Car Care Tips Germantown, MD
The Importance of Changing the Oil
Having your oil and oil filter changed, at least as often as recommended by the manufacturer, is likely to generate the single biggest return on your investment. Replacing the dirty oil and filter protects the internal parts of the engine from premature wear. Changing the oil at regularly scheduled intervals will also keep your vehicles warranty intact. It's important to use the recommended grade of oil for your vehicle for the best protection and fuel mileage.
How to Drive More Efficiently and Save Gas
- Drive Sensibly - Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town.
- Observe the Speed Limit - while each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying up to an additional $0.29 per gallon for gas.
- Reduce excess weight - Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
- Check your air filter - A dirty air filter restricts the flow of air into the engine, which harms performance and economy.
- Check your tire pressure - You get better gas mileage when your tires are properly inflated. Inflating tires to their proper pressure can improve mileage by about 3.3 percent, whereas leaving them under-inflated can lower mileage by 0.4 percent for every one PSI drop in pressure of all four tires.
- Get an alignment check – A misaligned vehicle (the wheels aren’t rolling perfectly straight) increases drag when the vehicle is in motion and will reduce your gas mileage.
- Avoid Excessive Idling - Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and a/c use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked.
- Use your cruise control - Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
- Use Overdrive - When you use overdrive gearing, your car's engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.
Going on a road trip? What you should have checked before you go.
- Check the brake system.
- Make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
- Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause the engine to lose power.
- Check the hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.
- Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Under inflated tires reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy and uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
- Check that the gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.
- Depending on your vehicle mileage, schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
The Importance of Wheel Alignments
A wheel alignment is often called a front-end alignment, steering alignment, or steering balance. Simply stated, it involves adjusting the angles of the wheels so they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other to ensure the vehicle drives straight and true.
An out-of-alignment condition can be caused by spring sag, suspension wear as the vehicle ages, or after a vehicle encounters a major road hazard, pot hole or curb. The end result is the same: The tires will wear prematurely and handling of the car will suffer.
We offer state-of-the-art Hunter Engineering alignment equipment as well as the Hunter Road Force Balancer. As it relates to the extremely poor condition of the roadways in and around the Washington Metropolitan area, we recommend having your vehicle checked at least once a year.
It's also important to have other chassis items, such as tie-rod ends, control arms, and ball joints, checked and greased periodically. At Precision Auto, checking these components is part of the alignment process.