As we head into Fall, road trips are decreasing and the summer driving season is coming to a close. It’s possible we may see a dip in the average price of gas. And what’s better than saving money at the pump?
Smyth Automotive car care experts advise that if you are saving money on gas, why not also save money by improving your overall fuel economy. Following are some simple steps you can take to get more miles per gallon:
- Check your tires. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage. So keep all four tires properly inflated. Tire pressure can fluctuate when outside temperatures do, so regularly check the tires and inflate them when the pressure is low.
- Keep your driving in check. Avoid heavy braking and rapid acceleration. Even speeding can significantly lower your gas mileage. Don’t drive aggressively, be mindful of your speed and use cruise control while on the highway.
- Lighten your load. Remove needless items from your trunk, especially if they’re heavy. The added weight can affect fuel efficiency. Also, don’t keep items on your roof rack when you’re driving around town. Remove cargo boxes and other items from your car roof when you’re not using them.
- Avoid unnecessary idling. Turn of your engine if you will be parked for a period of time. Reducing engine idling not only saves money, but it also cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollution.
- Check your engine air filter. A dirty filter will reduce fuel economy. Replace a clogged filter to help your engine run more efficiently.
Ah, it’s the middle of summer and the hottest part of the year. This heat can often affect your car if you don’t keep up with regular maintenance. Here are five simple tips from Smyth Automotive for keeping your car in top shape for the remainder of the season.
1. Check All of Your Fluids
Now is the time to check and top off your fluids to avoid overheating. This includes brake fluid, power steering fluid and coolant. And don’t forget about your oil. Checking your oil regularly is even more important during the summer when your engine is more likely to overheat. If it’s low, top it off. And don’t forget to schedule your regular oil changes.
2. Inspect Your Tires
Tire pressure can fluctuate when outside temperatures do, which can affect your gas mileage, your car’s handling and the overall life of your tires. Make sure your tires are properly inflated according to your car’s recommended PSI (pounds per square inch). You can find this in your owner’s manual or on your driver’s side door. Also, you should regularly check your tires for potential damage due to road hazards and general wear and tear.
3. Get Your Radiator Checked
Buildup can cause overheating or even damage to your radiator. Have your mechanic check for damage and clogs in your radiator and flush the cooling system if necessary.
4. Check Your Battery
Has it been a while since you bought a battery? Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which can lead to corrosion. So, old batteries can die in the summer just as easily as they can in the winter.
5. Check Your AC
You don’t want to find out your AC needs repair during the hottest time of year. If the AC doesn’t feel as cool or if it seems weak, it could be blocked or need more Freon. Be aware that a weak AC could actually cause your engine to overheat, so get it checked out as soon as you notice something is wrong.
Also, remember to keep a few important items in your trunk in case of emergency:
- Extra antifreeze in case you overheat
- Extra water to mix with the antifreeze
- Quart of oil
- Properly-inflated spare tire
- Emergency kit that includes things such as flares, tire gauge, jumper cables, flashlight, etc.
Since Smyth Automotive was recently added to the Cincinnati Business Courier’s prestigious list of Greater Cincinnati’s Healthiest Employers, it is only fitting that we take the month of May to talk about how to keep your car healthy. Here are some of the best and easiest ways to keep your car healthy, both inside and out.
1. Know Your Numbers. It’s important to know your vehicle’s specific recommended tire inflation level and how to check-it. Keeping your tires properly inflated will not only add to the life and short-term health of your car, but it will also help you get better gas mileage on the road. Win, win!
2. Minimize Stress. On your tires by getting them rotated as needed. Most mechanics recommend rotating tires every 3,000-6,000 miles, or about as often as you get your oil changed. This ensures that the wear on your tires is even over time, and not isolated in one spot or one end of the car.
3. Stay Hydrated. By keeping your fluid levels topped off. Get oil and other fluids changed as needed. The fact is- your vehicle’s fluids degrade, whether it is simply sitting in the garage or clocking 100 daily miles on the road. Get these changed according to your vehicle’s owner manual or at regular service intervals, and keep them topped off in the meantime.
4. Avoid Toxins. Change the air filter as needed. If the air filter is dirty, it means your engine is not running in a healthy manner. By checking and changing the filter, you can prevent an unnecessary “sick” engine, as well as prolong the overall lifespan of your car.
5. Make Hygiene A Habit. Wash and wax your car regularly (or get it professionally done). This not only makes the exterior look substantially better, but it also protects the surface from dirt and debris damage.
6. Be Healthy Inside & Out. Clean and vacuum the interior regularly. Nothing causes degradation of a car’s interior quite like spilled liquids that soak into upholstery or dirt that gets consistently ground into the floor. To avoid this and maintain a healthy interior, immediately clean up any major messes and vacuum the floors and seats regularly.
7. Be Active! When you’re driving, be aware of your surroundings and don’t drive distracted. Additionally, don’t slam on the brakes and pump the gas on a regular basis. When possible, allow for a gradual stop and a gradual increase in speed, as the alternative causes unnecessary brake wear and inefficiently burns fuel.
8. Get Regular Checkups. Find a mechanic you trust, and regularly get your car checked and serviced. By finding a trustworthy mechanic to both inspect your car and perform routine maintenance, you can be sure that they not only know your specific car, but will do everything in their power to keep your car as healthy as possible.
