The Tips Bank 

Tips to make your vehicle
                      go the distance
 
                                  Adapted from "Drive the Best..."        
                                           © 2001 by Kyle Busch
                                                       
If you are living on a budget, or even on an unlimited budget,
you know how important it is to make the most of what you
have.
                                                                           
Getting More Miles Out of Your Car
The following are some tips that will help you to get more miles 
out of your vehicle.
 
     -  First, consider, does your vehicle actually have the 
        ability to run many miles without incurring costly
        repairs? An easy way to find out is to visit a public
        library to consult the frequency- of-repair information
        in the April magazine issue of Consumer Reports.   
        If the vehicle that you are driving has a reasonable
        repair history, it is worthwhile to drive it until your
        heart is content. However, if it has a very poor repair
        history, it might be time to consider buying a
        vehicle that has better ratings, and fuel efficiency.  
 
     -  Assuming that you want to extend the life of your 
        vehicle, at the beginning of each month, have the 
        engine oil level checked to make certain that it is 
        at the full-level mark on the dipstick. Today's
        engines have extremely close tolerances thus
        making liberation as impotent as ever. This is
        apparent when marquee names such as Porsche
        and BMW are building engines with multiple oil
        pumps to insure engine liberation regardless of if
        the vehicle is charging up a steep hill or thrown
        into a banked turn. Buy two liters of oil that are
        on sale and keep them in the boot. Then, if the
        engine needs oil, you will not get stuck paying
        three times what the oil should cost.
         
        Note: Be certain to only use the type of oil and other
        fluids as specified in the vehicle owner's manual. If you 
        need assistance to understand the owner's manual, visit 
        the dealership that sells your make of vehicle, and write 
        down the type of oil and other fluids to be used in your
        vehicle.
 
     -  Every three months (more often, however, if specified
        by your vehicle owner's manual) and before leaving for
        and upon returning from a trip, check (or have a service 
        station attendant check) the tire pressure and the other
        fluids that include: 
        Be certain to observe what the service station attendant 
        does and ask questions, because you can likely check 
        these items. 
 
        Why is it so important to keep the fluids at their full-level 
        marks? Because the fluids lubricate moving parts to 
        reduce fiction, heat, and wear. Therefore, If a part wears 
        because of a lack of fluid, providing all the fluid in future
        will not repair the damaged part.
 
     -  If you drive 16,000 km (10,000 miles) or more per
        year, have the engine oil and oil filter changed every
        4,800 to 5,600 km (3,000 to 3,500 miles) or about 
        every four months. If you drive 9,600 km (6,000
        miles) or less per year, have the engine oil and oil filter 
        changed at the beginning of spring and near the end of
        fall. Condensation (water) will build-up in the oil of a
        car that is sitting. Therefore, even if the vehicle is only
        driven a few thousand miles per year, the oil should
        be changed in the spring and in the fall. An easy way 
        to remember oil changes is to mark a new calendar 
        at the beginning of a year with "oil change" reminders 
        (i.e., March,  July, and November or May and
        November). 
 
        Note: Service stations run specials in the newspaper 
        for oil changes (i.e., $10.99 - $13.99 (UK Pounds  9.50 - 10.00 )). 
        However, make certain that the station is reputable.
        Some service stations have been known to skip 
        changing the oil or to do part of the job by changing
        the oil but not the oil filter. Consider using a black 
        marker to put an X on the oil filter after an oil change.
        When the next oil change has been completed, a newly
        installed filter should not include an X.  
 
     -  Before the cold of winter sets in, have a service station 
        attendant check the antifreeze in the clear plastic coolant 
        bottle with a hydrometer (a device that takes a sample of
        antifreeze and specifies how cold the temperature can 
        become before the antifreeze freezes). The antifreeze in 
        your vehicle should be able to withstand (i.e., not freeze) 
        temperatures of at least 17 Celsius (30 degrees) "below
        the coldest" winter temperature.
                   
        Note: There should be no cost to have the antifreeze 
        checked with a hydrometer. If the antifreeze in your
        vehicle is too weak, have additional antifreeze added
        to the coolant bottle. Antifreeze can be purchased at 
        many department stores. Purchase the type of antifreeze
        as specified in the vehicle owner's manual (i.e., usually a
        type that is suitable for "aluminum and all types of metals" 
        that are used today's engines).
 
        Why is it important for the antifreeze not to freeze
        during the winter? Because frozen antifreeze can crack
        an engine's block which could result in possibly thousands
        of pounds for the repair.
 
     -  If you drive over 10,000 miles (16,000 km) per year,
        have the engine air filter changed once a year in the
        spring. If you drive about 6,000 miles (9,600 km) or 
        less per year, have the engine air filter changed once 
        every two years. Note: Discount stores sometimes run
        sales on vehicle air filters. If necessary, ask the clerk
        who works in the auto department to help you to look
        up the number (remember to write it down for future 
        reference) of the correct air filter for your specific
        vehicle (take the vehicle owner's manual with you into
        the store to reference the size of the engine, but be
        certain that you do not forget it and thus leave the 
        store without it).
 
     -  In the spring and the fall give the vehicle a thorough
        wash, tar removal, and wax. When washing the vehicle
        in-between the seasonal waxes, use a car wash product
        that is safe for clear coat and waxed finishes.
 
     -  Basic vehicle maintenance is an ongoing process.
        The secret to making it "easy" and keeping a vehicle
        "looking great" involves two components. First,
        maintaining regular vehicle involvement and second,
        only doing a little at a time.
 
        Each week throughout the year (in addition to the
        maintenance suggested above) take only about
        10-15 minutes to focus on a small aspect of the
        vehicle. For example, one week wash the windows.
        The next week, vacuum the carpet, and the following
        week, treat the dash and the door panels etc.,
        etc. After about three months, one of the "small jobs" 
        will be ready to be repeated. However, the vehicle
        will never be in rough shape. Doing a "small but
        thorough" job on one specific aspect of the vehicle
        each week, requires very little time or energy. Having
        a vehicle that continually "looks great" makes it
        worthwhile.
 
The tips provided above are the most basic maintenance 
requirements that will help your vehicle to run longer. 
Remember to reference the vehicle owner's manual for 
any additional maintenance required on your vehicle. 
 
Basic vehicle maintenance involves a minimal investment of
time and money, but it can provide major benefits in vehicle
performance and lower repair costs. Additionally, your vehicle
will be in better condition when it becomes time to sell.
 
 
Buy the book. Kyle's book, "Drive the Best..."  is the source of these articles and many of the invaluable motoring tips to be found on our Websites. Saving money, improving reliability and having a more attractive automobile are just some of the things you can have if you read and apply some of the gems found in his book.  
 

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