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Six Ways You Could be Killing Your Car
Owning a car can be a dream or a nightmare depending on how well you take care of your vehicle, says the non-profit Car Care Council. The following are six things that many motorists do that can harm their car and their wallet.
1 Ignoring the check engine light. Ignoring an illuminated check engine light can result in serious engine trouble and costly repairs. At the very least, this warning light could alert you to an engine problem that is negatively impacting fuel economy.
2 Failing to change fluids and filters. Many fluids are required for the operation and protection of vehicle systems and components. Checking fluid levels regularly, along with the filters, helps ensure that your vehicle runs dependably and extends vehicle life.
3 Neglecting your tires. Your vehicle’s tires should be checked frequently for inflation and tread depth. Under-inflated tires can wear out more quickly, needing to be replaced sooner, and can negatively impact safety, gas mileage and performance.
4 Not following a service schedule. Because many car parts and components wear out or become damaged over time, vehicles need to be routinely serviced in order to perform optimally. Routine inspections and timely repairs help keep your car running efficiently and will help you avoid more expensive repairs down the road.
5 Keeping a dirty car. Allowing your car to go too long without a wash leads to buildup of damaging chemicals and dirt, increasing the potential for rust from road salt and interferes with proper visibility needed for safe driving.
6 Being a severe driver. Whether it’s stop-and-go traffic, extreme weather, rough roads or heavy loads, it can sometimes be difficult to limit severe driving conditions. However, you can drive smart and improve fuel economy by observing the speed limit; avoiding aggressive driving, including quick starts and stops; not hauling unnecessary items; and keeping your vehicle properly tuned.
“Because auto care isn’t always a top priority for car owners, they might not realize they are doing things that adversely affect the performance, safety and value of their car,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Routine maintenance can go a long way toward saving money, avoiding headaches and protecting your vehicle investment.”
Steps to a "GREENER" Car
It doesn’t matter if the car you’re driving is new or old, big or small. There are preventive maintenance steps every vehicle owner can take to make sure their car is as “green” or environmentally friendly as possible, according to the Car Care Council. By following a few simple preventive maintenance steps, you can help protect the environment by improving gas mileage, which in turn saves money at the pump.
Keep your car properly tuned for optimum performance- A properly maintained vehicle can improve its efficiency by 4%, reduce emissions and save you money. Regular engine performance maintenance will help you burn less gas, pollute less, and prevent car trouble down the line. This includes checking the spark plugs, replacing the fuel and air filters, replacing ignition system and/or emission system parts if needed and ensuring the on board computer control system is working properly.
Regularly check and replace dirty air filters- An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture that causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter will improve your car’s performance and acceleration.
Have spark plugs checked and replaced if necessary- A vehicle can have four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as three million times every 1,000 miles. This results in a lot of heat, electrical, and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug also causes misfiring, which wastes fuel.
Be Car Care Aware...
|GENERAL SERVICE SCHEDULE:
Auto technicians say the key to keeping vehicles running well-today and down the road-is routine maintenance. Yet many drivers tend to stall when it comes to keeping up with some everyday auto basics.
• 25% of cars had low or dirty engine oil.
• 13% had low or contaminated brake fluid.
• 18% had dirty air filters.
• 17% had inadequate cooling protection or low coolant levels.
• 16% needed new windshield wiper and 27% had low or contaminated washer fluid.
• 18% needed new belts
• Overall, 89% of vehicles were in need of at least one service or repair.
A regular service schedule can help keep your car running it’s best. For your convenience, the Car Care Council developed a Service Interval Schedule to help you keep track of regular maintenance. Most of the checks and services described here can be done at little or no cost.
|Check Every 3 Months/ 3,000 Miles
Automatic Transmission Fluid …Battery and Cables Belts … Dashboard Indicator Light On Engine Air Filter … Engine Oil … Exhaust Hoses … Lights …Power Steering Fluid Tire Inflation and Condition Windshield Washer Fluid
Check Every 6 Months/6,000 Miles
Automatic Transmission Fluid …Battery and Cables Belts …Chassis Lubrication Dashboard Indicator Light On …Engine Air Filter Engine Oil …Exhaust …Hoses …Lights Power Steering Fluid …Tire Inflation and Condition Windshield Washer Fluid …Wiper Blades
Check Every 9 Months/ 9,000 Miles
Automatic Transmission Fluid …Battery and Cables Belts …Dashboard Indicator Light On Engine Air Filter …Engine Oil …Exhaust …Hoses Lights …Power Steering Fluid Tire Inflation and Condition Windshield Washer Fluid
Check every 12 Months/ 12,000 miles
Automatic Transmission Fluid ,,,Batter and Cables Belts …Brakes …Cabin Air Filter Chassis Lubrication …Dashboard Indicator Light On Coolant (Antifreeze) …Engine Air Filter Engine Oil …Exhaust …Hoses …Lights Power Steering Fluid Steering and Suspension Tire Inflation and Condition Wheel Alignment Windshield Washer Fluid Wiper Blades
Slims Service completes a full vehicle safety inspection with each oil change.
