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Car Tips


Quick Tips

Don't top off

Don't top off when filling your car's gas tank. Any additional gas is just going to slop around or seep out. Stop pumping at the first indication that your tank is full when the automatic nozzle clicks off.

Tighten up the gas cap

Gas will evaporate from the gas tank if it has an escape. Loose, missing or damaged gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate each year, according to the Car Care Council. So be sure to tighten up that gas cap each time you fuel up your car.

Go for the shade

The hot summer sun that makes the inside of your car feel like a sauna also zaps fuel from your gas tank. So park your car in the shade of a building or tree whenever possible. And buy a good windshield shade. A windshield shade blocks sunlight and helps to keep heat out of the inside of your car.

Use your garage for your car

Got a garage? Clear it out and make room for your car. Parking in your garage will help your car stay warm in winter and cool in summer, and you won't have to depend as much on your gas-guzzling air-conditioning or defroster when you drive.

Pump up your tires

Don't get caught driving on under inflated tires. Under inflated tires wear down more quickly, and they also lower your car's gas mileage. Your car's gas mileage may plummet by as much as 15 percent. Driving on under inflated tires may also reduce the life of your tires by 15 percent or more.

Check your tire pressure once a month

Buy a digital gauge and keep it in your glove box. Compare the pressure in your tires with the recommended pressure listed in your owner's manual and on the placard located in your car door. Then inflate your tires as needed. Be sure to check tire pressure when your tires are cold. A good time is early in the morning after your car's been idle overnight.

Keep your engine in tune

Fixing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test can boost gas mileage by about 4 percent. So be sure to give your car regular tune-ups. You'll also want to watch out for worn spark plugs. A misfiring spark plug can reduce a car's fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent. Ensure your mechanic checks for them.

Replace air filters

When the engine air filter clogs with dirt, dust and bugs, it causes your engine to work harder and your car becomes less fuel efficient. Replacing a clogged air filter could improve your gas mileage by as much as 10 percent and save you 15 cents a gallon. It's a good idea to have your engine air filter checked at each oil change. The Car Care Council recommends changing your car's air and oil filters every three months or 3,000 miles or as specified in your owner's manual.

Use the right oil

You can improve your vehicle gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. Use motor oil with the words "energy conserving" on the API (American Petroleum Institute) performance label. This oil contains additives to lower the friction.

Don't skimp on maintenance

Your car's performance depends on it being properly maintained. The owner's manual of your vehicle will tell you what maintenance is needed and when. If you have any questions, your auto repair shop will be able to show you the recommended maintenance for your car. Follow the car care guidelines outlined in your owner's manual. Not only will they improve efficiency, they will also save you money on costly repairs in the long run.


FAQ

How often should I rotate my tires?

Your tires should be rotated every other oil change, or every 6000 miles. Neglecting to rotate tires is a major cause of premature tire wear.

Is it really necessary to replace my timing belt at the recommended interval?

YES. The failure of a timing belt in many cars can result in major engine damage. The cost of repairing an engine with a broken timing belt is much greater than the cost of a timing belt replacement.

What does it mean if my "check engine" or "service engine" light comes on?

There are many sensors and computerized components that manage your vehicle's engine performance and emissions. When one of these fails, the "check engine" light is illuminated. Although your car may seem to run fine, it is important to have the issue addressed to prevent long-term problems.

What should I do if my car starts to overheat?

This is a very serious problem - if your car overheats for too long, you can damage your engine. As soon as possible, find a safe place to pull off the road and shut the engine off! Do not attempt to check the fluid level in the radiator; the hot fluid can cause severe burns. The best thing to do is have your car towed to the nearest, trusted auto repair facility.

When should I get my oil changed?

You should get your oil changed every 5000 miles or as recommended in your vehicle's owner's manual.

Why is engine oil milky brown?

Milky brown engine oil is an indication of coolant in the oil. This can be caused by a blown head gasket (or other gasket), a failed transmission cooler, or cracked casings. This condition is very serious and needs to be checked by a professional technician immediately.

When should I replace my car's fuel filter?

To help ensure dependable, trouble-free performance, replace your car's fuel filter approximately every 30,000 miles or as recommended in your vehicle's owner's manual.