1) Get in the habit of checking your oil. Look for the proper level and cleanliness. You should check your oil at least once every 1000 miles. It can also tip you off to oil consumption issues. You may also catch a problem before it gets to be a big one like seeing antifreeze or moisture on the dipstick. These things cause the oil to look milky. Last but not least look for any shiny metallic particles on the dipstick. Once again catching something before it turns into something big can save you money. 2) Check tire pressure and tire condition monthly. Experts say this can add up to 4 % fuel savings. You can look for uneven wear that may point out alignment problems. Tires can also dry rot and tread can separate. Dry rot will cause deep cracks in between the tread and on the side wall. Dry rotted tires if bad enough can be unsafe on the highway. Tires have a wear bar that if you look close at the tire between the tread pattern you will notice a horizontal bar about every 12 inches or less around the tire. When the tread is a 1/16 on an inch within the bar the tires are no longer good and traction and safety are compromised.
3) Make sure your spare tire’s air pressure is good and make sure your tools like lug wrench and jack are present. It’s probably not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with how to use it. The worst place to learn is roadside. P.S. If you get a LOF (lube ,oil, and filter )from us your spare will be checked so thats one less worry.
4) Don't let your fuel tank get too low. Your electric fuel pump is cooled and lubricated by the fuel in your tank. The fuel heats up as you drive on most cars because of the return line. The engines heat makes the returned fuel warm and the less fuel in the tank the warmer the fuel pump will be. It will shorten the life of the pump! We also see a lot of vehicles towed right from the gas station with a bad pump. If you’re really low on fuel and the pump is hot, adding the cool fuel from the ground can stress the plastic fuel pump impeller. Sometimes you can’t help this but if you can, get gas close by your home or work. You can offset this by trying to refuel around a half tank.
5) Once a year or more depending on the severity of the winter go through a car wash that offers underbody wash. Road dirt and salts can accelerate underbody rust. Brake lines suffer and so does everything else. We have seen some cars look great on the top and ready for a scrap yard on the bottom. Doing the underbody wash can really help!
6) Turn on your lights and walk around your vehicle every once in a while. Check headlights, brakes lights, turn signals and license plate lights, which if not working can be a reason for a traffic stop by law enforcement. P.S. Our LOF checks all lights everytime!
7) You are the pilot of your car and probably the best one to notice a difference with anything. If you pay attention you can pick up on things that may get worse. Observe misfires or engine roughness, noises like squeaks and grinding sounds. Sometimes ignored vehicle repairs can add up and become very costly. If you keep up on your car repairs it may cost you a little now as opposed to a total loss later. It’s hard to find a good used car and if you keep up on yours you will know exactly what you have instead of buying some else's headache.
8) Don't ignore warning lights. Unless you have a car checked out and are told its OK don't ignore them. Brake lights and temperature lights to name a few. A lot of people wonder about the check engine light or service engine soon light. It’s job is to warn you of an emission related failure or computer control malfunction. Some are minor some not so minor but just about all the reasons effect fuel economy! You will see some people drive around with a light on and say it’s this or that. The questions comes though as to how will you know when something more serious shows up if the lights always on? On those lines when on a trip or out of town don't really worry too much about the light unless it’s flashing. Flashing lights mean a misfire is present and bad enough that catalytic converter damage is very possible. Converters are expensive! If it’s not flashing have it checked out by a shop when convenient for you.
9) When checking your oil get use to looking under your hood. Look maybe at hoses and belts for bulges or cracks. Look at the battery for signs of corrosion it will look like a white or blue growth on the cables. Look for any signs of leaks or smells of fuel vapors. Don't be afraid of looking you may save yourself a tow bill one day. If you’re not comfortable stop by and ask us to show you what to look for or how to check anything. IT’S FREE and it’s all part of our service to you.
10) When you pull out of your driveway or parking spot get use to looking at the ground. Make a mental note of any fluids leaking. Once again sometimes fixing a small problem before it gets bigger can save money. Your car is one of your most expensive necessities
and keeping the fluids full will make it last longer and be more reliable.
11) Be a Gauge looker. Get use to what normal is on your gauges. Temperature, oil pressure, volts. If you know what's normal you can pick out a slowly occurring problem. If you see a temperature gauge that's higher than normal it can tip you off to a running hotter than normal problem. Running hotter will affect an engines and transmissions life expectancy and will effect emissions.
The above mentioned are some good tips to help your car last longer and be more reliable. Once again we encourage you to stop by if you don't feel comfortable doing any of these things and let us show you how easy it is. It’s part of our personal service to you and we look forward to seeing you.
10 simple steps for a more fuel-efficient vehicle:
1) Check your owner's manual to find out what fuel octane rating your car's engine needs then buy it. Resist the urge to buy higher-octane gas for "premium" performance, unless your car requires it. Octane has nothing to do with the gasoline's performance, merely its volatility factor in the combustion chamber. Translation: If your manual doesn't specify that your car needs premium gas, there's no reason to pay more for it.
2) Keep your tires inflated to the proper levels. Under-inflated tires make it harder for your car to move down the road, which means your engine uses more fuel to maintain speed. In fact, a single tire, under inflated by two pounds per-square-inch (PSI), increases fuel consumption by one percent. Check your owner's manual or the decal in your car's doorjamb for correct inflation levels.
3) Make sure that you change the oil and maintain your car's powertrain according to your owner's manual. This will ensure that your car's engine will operate at maximum efficiency, thus providing the best fuel economy. Dirty air filters, old spark plugs and low fluid levels can affect engine performance and fuel efficiency.
