Are You Ready For The Road?
An average of 13,000 Americans are killed between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, some as a result of unperformed vehicle maintenance, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Each year, neglected maintenance leads to more than 2,600 deaths, nearly 100,000 disabling injuries and more than $2 billion in lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.
Most mechanical failures can be traced to neglected maintenance. For example, the U. S. Department of Transportation reports the leading cause of mechanical breakdown on our nation's highways is overheating, a condition that is easily avoidable. Other deficiencies that are simple to detect include low antifreeze/coolant, worn or loose drive belts and defective cooling system hoses.
Checking tire pressure and inflating a tire costs nothing, yet an average of 21 percent of cars inspected in check lanes during National Car Care Month have under inflated tires. This can lead to a blowout and a serious accident.
Fuel Saving Tips
|Condition||Effect||MPG Penalty up to|
|Under inflated tires||Increase rolling resistance||1-2mpg|
|Dirty air filter||Causes excessively rich fuel/air mixture||2.0mpg|
|Worn spark plugs||Cause inefficient combustion, wasted fuel||2.0mpg|
|Worn O2 sensor||Unable to detect and adjust air/fuel mixture||3mpg|
|Dirty or substandard engine oil||Increases internal engine friction||0.4mpg|
|Loose gas cap||Allows fuel to evaporate||2.0mpg|
|Potential loss in fuel economy if all of the above were neglected||11.4mpg|
The Car Care Council offers these fuel-saving tips:
- Vehicle gas caps -- About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
- Under inflated tires -- When tires aren't inflated properly it's like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon.
- 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 a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Dirty air filters -- An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a "rich" mixture -- too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 20 cents a gallon.
Fuel-saving driving tips include:
- Don't be an aggressive driver -- Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, which results in 10 to 66 cents per gallon.
- Avoid excessive idling -- Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
- Observe the speed limit -- Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mpg driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control is recommended.
WIPERS - In the 2001 National Car Care Month vehicle check lanes, 21 percent of participants had wipers that smeared, streaked or chattered across their windshields. Although climates vary, wipers generally need replacing every six months. An easy reminder is to change wiper blades in the spring and fall when you change your clock. Be sure the windshield washers are working properly, too, and keep the reservoir filled with solvent.
LIGHTING - Another important pre-trip check should be exterior and interior lighting. Vehicle check lanes revealed an overall failure rate of over 25 percent in the lighting category. The Car Care Council reminds motorists to check their lights monthly. Other suggestions from the Council include turning on headlights both day and night. This helps define your car's position on the road, and its distance from other drivers. When your vehicle's lighting is defective, other motorists may not get the message that you intend to stop or turn. The end result could be disastrous.
10 Minute Pre-Trip Checkup Can Pay Off
Car Care Council offers three suggestions for a traveler's 10-minute pre-trip checklist:
- Check all fluids. There are several fluids, in addition to antifreeze, that require attention, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission fluids and windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
- Check hoses and belts. A belt that fails can affect the electrical system, air conditioning and power steering, as well as the cooling system. Cooling system hoses may be deteriorating from within, so old hoses and clamps in marginal condition might need to be replaced.
- Check the tires. Check tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear, indicating the need for wheel alignment. Also look for bulges and bald spots.
"While a last minute checkup is better than no checkup, motorists should plan ahead to allow time to perform necessary maintenance themselves or at the local service facility. A properly maintained vehicle is safer and more dependable and will even save a few dollars at the gas pumps," said the Car Care Council's Executive Director, Rich White.
Not only can a pre-trip inspection help reduce chances of costly and possibly dangerous road trouble, it also provides an opportunity to have repairs made at home, with one's own technician who knows the vehicle. Especially important, it provides peace of mind. While no inspection can guarantee a car's performance, it's comforting to know proper precautions were taken.
Preventative maintenance is the best way to ensure your vehicle stays reliable, and lets you avoid major repairs as well as the expenses that come with them. At Bauer Automotive, we provide a complete preventative maintenance program, and carry all the necessary parts and expertise to take care of the little jobs that let you avoid the big ones.
Choose from a comprehensive range of the fluids, oils, filters, and belts that your vehicle needs to keep running happily and healthily. Relax while your ride is inspected by our highly-trained technicians, and rest assured that it'll keep running smoothly for miles and miles.
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 facility.Car Care Council offers three suggestions for a traveler's 10-minute pre-trip checklist:
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.
Check the tires - Check tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear, indicating the need for wheel alignment. Also look for bulges and bald spots along the tire's surface.
Follow these tips to maximize fuel efficiency of your vehicle:
Boost your vehicle's fuel efficiency with these simple yet effective tips. From regular maintenance checks such as monitoring tire pressure and replacing worn spark plugs to cultivating mindful driving habits like avoiding aggressive maneuvers and excessive idling, these strategies can help you optimize fuel usage and save on costs in the long run.
Vehicle Gas Caps
Regularly checking and ensuring the proper sealing of your gas cap is crucial. Surprisingly, approximately 17% of vehicles on the roads today have gas caps that are either damaged, loose, or entirely missing. This seemingly small issue leads to the vaporization of around 147 million gallons of fuel each year.
Under Inflated Tires
Maintaining proper tire pressure is crucial for optimal fuel efficiency. Driving with underinflated tires is akin to driving with a parking brake engaged, resulting in a notable reduction in mileage, often costing a mile or two per gallon. Regularly checking and maintaining the correct tire pressure can significantly improve fuel efficiency.
Worn Spark Plugs
The spark plugs in a vehicle, whether four, six, or eight in number, endure an incredible amount of stress, firing up to 3 million times every 1,000 miles. Such persistent use can lead to both electrical and chemical erosion from the generated heat. Regular inspection and timely replacement of worn spark plugs are essential for maintaining fuel efficiency.
Dirty Air Filters
A clogged air filter can disrupt the ideal air-fuel mixture, leading to a "rich" mixture where the proportion of gas to air is imbalanced. This not only results in fuel wastage but also causes the engine to lose power. The simple act of replacing a clogged air filter can enhance gas mileage by as much as 10%, making it a crucial maintenance step for fuel efficiency.
Don't Drive Aggressively
Aggressive driving habits, such as sudden accelerations and abrupt stops, can significantly reduce gas mileage. In fact, aggressive driving can decrease gas mileage by up to 33% on the highway and 5% on city streets. Opting for smoother driving habits can substantially improve fuel efficiency.
Avoid Excessive Idling
Allowing a vehicle to idle for extended periods consumes fuel without yielding any mileage. Minimize unnecessary idling, and avoid letting the vehicle warm up for more than one to two minutes as excessive idling contributes to unnecessary fuel consumption.
Drive the Speed Limit
Maintaining a consistent speed and adhering to the speed limit can play a vital role in fuel efficiency. Gas mileage tends to decrease rapidly at speeds exceeding 60 mph. For every mile driven above 60 mph, you can expect an additional 10 cents per gallon in fuel costs. Utilizing cruise control can also help in maintaining a steady speed, thus enhancing fuel efficiency during highway driving.
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