Car Care Tips
- How do I save on gas?
- Do I have to go to the dealership for repairs or scheduled maintenance?
- Is my vehicle safe to drive?
- Winter weather automotive tips
- How do I prepare for a long trip?
- How often should I change my oil?
- Save money on repairs
- Summer weather automotive tips
How do I save on gas?
Use regular gasoline
Unless your vehicle requires premium gasoline, filling up your vehicle with high-octane gas is a waste of money. The premium gas doesn't boost your gas mileage or performance. If you're not sure what grade works best for your vehicle, your owner's manual will tell you. You can also ask your mechanic what grade to use. Using regular gasoline over high-octane gasoline could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Don't top off
Don't top off when filling your vehicle'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 vehicle.
Go for the shade
The hot summer sun that makes the inside of your vehicle feel like a sauna also zaps fuel from your gas tank. So park your vehicle 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 vehicle.
Use your garage for your vehicle
Got a garage? Clear it out and make room for your vehicle. Parking in your garage will help your vehicle 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 vehicle's gas mileage. Your vehicle'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 vehicle 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 vehicle's been idle overnight.
Keep your engine in tune
Fixing a vehicle 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 vehicle regular tune-ups. You'll also want to watch out for worn spark plugs. A misfiring spark plug can reduce a vehicle'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 vehicle 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 vehicle'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 vehicle'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 repair shop will be able to show you the recommended maintenance for your vehicle. Follow the vehicle 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.