Car Care Tips

Extend the life of your vehicle

Preventative Maintenance

Always consult your owner’s manual, but a good rule of thumb is to have the oil filter changed regularly – every 3,000 to 4,000 miles.

Have all fluids checked, including brake, power steering, transmission/transaxle, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze. These fluids play a large role in the safety and performance of the vehicle.

Check tire inflation. Under-inflated tires can result in a loss of fuel efficiency. This is the least expensive form of preventive and safety maintenance. Tires should be checked once a month.

Keep your engine tuned. A fouled spark plug or plugged/restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.

Have the chassis lubricated frequently. This step extends the life of the moving components of the vehicle’s suspension system.

Check battery cables and posts for corrosion and clean them as needed. The battery fluid also should be checked and filled if it is low, unless it is a maintenance-free battery.

Have the lighting system checked frequently, including headlights, turn signals, and brake and taillights.

Check windshield washer blades for cracks, tears and windshield contact. Replace them at least once a year, or sooner if streaking begins.

Inspect engine belts regularly. Worn belts will affect the engine performance. Look for cracks and missing sections or segments.

Have the air filtration system checked frequently. The air filter should be checked every other oil change for clogging or damage. This system ensures that the vehicle is performing at its peak condition.

Fuel-Saving

Vehicle gas caps- Around 17% of vehicles on the roads have damaged, loose or are missing gas caps, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.

Under inflated tires- When tires aren’t inflated properly it’s like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon!

Worn spark plugs- A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced as recommended by the manufacturer.

Dirty air filters- An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture- too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%, saving about 20 cents a gallon.

Don’t be an aggressive driver- Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33% on the highway and 5 % on city streets, which results in 10-66 cents per gallon.

Avoid excessive idling- Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.

Observe the speed limit- Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mpg driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control is recommended.

Wipers- Although climates vary, wipers generally need replacing every six months. An easy reminder is to change wiper blades in the spring and fall when you change your clock. Be sure the windshield washers are working properly, too, and keep the reservoir filled with solvent.