4) Lay off the accelerator. A car uses more fuel under hard acceleration. So don't race up to red lights or stop signs, avoid quick "jackrabbit" starts, and don't goose the throttle to jump into holes in traffic.
5) Avoid high speeds on the highway. As your speed increases, the aerodynamic drag increases in exponential fashion, so the engine has to work harder - and use more fuel- to maintain your speed and move the car through the atmosphere. Driving 62 mph instead of 75 mph can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 15%. If you have it, cruise control is a great way to maintain a safe, fuel-efficient highway speed while cutting down on fuel-burning deceleration/acceleration.
6) Lighten the load. Heavier vehicles use more fuel, so clean out unnecessary weight in the passenger compartment or trunk before you hit the road.
7) Use the A/C sparingly. The air conditioner puts extra load on the engine, forcing more fuel to be used. On average, a car operating with the air conditioning engaged uses about 15% more fuel. If it's just too hot to bear without A/C, try to keep it set at around 75 degrees.
8) Keep your windows closed. Wide-open windows, especially at highway speeds, increase aerodynamic drag and the result is up to a 8 % decrease in fuel economy. If you want to have fresh air coming into the vehicle, run your climate system on "outside air" and "vent," and crack the window.
9) If you own a pickup truck, consider getting a tonneau cover or a tube-style tailgate. These items will help to minimize drag over the cargo bed and allow the vehicle to slip through the air stream more efficiently.
10) Avoid long idling. If you anticipate being stopped for more than one minute, shut off the car. Contrary to popular belief, restarting the car uses less fuel than letting it idle.
A word about other shops and practices to be aware of
There are many shops out there and just like good and bad anything there are good and bad shops. Here are a few things to watch out for should you wonder off the path of our shop. We know sometimes emergencies pop up or you move so we are keeping you posted on practices to watch out for and possibly tell your friends and family. Information is the key and we hope our information helps you make good choices.
1) BRAKES FOR LIFE
Brake pads are a wear item and in NO WAY meant to last for life. Many times you will see this or cheap brake pad advertised prices. The Idea of cheap brakes comes at a price ,read the fine print. It’s usually a low cost brake pad replaced, nothing cleaned or lubricated and out the door. Usually there is no rotor or drum machining and no hydraulics or hardware. The problem is IF you get out of there with just pads I almost guarantee the next time they will recommend rotors ,hydraulics, hardware, hoses and maybe more. If turned down they will tell you they can’t warranty the next set or just plain convince you to do it now. Well rotors, calipers, hardware and the such aren't a bad idea in fact it’s the proper suggested way to make your brakes as safe ,effective, and long wearing as possible. The problem is if you compare apples to apples and price our whole brake service to most other guys you will be surprised. We quote our prices very competitively and actually lower than most other shops. We get a lot of price shopping phone calls and more often than not when compared to other shops, we get the job. We use quality parts and do the job right the first time no bait and switch, no deceptive tactics.
2) LOW PRICE OIL CHANGES
Let’s face it oil prices are rising! The idea behind super low price oil changes also has a high price. First ours is called a LOF; Lube Oil and filter. With this you get oil and filter, tire pressure and wear checked, front end lubricated and every grease fitting lubricated, EVERY fluid level checked, filters checked and if it’s a 4 wheel drive that means everything, differentials and transfer cases. Belts and hoses get checked and we do a visual inspection. All lights are checked. Most of your low cost deals are meant to get you in the door and most of them, based on what I see don't include everything I've mentioned. We see vehicles come in from other places, that have never or has been so long since its been lubricated it has no signs of grease at any fittings. Fluids that are tough to check are left alone and fluids that are low are charged out separately a lot of times. At our place you won`t see a separate charge for a gallon of washer solvent or a half quart of transmission fluid. You get a true oil change with quality Valvoline oil and all the trimmings. All performed by a Quality Technician.
3) BUY 3 TIRES GET THE 4th TIRE FREE AND ALIGNMENT FOR LIFE.
I'm not going to insult you but my grandfather and I`m sure every grandfather has told us if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. We all know very few things in life are free. Big tire stores move a lot of tires and volume does have its benefits. We deal with multiple warehouses and brands too so chances are we can offer just as good of prices without a catchy lure. The bigger problem is the alignment and the front end parts. Some tire stores in our opinion are way too sensitive about normal front end wear. So while you get a free alignment, one first has to replace the parts that the Technician Claims are worn to bad to proceed with the alignment. If the front end isnt up to ( their standards ) they will deny doing the alignment or convice you to replace the parts that are borderline.
4) THE BEST FOR LAST. DIAGNOSTICS
It seems everyone is jumping on the diagnostic wagon here lately. Everything is going electronic it’s no secret so the tire shops, franchise auto parts places, and other shops have to offer it. After all it’s so easy to plug in a magic box and have it tell you to replace a part. It’s a slam dunk right? They turn off the check engine light and wave you out the door. Well it’s not that easy more often than not. Chances are you have heard about free diagnostics by parts places hoping to sell their parts to you. Most of the time just like with misinformed shops you buy a few parts get a bill and drive off only with the same problem to return like a boomerang. They just don't have the tools or the experience to properly diagnose theses problems. We stay up to date with training and we use the same scantools the dealers do along with other top name tools, not the generic scan tools and magic eight ball diagnostics offered by other shops. We have fixed a lot of vehicles from other shops and even vehicles that have been in dealerships. We give it our best every time and use quality parts. We want your business and we have the experience and tools, you have a vehicle that needs service WHAT A PERFECT MATCH .