Car Care Tips & FAQs
How To Improve Your Car's Gas Mileage
Here are some of the things you can do to ensure improved gas mileage for your car:
- Keep your car clean. Mud on the undercarriage can weigh a significant amount and slow you down.
- Consolidate your daily trips and errands. This will also save you the cost of restarting your engine, which uses a lot of gas.
- Avoid air conditioning when possible. However, when driving at higher speeds, having your windows open also creates drag.
- Don't throttle the gas or brake pedal! Sudden starts or stops use more gas than gradual changes in speed.
- Don't idle for too long. Turn off the engine if you anticipate a lengthy wait.
- Limit car warm-ups in winter.
- Clear out the trunk. More weight equals more drag.
- Avoid high speeds. We know this is almost impossible to resist but you can improve your gas mileage by up to 15 percent driving at 55 mph rather than 65 mph.
- Use overdrive. If your car is equipped with overdrive gearing use it as soon as your speed is high enough.
- Use cruise control. Maintaining a constant speed is ideal for improving your gas mileage.
Servicing Your Vehicle
- Replace the spark plugs in your engine regularly. This way, the air and fuel mixture will burn cleaner and more efficiently.
- Improve the intake/output system. By allowing gas to get in and exhaust to get out of your vehicle you will improve the vehicle's overall performance and gas mileage.
- Reduce friction. Use high-quality or synthetic motor oil.
- Check your oil! Low oil makes your engine work harder.
- Change your filters. Dirty filters can sometimes increase the amount of fuel your vehicle uses by as much as 10 percent.
- Keep tires properly inflated and aligned. Check regularly to ensure your tires are fully inflated and your alignment is good.
- Get regular engine tune-ups and car maintenance checks. A lot can go wrong with a car. Damaged spark plugs or transmission problems can also contribute to poor gas mileage.
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 soon" 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 3000 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.
How do I make sure my car battery has a good electrical connection?
Battery cables and terminals should be cleaned and inspected periodically to make sure they provide a good electrical connection.
Should I consider using synthetic motor oil in my vehicle?
Synthetic motor oils can be a good choice for high output, turbocharged or supercharged engines. Or for vehicles that are used for towing (especially during hot weather), and vehicles that operate in extremely cold or hot climates. Although more expensive than mineral-based oils, synthetic motor oils can improve fuel economy and provide longer intervals between changes.
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.
When should I change my spark plugs?
For maximum fuel economy and peak engine performance, your spark plugs should be replaced every 30 months or 30,000 miles, unless your vehicle is equipped with 100,000-mile platinum tipped spark plugs.
I need to replace a burned out fuse, what should I do?
Always replace burned-out fuses with ones of the same amperage (printed on the fuse) and note that if a fuse continues to "blow," you should have the circuit checked professionally by one of our technicians for defects.