Is it really necessary to replace my timing belt at the manufacturer recommended interval?
YES. The failure of a timing belt in many cars can result in major engine damage. The cost of repairing an engine with a broken timing belt is much greater than the cost of a timing belt replacement.
What does it mean if my “check engine” or “service engine soon” light comes on?
There are many sensors and computerized components that manage your vehicle’s engine performance and emissions. When one of these fails, the “check engine” light is illuminated. Although your car may seem to run fine, it is important to have the issue addressed to prevent long-term problems or failure of emission tests.
What should I do if my car starts to overheat?
This is a very serious problem – if your car overheats for too long, you can damage your engine. As soon as possible, find a safe place to pull off the road and shut off the engine! Do not attempt to check the fluid level in the radiator as it can burn you. The best thing to do is have your car towed to a repair shop.
When should I get my oil changed?
You should get your oil changed every 3,000 miles or as recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. If intervals are extended, ensure you use oil that is capable of extended mileage changes.
What causes milky brown engine oil?
Milky brown engine oil is an indication of coolant in the oil. This can be caused by a blown head gasket (other gasket), a failed transmission cooler or cracked casings. This condition is very serious and needs to be checked by a professional technician quickly.
How to make sure my car battery has a good electrical connection?
Battery cables and terminals should be cleaned and inspected to make sure they provide a good electrical connection.
What is synthetic motor oil?
Synthetic motor oils can be a good choice for high output, turbocharged or supercharged engines, vehicles that are used for towing (especially during hot weather) or vehicles that are operated in extremely cold or hot climates. Synthetic motor oils, though several times more expensive than mineral-based motor oils, can improve fuel economy and provide longer intervals between changes. They also provide instant lubrication on start-up.
When should I replace my car’s fuel filter?
To help ensure dependable, trouble-free performance, replace your car’s fuel filter approximately every 30,000 miles or as recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
When should I change my spark plugs?
For maximum fuel economy and peak engine performance, your spark plugs should be replaced every 30 months or 30,000 miles, unless your vehicle is equipped with 100,000-mile platinum-tipped spark plugs.
What should I do when I need to replace a burned out fuse?
Always replace burned-out fuses with ones of the same amperage (printed on the fuse) and note that if a fuse continues to “blow,” you should have the circuit checked professionally by one of our technicians for defects.
AutoCraft News & Tips
Car Care Tips:
• Fuel Cost Reduction & Improving Fuel Mileage
• Are Your Tires Properly Inflated?
Fuel Cost Reduction
and Improving Fuel Mileage
We all remember the days when gas was less than $2.00 a gallon. Well those days are long behind us now and we now know the term “what goes up must come down” is a farce.
Gas prices are reaching all time highs and as busy as we all are today we need our vehicles more than ever. Here are some tips that can help increase mileage and reduce your overall fuel bill as much as 30%.
Also, be sure to check out our Coupon Specials for our Gas Saver Coupon!
Also, be sure to check out our Coupon Specials for our Gas Saver Coupon!
On the Road: Drive More Efficiently
• Slowing Down – According to the Department of Energy, slowing down from 65 mph to 55 mph can increase your miles per gallon as much as 15%.
• Remove Excess Weight and Accessories – An extra 100 pounds can reduce fuel mileage by 2%. Bicycle and ski racks add drag and this can cost you another 3% on the freeway.
• Cruise Control and Overdrive – Maintaining constant speeds and lowering RPMs will help conserve fuel.
• Air Conditioning and Other Accessories – Using your air conditioning and other accessories put additional loads on your engine, resulting in lower fuel economy. Only using them when you absolutely have to will save on fuel usage.
• Combining Errands – One longer trip on a warm engine is much better than several trips on a cold engine. Planning an efficient route will even save you more money at the pump.
• Avoid Long Idle Times and Aggressive Driving – In the summer you don’t need to warm your vehicle up, instead drive a little slower for the first couple of miles. Also, rapid acceleration and heavy braking can lower your gas mileage 3-5%.
At the Shop: Maintain Your Vehicle
• Oil Services – Clean oil reduces friction and dissipates heat, promoting better fuel efficiency. Using Synthetic Oils will increase fuel efficiency even more.
