-trip ready, determine if it will pass an emissions "smog" check, examine a used car before buying it, determine why a "Check Engine" light is on, and perform a variety of other applications.

More and more motorists are driving with their "Check Engine" light on today, oblivious to potential problems indicated by such warning lights, and younger adults and college age students are no exception. A recent survey sponsored by CarMD.com Corp. and conducted by Harris Interactive® reported that 10% of U.S. drivers who drive a car, light truck, SUV or minivan model year 1981 to
present are currently driving with their "Check Engine" light on. In addition, the survey noted that half of those same drivers have had their "Check Engine" light on for more than three months.

The survey also found that younger adults (aged 18-34) are more likely to indicate that they are driving with the light on (15% do, as compared to 11% of those aged 35-44, 9% of those aged 45-54 and 7% aged 55 years or older).

Respondents cited cost, lack of time and denial as the main reasons for continuing to drive with their "Check Engine" lights illuminated. Over one-third said that they hadn't had their engine checked because their car appeared to be running fine, and over one-tenth said they didn't believe there was a serious problem.

"Such responses are alarming, especially considering that those drivers' health and well-being could be at stake," noted Kristin Brocoff, marketing manager for CarMD.com Corp. "If a vehicle's engine has serious problems, it could break down and strand the driver along the road. That's something that no parent ever wants to see happen to their son or daughter."

Many students, Brocoff noted, simply aren't as aware as they should be that their vehicle might need immediate attention. "That's why a device like CarMD can be so handy. It can help the student check for hidden problems before starting a road trip, as well as answer 'Check Engine' light questions. That gives parents peace of mind.

"Even if the problem turns out to be something as simple as a loose gas cap, people don't seem to realize that gas mileage is affected," added Brocoff. "With gas prices around $4.00 a gallon right now, that's a major concern for cost-conscious students and their parents."

While some students may choose to ignore their "Check Engine" light or rely on mom and dad for their car maintenance, others like the empowerment that a device like CarMD gives them. Rachel, for example, a 16-year-old Florida resident who plans on attending college in the next few months, asked her mother for a CarMD to check out a new hybrid car that her mother was planning to buy her.

"I initially used the device to make sure that the car was in excellent running condition," said Rachel, "and then I used it again just after we purchased the car to ensure it was ready for a lengthy road trip. I now keep the tool in my glove box where I can use it whenever the need arises," she added.

Priced at $98.99, CarMD is a must for every student's back to school list. It comes with a handheld tester, storage pouch, a Quick Reference User's Guide, demo video, USB cable with CD software to link the tester to a Windows-based PC and access to an online database via http://www.CarMD.com. Parents, students and their friends can purchase it via toll-free phone: 888.MyCarMD (888.692.2763) or via online at http://www.CarMD.com.

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Kristin Brocoff
CarMD
(949) 400-4899
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Bill Krenn
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