With gas prices quickly approaching $4 per gallon, keeping your ride in the best possible running condition is more important than ever. The benefits you’ll reap are a great running, dependable vehicle and more money in your pocket! Here are some tips on keeping your ride rolling.
Start with reading the operations manual that comes with your vehicle. In it you’ll find all the manufacturers information on how to care for your vehicle. They built it. They know how it should run. Follow their recommendations.
The important systems within your vehicle that you’ll need to keep an eye on are the engine, drivetrain, cooling and ignition systems and the emissions control system. Each of these, if not cared for, will affect not only the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, but also the general health of your ride.
• Oil changes are necessary. Oil for your vehicles engine is the substance that allows the engine to work. It wears out and occasionally, needs to be changed. The general rule is to change it every 3,000 miles or 90 days. Which ever comes first. Neglect this aspect of maintenance at your own peril.
• Most vehicles today are fuel-injected. Be sure to change the air filter on these vehicles as a dirty filter will impede acceleration thus causing you to press the pedal harder and use more fuel. That said, many of us still drive vehicles with the “old time” carburetor attached to the top of the engine. In addition to keeping the air filter clean, you’ll need to keep an eye on the fuel filter. These need to be replaced occasionally.
• Keep your tires inflated at the prescribed level. The amount of gas that can be wasted (not to mention wear and tear on the tires) with under inflated tires is astonishing. In my Expedition, if I don’t keep the tires inflated to the correct PSI, I can almost watch my gas gauge drop just by driving to the store! Check the tire pressure monthly and keep them filled at the correct level.
A well maintained vehicle will save you money and provide you with years of dependable service. A poorly maintained vehicle will break down more often and can increase your maintenance costs by 15% or more. Just considering fuel mileage, that translates into an extra $10 per fill up if you have a 20 gallon fuel tank. That adds up to a lot of money!
Take care of your ride and it will take care of you!