Thursday, June 14, 2012According to a recent study by the U.S. Travel Association, more than half of vacationers planning to drive by car will alter their leisure plans because of gas prices. Rather than changing family vacation plans, AutoZone suggests motorists proactively maintain vehicles to ease the pain at the pump and get the most out of their gas tanks.
A few minutes of proactive maintenance, including checking and replacing oil and spark plugs at recommended intervals, can often improve fuel efficiency. Many motorists are unaware that simple routine maintenance can not only get you to your destination safely, but can help get the most out of your gas dollars.
To help motorists maximize their fuel economy on their summer road trips, AutoZone offers the following tips:
- Switch to a synthetic motor oil. Consider changing to a quality, synthetic oil. For the everyday driver, such oils can deliver up to 2 percent fuel economy improvement.
- Check and maintain all fluid levels, such as engine oil and transmission fluids. And be sure your antifreeze/coolant is up to the task for hot summer temperatures to prevent engines from overheating. Replace fluids if needed according to recommended service intervals.
- Replace spark plugs, oxygen sensors and air filters as recommended. Spark plugs can affect fuel efficiency, emissions and economy. As spark plugs wear, they do not burn fuel as cleanly, which is why it is important to change spark plugs at the proper interval. Motorists should purchase the correct type of spark plugs and replace them at the interval recommended by the manufacturer. If the owner's manual has been lost, many websites, such as the National Car Care Council's website (carcare.org), offer a recommended maintenance schedule for vehicles.
- Replacing oxygen sensors can significantly improve gas mileage. Check and replace one-and two-wire sensors every 30,000-50,000 miles and every 60,000-100,000 miles for "heated" type oxygen sensors.
- Replacing a clogged air filter can lead to increased performance and acceleration. Air filters should be checked at every oil change.
- Be proactive. Proactive checks and preventative maintenance of critical engine components can be the difference between staying on the road and being stranded on the roadside.
- Be prepared. Visit an automotive retailer to purchase a roadside emergency kit. Also keep items such as a tire pressure gauge, spare serpentine belt and jumper cables handy.
- Extreme temperatures can mean battery failure. Corrosion caused by heat is the leading cause of battery failure, and batteries often do not give noticeable warning signs if they're about to fail. Retailers offer free battery testing in most states.
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