Easy Steps to Better Gas Mileage...
With the average price of gas dipping below two dollars per gallon for the first time since 2009, many motorists have been seeing a real savings at the pump. Putting some of that savings toward basic auto care can lead to more miles per gallon and, in turn, more savings, says the non-profit Car Care Council. The Car Care Council encourages motorists to be car care aware and perform these five simple steps to improve fuel economy and save money.
• Check Tire Pressure: Keep tires properly inflated and improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent.
• Use the Right Motor Oil: Improve gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent by using the grade of motor oil recommended by the manufacturer.
• Replace Clogged Air Filters: Replacing clogged air filters on older vehicles can improve fuel economy and will improve performance and acceleration on all vehicles.
• Check Engine Performance: Keep your engine running efficiently and improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.
Fix It: Addressing a serious maintenance problem, like a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve mileage by as much as 40 percent, according to www.fueleconomy.gov
“Proactive vehicle maintenance is a motorist’s best money saving tip,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Routine auto care not only helps save on fuel costs, but it helps identify small issues so they can be serviced before they become bigger and more costly to repair.”
To help motorists increase fuel economy and take better care of their vehicles, the Car Care Council offers valuable tools on its website, including a free personalized schedule and email reminder service. The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org
Spring Maintenance 6 Point Checklist...
“Many drivers overlook auto care this time of year, even with inclement weather in the past,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Driving in rain, especially in heavy downpours, takes patience and preparation. A vehicle that is properly prepared for the elements can help you avoid an unplanned road emergency when the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worse.”
To ensure that your vehicle is ready for spring driving, the Car Care Council recommends that motorists perform a regular maintenance check of areas that have direct impact all weather driving.
• Battery – Extreme heat is hard on batteries, so it’s wise to check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Because batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail, it is advisable to replace batteries that are more than three years old.
• Antifreeze - Antifreeze (coolant) should be flushed and refilled at least every two years in most vehicles. As a reminder, do not add 100 percent antifreeze as full-strength antifreeze actually has a lower freeze point than when mixed with water.
• Brakes - Have the brake system checked. Brakes are critical to vehicle safety and particularly important when driving on icy or wet roads.
• Tires - Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure, including the spare. Have you consider special tires designed to grip slick roads, Good Year offers an all season tire.
• Oil - Be diligent about changing the oil at recommended intervals and check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
• Lights & Wipers – Make sure all exterior and interior lights are working so you can see and be seen. Check the fluid level in the windshield washer reservoir and replace wiper blades that are torn, cracked or don’t properly clean your windshield.
Be Car Care Aware...
“More and more people are keeping their vehicles longer as the average age of a car on the road today is more than 11 years. Considering the cost of a new car is about $31,000 on average, deciding to keep your car rather than buying a new one makes financial sense, says the non-profit Car Care Council.
Washing and waxing your vehicle on a regular basis protects it from the natural elements that may harm the finish. A good cleaning of the inside and outside of the vehicle prevents the buildup of damaging chemicals and dirt, reduces the potential for rust from road salt and ensures proper visibility needed for safe driving.
Slims Service has one of the best Touch Free car washes in the county. Receive a complementary wash and vacuum with your oil change.
Rely on Your Senses When driving, always be alert and rely on your senses. While you may be familiar with oises that your vehicle makes on a daily basis, any noise that is new, different or suspicious may indicate a problem. Listen for sounds such as squealing, thumping, hissing and grinding – these are all signs that the vehicle may be trying to tell you something.
“Vehicle Warning Smells” When you hear or smell something that doesn’t seem right, do not ignore it. Instead bring your car to Slims Service to get an informed opinion on the nature of the sound or odor.
Stay on Schedule The key to a car running at its best is basic maintenance. Keeping up with fluid changes, tire checks, filter changes and other services will help avoid bigger and more expensive repairs. Over time, some car parts and components wear out or become damaged. Being aware of your car will help you address any issues before they become bigger problems.
In addition to following the maintenance schedule recommended in your owner’s manual, Dave at Slims Service offers a free custom service schedule to help you be proactive in caring for your car.
“Everyone loves a new car but sometimes the money is just not there to purchase one,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “If you treat your car as a valuable investment and commit to regular preventative auto care, not only will you end up saving money, but your car will keep on running for many miles down the road.”
Slims Service completes a full vehicle safety inspection with each oil change.