Tips for Proper Vehicle Care that Save Money

10 Car Care Tips That Can Save Gas

Simple Tips for Improving Gas Mileage Can Add Up to Roughly 10 Percent Savings per Tank

1. Go the speed limit. Use cruise control.
Speed limits are calculated for maximum safety - they'll also reward you with maximum gas mileage. You can get up to 20% more mileage traveling 55 mph than 70 mph. Using cruise control provides additional gas savings.

2. Drive evenly. Avoid hard stops.
Quick starts burn gas while hard stops also cost you. Take your foot off the accelerator & coast a bit before stopping for a traffic light or a stop sign.

3. Avoid idling and rush hour traffic.
You're burning fuel while idling - up to a gallon every hour. So avoid rush hour when possible.

4. Open windows at slow speeds. Use A/C on highways.
Around town, turn your air conditioning off and roll down the windows. On the highway, open windows create drag at speeds of 40 mph or more, so roll them up and use the air.

5. Remove junk from the trunk.
Added weight in your vehicle affects fuel economy, so take unnecessary items out of your trunk.

6. Fill up when it's cool and before holidays.
Cooler temperatures in the early morning or late evening create less vapor. Also, getting a fill-up three days before a holiday will help you save on the per-gallon price at the pump.

7. Don't top off gas and tighten the cap.
When buying gas, stop when the pump shuts off automatically. And remember, your tank needs both fuel and fumes, so tighten the gas cap after every fill-up.

8. Use the correct fuel grade, any brand.
Most vehicles don't benefit from higher-octane, higher-priced gasoline, so use the lowest grade recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. The federal government also has standards for gasoline to be sold. That means one brand of gas isn't better than another.

9. Don't accelerate up hill.
Build up speed before an incline & then maintain it on the way up. Coast on the way down for additional fuel economy.

10. Avoid rooftop carriers.
Approximately one quarter of each gallon of gas is needed to overcome wind resistance, so avoid carrying things on your roof. If necessary, use an aerodynamic carrier to help minimize drag.

Test Your Mythical Car Care Knowledge


Car Care Quiz

With the sheer number of automobiles in the world, it's only natural that a number of myths, untruths, and misconceptions surround modern motoring. Some of theses myths are harmless, while others can actually be dangerous! A blowout caused by an under-inflated tire can cause an accident. Other mistruths can result in neglect and end up as expensive repairs.


Either way, knowledge is power - and it can pay off to test your car care knowledge by following along with this true or false quiz. The answers are already in there, so there's no need to cheat.

You can tell if a tire needs or has too much air just by looking at it.

FALSE: A tire can be as much as 10 pounds per square inch low on air pressure and not show any outward signs. Tires will lose about one pound of pressure per month all by themselves. Not only will the correct tire pressure help tires last longer, it can also save money in fuel costs. Under-inflated tires create more rolling resistance, which will use more fuel. Checking tire pressure is easy and takes only a few minutes.

Changing the oil and filter can help an engine last longer.

TRUE: While changing the oil too frequently is not required, the difference between an engine that lasts for the life of a vehicle and the one that wears out too early is based on following the vehicle manufacturer's oil and filter maintenance schedule. Trust that the people who built your car know the most about what its engine needs.

If an air filter looks clean it's still okay.

FALSE: An air filter traps dirt and junk so small that it cannot be seen. Even if an air filter looks OK, it can be clogged with crud. Once the small passages in the air filter designed to catch dirt get clogged, the engine can have trouble breathing. Replacing an air filter is easy and inexpensive. The owner's manual will contain a maintenance schedule. Tip" air filters can get clogged quicker than normal in cities and dusty areas.

A good coat of wax can help keep paint looking good.

TRUE: A coat of quality wax not only keeps in the good stuff that keeps paint looking new, but it also repels the bad stuff. That thin layer of wax repels all manner of things that want to harm paint. Which wax to use is not as an important choice as actually using wax, any wax. Wax application is clearly a case of something is better than nothing.

Brake fluid lasts forever.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it has great ability to absorb water from the air. Over time this moisture can cause damage to the brake system, and dangerously lower the brake fluid boiling point. Brake fluid should be clear and transparent. Cloudy brake fluid means its time for a change.

If engine coolant is bright green, its still okay.

FALSE: Over time the chemicals in engine coolant can become corrosive. Coolant that looks OK can in fact be causing unseen and expensive cooling system damage. Checking the engine coolant condition with an inexpensive tool is easy, and can prevent both overheated engines and empty wallets.

When working on a car or truck it's always a good idea to tighten nuts and bolts as tight as possible.

FALSE: Almost every fastener that can be tightened on a modern motor vehicle is designed only to be tightened to a specific torque. Measuring this twist is what a torque wrench is for, making one an indispensable tool in the do-it-yourselfers toolbox.

It takes more fuel to stop and start an engine then it does to leave it running.

FALSE: This may have in certain cases been true in the olden days of carbureted engines, but modern fuel injection systems have put a permanent end to this myth. While turning the car on and off all the time may not be the best idea for the starter, letting it idle away any longer than three minutes is simply a waste of fuel.

The tire pressure on the sidewall of the tire is what the tire should be inflated to.

FALSE: Tire pressure runs with the vehicle itself, not the tires it rolls on. Always inflate tires to pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. There pressures can be found on the inside pillar of the door, or sometimes on the inside of the glovebox door. Note that the pressures are different for a fully loaded automobile. Tip: check the pressure in the spare tire now and again.

Putting premium gas in the tank will return a premium in performance.

FALSE: Unless the engine under the hood was designed and built to take advantage of the extra octane in premium fuel, there is no point in paying the extra money per gallon. The numbers of high performance cars and trucks that actually require premium fuel is very small. Keep it regular unless the owner's manual calls for premium fuel.


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