Maintaining your automobile is one of the easiest ways to extend the life of your car, saving both money and the environment.
Enemy #1: Contaminated Oil
The oil in your engine not only lubricates the moving parts, but it helps keep the engine parts clean and cool. Contaminated oil saps engine performance and can even lead to premature wear (and much larger repair bills!).
Solution: Change your oil and oil filter every 3-5,000 miles or every three months, whichever comes sooner.
Enemy #2: Dirty Air Filter
The air filter performs the critical task of keeping dirt, bugs and debris out of your engine. The air filter is the lung of your vehicle; a clogged, dirty air filter is like to giving your car emphysema. Try running as fast as you can while breathing through a straw – I guarantee you won’t perform very well.
Solution: Change your air filter once a year; more often if you live in a particularly dusty area.
Enemy #3: Old Spark Plugs
Spark plugs are critical to the combustion process of your engine and they do wear out. Old plugs can’t deliver the strong spark required to burn the maximum amount of the air and fuel mixture, resulting in wasted fuel.
Solution: Change spark plugs once a year.
Enemy #4: Improper Tire inflation
Where the rubber meets the road greatly affects car performance, handling and gas mileage. Too little air in the tire creates drag and excess friction. Too much air results in too little traction. Both situations cause uneven tire wear and reduces tire life.
Solution: Always inflate tires to the specifications of your vehicle. Never use the number listed on the tire – this is the maximum tire pressure. Most cars have the specifications printed on a sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb, though some cars may put the sticker on the inside of the gas tank door or the inside of the glove compartment.