• Tire Maintenance – Improperly inflated tires alone can cost you as much as 7% in gas mileage, not to mention is a safety hazard. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, rotated and evaluated on a regular basis. Abnormal wear can be an indication of an alignment problem which will lower fuel economy even more.
• Fuel and Air Filters – Dirty and clogged filters can decrease engine performance, thus reducing gas mileage as much as 10%. Having them properly serviced can pay for themselves within 2-3 fill-ups.
• Tune-Ups – An improperly tuned engine will cause loss of power, increase in emissions and a decrease in fuel economy, up to 50%! Having the state of tune inspected regularly and following your Factory Maintenance Requirements will keep you on the road more and away from the costly gas pumps.
• “Engine Light” On – Your on-board computer is warning you of trouble and decrease in fuel mileage, 10-40% in most cases. Having your vehicle properly tested and repaired will not only save you in gas money but it will reduce premature aging and failure of some of your vehicle’s other critical systems and components.
Be Skeptical – Claims for devices that will “boost your mileage,” “improve your fuel economy,” or the like usually only provide marginal improvement at best. The Environmental Protection Agency has tested over 100 supposed gas-saving devices and found that very few provide any fuel economy benefits at all. To see a list of tested products go to www.epa.gov/otag/consumer.htm and click on Inventors/Devices.
Are Your Tires Properly Inflated?
It’s not a bad idea to give the ol’ tires a kick now and then. Did you know that over- or under-inflated tires cost you money, pollutes our environment and manipulates your vehicle's designed handling capabilities?
Save Money – Under inflated tires by only four or five psi can reduce
gas mileage as much as 10%.
Reduce Emissions – Burning extra gasoline unnecessarily adds carbon dioxide
to the atmosphere.
Maintain Handling – When tuning chassis systems for safe and consistent handling behaviors,
specific tire sizes and inflation pressures are key to the engineered specifications.
How to Read a Tire
You can find all the information you need to know about your tires right on the tires themselves. Each tire has its width, sidewall height, construction, wheel diameter, weight load code, speed rating and maximum tire inflation rating written on the side of the tire.
For example: 195/60R15 87H MAX PRESSURE 35 psi
195– tire width in millimeters
60– sidewall height as a percentage of the tire width
(60% of 195 is 117 millimeters)
R– radial construction
87– weight load code – maximum weight capacity
H– speed rating – maximum speed a properly inflated tire will withstand for a determined amount of time.
Max Pressure– Number of pounds per square inch you should inflate your tire cold. If you have been driving, then rule of thumb is allow for a 5% increase. A 35 psi rating should read approximately 37 psi warm.
All tires should be inflated, rotated and evaluated on a regular basis. Tires should be evaluated and have the inflation adjusted every 3,000 miles and rotated every 6,000 miles or every other oil service.
You will be happy to know that AutoCraft of Spokane has teamed up with most of the major tire manufacturers, which allows us to provide tire maintenance to our valued customers for a competitive price. Now you can expect the same great service and satisfaction in tires that you have become accustomed to in auto repair.o in auto repair.
Washing your car is like taking a good hot shower, it just makes you feel better. But there are some important things to remember.
First, household detergent is a real no-no; it's likely to take off the wax and damage the paint. There are numerous products designed especially for your purpose available in auto supply stores, use one of them.
Work in the shade and use a sponge, towel or wash mitt. These should be kept completely free of abrasive grit. Pay attention to those crevices underneath the vehicle that accumulate mud and road dirt. The high pressure hose in a do-it-yourself car wash is great for this, as is a home style pressure washer.
Automotive chemical manufacturers have developed new products that make the finished job more impressive. Tires and black plastic trim, for example, can be made to look like new with protective dressings. There are cleaners for chrome, aluminum and stainless steel; even products designed for hard-to-remove brake pad dust from wheels.
The Council reminds you that while we can't seem to escape harmful ultraviolet rays and acid rain, regular washing and waxing can keep your vehicle looking new.
Source: Automotive Service Association (ASA) / Car Care Council