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Vehicle Tips

Action Auto Clinic vehicle tips to improve the drivability of your vehicle:

  1. According to recent studies, 5 percent of all motor \vehicle fatalities are clearly caused by automobile maintenance neglect.
  2. Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual, or more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.  Checking and changing your oil and oil filter will help your engine and vehicle run smoothly.  
  3. Use the manufacturer’s recommended oil for your vehicle; this can improve gas mileage by as much as 1-2 percent.
  4. Moving components require regular lubrication and should be checked as often as the oil is changed.  Driveline components, like CV and u-joints, are flexible components that, if not properly lubricated, can break down and cause other major components to go with them.
  5. Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended, or more often in dusty conditions.  Get engine drivability problems (hard stops, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
  6. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months.  The level, condition, and concentration of coolant should be checked.  (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.)
  7. Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled.  The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  8. A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard.  Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
  9. Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles.  Check tire pressures once a month; let the tires cool down first.  Don’t forget your spare tire and be sure your jack is in good condition.
  10. Keep your tires inflated to the proper levels.  Under-inflated tires make it harder for your car to move down the road, which means your engine uses more fuel to maintain speed.
  11. Inspect the suspension system regularly.  This will extend the life of the vehicle’s tires.
  12. Check your owner’s manual to find out what fuel octane rating your car’s engine needs then buy it.
  13. Lighten the load.  Heavier vehicles use more fuel, so clean out unnecessary weight in the passenger compartment before you hit the road.
  14. Keep your windows closed.  Wide-open windows, especially at highway speeds, increase aerodynamic drag; the result is up to a 10% decrease in fuel economy.
  15. Use the A/C sparingly.  The air conditioner puts extra load on the engine forcing more fuel to be used.
  16. Avoid long idling.  If you anticipate being stopped for more than one minute, shut off the car.  Contrary to popular belief, restarting the car uses less fuel than letting it idle.
  17. Keep your engine tuned.  A fouled spark plug or plugged/restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.
  18. Use cruise control.  Using cruise control on highway trips can help you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, reduce your fuel consumption.
  19. Stay within posted speed limits.  The faster you drive, the more fuel you use.  For example, driving 65 miles per hour (mph) rather than 55 mph, increases fuel consumption by 20 percent.
  20. Have the fuel filter changed every 10,000 miles to prevent rust, dirt and other impurities from entering the fuel system.
  21. Change the transmission fluid and filter every 15,000 to 18,000 miles.  This will protect the precision-crafted components of the transmission/transaxle.  Unusual noises, sluggish shifting, or abrupt gear changes are all signs that your transmission service interval is quickly approaching or has passed.
  22. Use the manufacturer’s recommended transmission fluid type and viscosity.
  23. Inspect the engine’s belts regularly.  Look for cracks or missing sections or segments.  Worn belts will affect the engine performance.
  24. Battery connections should be kept tight, clean, and free of corrosion.  Batteries rarely provide warnings before failing, so be sure to seek battery replacements as necessary.
  25. Avoid stop-and-go driving.  This wastes fuel and adds unnecessary wear and premature age to crucial components.
  26. Stay on top of routine vehicle maintenance; proper vehicle maintenance can save you money in the long run.  Neglecting suggested services at regular intervals will void vehicle and parts warranties.

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