Tips To Take Care Of Cars During Tight Times The lack of available credit and desire to spend in today’s economy has caused individuals to hold on to their cars longer. Surveys showed consumers kept their vehicles four months longer in 2008 compared with 2007, up from 67 months to 71 months. The following tips can keep your car in shape for every budget during tough economic times. $0 Budget: • Read the owner’s manual. Educate yourself about your car and follow the maintenance recommendations. • Park the vehicle in the same spot every day. Look for signs of fluid leaks under the car. Check the fluid levels under the hood regularly, but especially if you see signs of leaks. Identifying minor problems early can eliminate bigger problems down the road. • Be a kinder, gentler driver. A significant amount of wear and tear is generated by abrupt starts and stops, especially if the car is used primarily for city driving. Take it easy on the brakes and transmission and your car will return the favor. • Inflate the tires. By simply keeping tires inflated according to manufacturer’s guidelines, the car will operate more efficiently and improve gas mileage. Less than $100: • To get better gas mileage and extend the life of the engine, change the oil and filter every 3,000 to 4,000 miles. By doing this, today’s engines should have no problem reaching 200,000 miles. • Air filters stop contaminants from getting into the engine which could cause damage. A clean filter promotes proper, unrestricted air flow and improves gas mileage. • Practice a little psychology. In keeping the vehicle clean, you will be less likely to think of it as old or neglect basic maintenance items. Consider adding an accessory that you have been wanting on a new car, such as a GPS or satellite radio. Between $100 - $500: • Keep the engine tuned. A fouled sparkplug or restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent. • Follow maintenance recommendations for belt replacement. This is often expensive, but more so if maintenance is neglected, which can cause catastrophic damage to the engine. • Take care of needed repairs promptly. If something wears out or stops working, get it fixed. Neglecting a brake wear warning indicator is not only jeopardizing safety, but can also lead to a domino effect of additional failures. Also, beware of making only partial or temporary repairs. Doing so only addresses the immediate need, but can lead to more serious damage over time.
Don’t Fall Asleep On The Road Fatigue on the road can be a killer, especially when you’ve been driving on the open highway at night. Many refer to it as “highway hypnosis,” when the road seems to never end and it starts to lure you into a far-off gaze. The problem is, you’re behind the wheel and lives are at stake. Something needs to be done. You have to turn off at the next exit, shut the car down and try to take a nap or head for the nearest hotel. The following are a few tips on what to do if you find yourself nodding off. 1.) Get enough rest. Never start a trip late in the day. Long-distance driving is tough and you need to be ready and awake. 2.) If possible, don’t drive alone. Passengers can take turns driving, talking to each other and keeping each other alert if need be. 3.) Avoid long drives at night. 4.) Adjust your car’s environment so that it helps keep you awake and alert. Keep the temperature cool, with open windows or air conditioning in the summer and frugal amounts of heat in the winter. 5.) Watch your posture. Drive with your head up and your shoulders back. Tuck your buttocks against the seat back. Legs should not be fully extended, but flexed at about a 45-degree angle. 6.) Take frequent breaks. Stretch; it’s a good thing.
Tips To Keep In Mind Bad driving habits have an impact on your car and the environment. 1.) Avoid high speeds. Fuel efficiency decreases significantly at speeds over 65 miles per hour. 2.) Drive smoothly. Smooth driving saves gas and lowers vehicle emissions. Avoid jack rabbit starts, hard cornering, and quick stops if at all possible, these actions cause undo wear on critical vehicle components which can be costly to repair. 3.) Don't rev the engine. It serves no functional purpose, and wastes gas. It also increases engine wear and can cause severe engine damage. Revving can also overheat the vehicle's catalytic converter, which makes it less effective and can damage it. 4.) Keep vehicle properly maintained. Under-inflated tires decrease gas mileage and shorten tire life. A plugged up fuel filter can ruin your fuel pump. Keep gas tank more than ¼ full to prevent fuel pump from overheating. Rotate your tires every other oil change. Scheduled oil changes are the single most important thing you can do to extend the life of your vehicle. Let your vehicle completely warm up before you start driving. Have a maintenance inspection done on your vehicle at least once per year. 5.) Pay Attention. Listen to the noises your vehicle makes, an unusual noise could be the beginning of a serious problem and should not be ignored. Fixing a noise now could save you from more costly repairs later. 6.) Warning Lights. Today’s vehicles have several warning lights, ABS, CHECK ENGINE, OIL, etc…to alert us of a malfunction. If a light illuminates on your dash, you should have it checked and repaired by a qualified technician.
Check Tire Inflation Levels Because so many summer travelers simply jump into their vehicles and drive while being blissfully unaware of the only part of their cars that comes in contact with the road – the tires – we would like to urge motorists to take a few minutes to either inspect their tires themselves or visit B&D Auto and Truck Service for a check-up. The increase in the price of gas is even more incentive to check tire condition and air pressure before heading off on any vacation journeys. Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption, costing motorists extra miles per gallon. In addition, you should avoid over-inflated tires, or those with insufficient tread depth or structural damage, as these are substantial safety hazards. The U.S. Department of Energy has reported that every pound per square inch of tire under-inflation wastes 4 million gallons of gas daily in the U.S. At today’s prices and with millions of vehicles on the road, that amounts to a huge expense. An under-inflated tire doesn’t roll as smoothly or as easily as it was intended, so it uses more energy, heats up more due to friction, and breaks down structurally more quickly, robbing the vehicle of fuel efficiency and tire life. When motorists are aware of this, they realize why tire maintenance is so important. Tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation printed on the door placard or in the owner’s manual, not the maximum limit stamped on a tire sidewall. The inflation pressure of tires should be checked at least monthly and before any long trips.
Cooling Down A Hot Car Auto accessory company Axius determined that on a 95 degree Fahrenheit day, trapped hot air inside your car can make the dashboard hot enough to fry bacon and eggs! The steering wheel can reach 159 degrees, and the seat, 162 degrees. To keep your car as cool as possible, try these tips: 1.) Park in the shade whenever possible. 2.) Cover your steering wheel with a towel when you park. 3.) When you get into a hot car, open windows and the sunroof to let out the hot air. Turn on the air conditioning, and select "recirculate" for faster cool-down. 4.) Use sunshades, which Axius says can reduce heat buildup by more than 48 degrees F. 5.) Consider getting your windows tinted. (Check with local law enforcement for rules on how dark the tinting film can be.