Preventative Maintenance Tips
Keep Your Engine Properly Tuned
Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4.1 per cent, though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well it is done. If your car has a faulty oxygen sensor, your gas mileage may improve as much as 40 per cent.
Check & Replace Air Filters Regularly
Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car’s gas mileage by as much as 10 per cent. Your car’s air filter keeps impurities from damaging the inside of your engine. Not only will replacing a dirty air filter save gas, it will protect your engine.
Use the Recommended Grade of Motor Oil
You can improve your gas mileage by 1 – 2 per cent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1-2 per cent. Using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by 1-1.5 per cent. Also, look for motor oil that says, “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
Tire Preventative Maintenance Tips
1. Keep tires properly inflated.
Get into the habit of looking at your tires every time you stop for gas. If you spot bulging sidewalls during a visual inspection, this could indicate low tire pressure. You should also check the tire pressure once a month with a pressure gauge. On vehicles equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), the warning light on the dash notifies you when a tire is low. Be sure to refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual or tire sticker on the door jamb for manufacturer-recommended tire pressure settings. Be especially diligent about tire pressure when driving in snow, rain and sleet, since correct pressure is essential to good handling and traction.
2. Rotate and balance tires every other oil change.
AutoMD.com recommends that you rotate and balance your tires every other oil change (7,000 – 10,000 miles). Most tire shops offer this service free-of-charge if the tires were purchased from them. Rotating your tires increases their lifespan because the front tires wear faster than the rear, and keeping the tires balanced reduces vibration.
3. Avoid road hazards.
Driving too fast, not keeping a safe distance, and driving on rough or damaged roads can lead to tire damage from road hazards. Hitting a pothole at forty miles per hour can cause tire and wheel trauma, including sidewall damage which is non-repairable. Be careful after heavy rains or inclement weather when new potholes typically appear. Also, drive on well-maintained roads whenever possible.
4. Routinely check your tires for uneven wear.
A tire wearing on the outside edge can be a sign that the wheels are not aligned. Wheel alignment can be checked by simply looking at the wear pattern on tires or by a trained technician with the use of an alignment rack. Misalignment (camber and toe-in) can reduce the life of your tires, so be sure to routinely inspect for uneven tread wear. If the tires are wearing unevenly, have the wheels aligned by a trained technician.
5. Clean and cover your tires.
Use a tire protectant to prevent the tires from UV or ozone damage in the summer and harsh weather conditions in the winter. Be sure to clean tire sidewalls with Armor All® or a similar product. Whenever your vehicle is stored for long periods of time (i.e., a trailer or classic car), cover your tires and remove the vehicle’s weight or load to help prevent sidewall cracks from forming. Keep in mind that tire lifespan is affected by the quality of your tires, tire maintenance, type of vehicle, and driving habits.