10 Minute Pre-Trip Checkup Can Pay Off
A properly maintained vehicle is safer and more dependable and will even
save a few dollars at the gas pumps. Motorists should plan ahead to allow
time to perform necessary maintenance themselves or at the local service
Car Care Council offers three suggestions for a traveler's 10-minute pre-
Follow these tips to maximize fuel efficiency of your vehicle:
- Check all fluids - There are
several fluids that require attention: Engine Oil, power steering, brake and
transmission fluids, and windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
- Check all hoses and belts - A belt failure can affect the
electrical system, air conditioning, power steering, and the cooling system.
Cooling system hoses may be deteriorating from within, so old hoses and
clamps in marginal condition might need to be replaced.
the tires - Check tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear,
indicating the need for wheel alignment. Also look for bulges and bald
- Vehicle gas caps - about 17%
of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or
missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every
- Under inflated tires - when tires aren't inflated properly
it's like driving with a parking brake on. It can cost a mile or two per
- Worn spark plugs - A vehicle can have either four, six
or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000
miles, resulting in electrical and chemical erosion from heat.
- Dirty air filters - A clogged air filter creates a "rich" mixture -
the proportion of gas to air is incorrect. This wastes fuel and causes the
engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage
by as much as 10%.
- Don't drive aggresively - Aggressive driving
can lower gas mileage by as much as 33% on the highway and 5% on city
- Avoid excessive idling - sitting idle gets zero miles
per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is
- Drive the speed limit - Gas mileage decreases
rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mile driven over 60 results in an
additional 10 cents per gallon. Increase fuel efficiency by using cruise
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