April showers may bring May flowers, but those showers cannot be the only thing you rely on to clean your car’s exterior. While rain might wash off a layer of dust, manually washing the car removes potentially damaging debris, and waxing goes a step beyond to provide an extra layer of armor. Here are some steps to follow to ensure that you give your best automotive pal the good wash and wax it deserves.
1. Park in a cool, shady place. Excessive heat and sun can cause the water on your car to evaporate before you can take a towel to it, resulting in a blotchy appearance. If your car is even warm to the touch, the effects of the wash could be hindered.
2. Hose the car down to loosen dirt and other debris. Be sure to include the tires and undercarriage, as these can sometimes harbor a fair amount of unseen debris.
3. Thoroughly clean the wheels. By cleaning the wheels first, you eliminate the risk of wheel “sludge” running onto the freshly cleaned car paint. Rinse the wheels, then apply the wheel cleaner (this can be done with a brush or by simply spraying it on). Be sure to get in the crevices where dust and other debris reside, using a toothbrush if necessary. Rinse and repeat.
4. Wash the body of the car. Wash the car from the top down in a circular motion, using only a genuine car wash product and a lambswool or microfiber mitt. A simple soap and water combo or household cleaner will not suffice, as these can damage the car’s finish.
5. Dry the car and dry with a microfiber or terry towel. Other materials tend to be too abrasive, potentially damaging the surface. This washing/drying process should be repeated weekly.
6. Scan for blemishes and eliminate the gunk. Run your hand along the car surface, feeling for any kind of buildup such as tree sap or insect residue. If you notice any of these spots, there are mildly abrasive clay kits that can remedy the problem. Rub the clay bar over the affected area, rubbing and kneading it as necessary to expose a clean area.
7. Smooth out paint with polish. Although polishing does little to protect the car’s surface, it can restore the natural oils, drastically improving its appearance. You can use an oscillating polishing machine or do this manually by applying a polish, allowing it to dry and then gently wiping away the dried polish or rubbing compound.
8. Finish with a wax. It’s recommended that you wax your car 3-4 times per year, but at the very least, wax it with each season to replace and restore the protective wax coating that breaks down over time. Whether you choose to use a liquid polish or a paste, both are equally effective and easy to use. If time is an issue, use a quick spray wax or detailing spray.
The holidays are coming, and our wallets may be getting a little tighter, however, don’t neglect you car before the winter! Winter weather and road conditions can put a lot of wear and tear on your vehicle, so here are some preventative fall maintenance tips to shield your car from old man winter:
Replace your wiper blades. This is an easy, low-cost maintenance tip that you can do yourself! Wiper blades should be replaced every 6 months. Switch to a winter blade if possible, as a Teflon blade will wear better when they’re continuously coated in ice and snow.
Check to make sure your spare tire is properly inflated and in good condition. This is especially important if you spare tire is located on the exterior of your vehicle and is exposed to weathering.
Change your windshield wiper fluid to one that is suited for use in cold weather conditions. Winter blend solvents have a higher freezing point, so that your fluid is less likely to freeze as it hits your windshield. Better than a winter blend solvent is one that contains de-icing properties that will actually work with your windshield to melt away ice and snow on contact.
Check to make sure your vehicle’s coolant reservoir has enough antifreeze. Your car’s radiator keeps your engine running cool so it doesn’t overheat. Radiator coolant or antifreeze raises the boiling point of the water in your radiator, which allows it to carry more heat away from the engine. If you’re running low on coolant during the freezing temperatures, that water can freeze, which prevents it from being able to flow freely and cool the engine. As a result, your engine can overheat and lock up, causing costly damage to your vehicle, including a radiator or engine replacement, costing in the thousands!
Ensure all vehicle lights are working. With autumn’s longer and darker days, your headlights are sure to get a workout. Be sure your vehicle is safe with the proper lighting, including all interior lights, as well as headlights, taillights, and turn signals.
Keep current with oil and filter changes to keep your car’s engine well lubricated and running smoothly with the vital oil. Doing so will help your car run longer and prevent the need for a new engine. Check your car’s owner’s manual for the right interval for your specific vehicle. Also, make sure you are using the OE-specified grade and weight of oil, for example 5w30 and synthetic or semi-synthetic.
Regular tire rotations and alignments will make your tires last longer. When your tires are out of round, they wear unevenly. When the tire has uneven tread, this hampers your vehicle’s ability to grip the road and maintain control, especially on icy or snow-covered roads.
Check your brake fluid, brake pads, and rotors regularly to ensure your vehicle stops safely. Unstable road conditions and sudden weather-related stops are not the time for you to discover your brakes have no pad left!
A hefty car repair bill can be quite the bummer during the holiday season, so be sure to keep up on your vehicle’s maintenance. Preventative maintenance will keep your vehicle running longer and save you money in the long run.
Steve Smyth, COO for Smyth Automotive recently provided expert advice for preparing your car for the family summer road trip. For the full article visit http://expertbeacon.com/expert-advice-preparing-your-car-family-summer-road-trip/#.UxoUpjYo4dU
For the full video clip, click the link below: