Many car owners overlook the importance of proper vehicle care. Balancing the tires, checking the mechanical systems, inspecting the ignition and examining the brakes are all key to improving a vehicle's longevity and fuel efficiency. A well maintained car is a safer and more economical car.
Tires should be checked on a regular basis to ensure the pressure level is appropriate and that wear and tear is minimal. It's recommended that tire pressure be checked once a month to avoid rolling resistance, a common problem that occurs when tires aren't inflated with enough air. This lack of air can lead to premature deterioration and additional fuel consumption. At the same time as you check tire pressure, you should also check overall tire condition. If the tire tread is uneven, it could be indicative of over inflation, under inflation or misalignment, all of which can also lead to a shorter tire life span and vehicle handling difficulties. Avoid these potential problems by rotating your tires routinely and testing your car's wheel alignment by driving at a steady speed and checking to see if your vehicle leans more to one side than another (if so, an adjustment is in order).
A serviced engine is an efficient engine. Since 1996, when cars started to be produced with an internal diagnostics system that alert the driver to potential problems with indicator lights, it's fairly easy to do. A common interior alert light that might be illuminated if not appropriately maintained is the oil indicator light. Oil provides the lubrication an engine needs to function, minimize friction and eliminate superfluous heat and unhealthy emissions. Most owners' manuals recommend using an "Energy Conserving" oil to maintain the most fuel economy. It's also important to check a car's cooling system on a regular basis to ensure the engine is operating at its optimal temperature. This also helps to ensure that your car operates with fuel efficiency.
Regular upkeep of the ignition system is also key to a well-functioning vehicle. Since issues related to the ignition are a bit trickier to identify, it's good to rely on the manufacturer's recommendations on when to change spark plugs and/or wires. Damages to these parts can lead to engine misfires and a decrease in fuel efficiency. Worn out brakes, used to stop your car rather than start it, can also contribute to this increase in fuel consumption. Having them inspected, the fluid checked and, when needed, changed, can keep them operating more effectively.
Well maintained vehicles are well running vehicles. Regularly schedule checks of the tires, engine, ignition and brakes to keep your car running optimally. And when it doubt, there's much to read about in your car's owner's manual.
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