Are You Ready For The Road?
An average of 13,000 Americans are killed between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, some as a result of unperformed vehicle maintenance, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Each year, neglected maintenance leads to more than 2,600 deaths, nearly 100,000 disabling injuries and more than $2 billion in lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.
Most mechanical failures can be traced to neglected maintenance. For example, the U. S. Department of Transportation reports the leading cause of mechanical breakdown on our nation's highways is overheating, a condition that is easily avoidable. Other deficiencies that are simple to detect include low antifreeze/coolant, worn or loose drive belts and defective cooling system hoses.
Checking tire pressure and inflating a tire costs nothing, yet an average of 21 percent of cars inspected in check lanes during National Car Care Month have under inflated tires. This can lead to a blowout and a serious accident.
Fuel Saving Tips
|Condition||Effect||MPG Penalty up to|
|Under inflated tires||Increase rolling resistance||1-2mpg|
|Dirty air filter||Causes excessively rich fuel/air mixture||2.0mpg|
|Worn spark plugs||Cause inefficient combustion, wasted fuel||2.0mpg|
|Worn O2 sensor||Unable to detect and adjust air/fuel mixture||3mpg|
|Dirty or substandard engine oil||Increases internal engine friction||0.4mpg|
|Loose gas cap||Allows fuel to evaporate||2.0mpg|
|Potential loss in fuel economy if all of the above were neglected||11.4mpg|
The Car Care Council offers these fuel-saving tips:
Fuel-saving driving tips include:
WIPERS - In the 2001National Car Care Month vehicle check lanes, 21percent of participants had wipers that smeared, streaked or chattered across their windshields. Although climates vary, wipers generally need replacing every six months. An easy reminder is to change wiper blades in the spring and fall when you change your clock. Be sure the windshield washers are working properly, too, and keep the reservoir filled with solvent.
LIGHTING - Another important pre-trip check should be exterior and interior lighting. Vehicle check lanes revealed an overall failure rate of over 25 percent in the lighting category. The Car Care Council reminds motorists to check their lights monthly. Other suggestions from the Council include turning on headlights both day and night. This helps define your car's position on the road, and its distance from other drivers. When your vehicle's lighting is defective, other motorists may not get the message that you intend to stop or turn. The end result could be disastrous.
10 Minute Pre-Trip Checkup Can Pay Off
Car Care Council offers three suggestions for a traveler's 10-minute pre-trip checklist:
"While a last minute checkup is better than no checkup, motorists should plan ahead to allow time to perform necessary maintenance themselves or at the local service facility. A properly maintained vehicle is safer and more dependable and will even save a few dollars at the gas pumps," said the Car Care Council's Executive Director, Rich White.
Not only can a pre-trip inspection help reduce chances of costly and possibly dangerous road trouble, it also provides an opportunity to have repairs made at home, with one's own technician who knows the vehicle. Especially important, it provides peace of mind. While no inspection can guarantee a car's performance, it's comforting to know proper precautions were taken.
My friend advised that I go the AASTRO Transmission on East Broadway and ask for John. He is a Master Mechanic and I was told he would run a diagnostic on my 2004 Lexus 330ES. I have 108K miles on it. When I brought it in I was thinking my transmission might be the problem (Sluggish, skipping during acceleration). Gloria was the gal at the front desk and actually asked John to come up front to meet me. She is an excellent representative and face for the business in meeting with the customers. I use Lexus of Tucson and also used a Mom and Pop shop for my 3K oil change. When I asked them about the sluggish performance they recommended that I use Premium gas. So, I have been doing that for a year but still couldn't out run my girlfriend's Prius. John has the capability and owns his own very expensive equipment to diagnose just about any car and along with that a very large TV screen to view the results. To make a long story short, John ran the diagnostics. He said I had a very well-maintained car but made a couple of changes and recommendations: He put back standard motor oil, he said based on the schematics and OEM recommendations of the 2004 Lexus to not use synthetic. In looking at my invoice the services provided: Motor Vac Fuel Injection & Decarb, which included: clean fuel injector, fuel rail, throttle body, combustion chamber and exhaust system all in compliance with OEM recommended maintenance. AASTRO did the 3K mile maintenance and I believe this shop automatically does a 41-point Inspection. I personally went back to see John's work station, tools and diagnostics area. Very impressive and clean. My invoice was around $300. So, now my car performs like never before, I find myself getting to the speed limit faster and getting to that speed without it skipping and not sluggish. I am so happy with my car and will continue to use AASTRO. I live by Ina Road and knew they had a shop there but my friend insisted I see John. My 3K mile oil changes will be done at this company but I will go to the Ina Rd shop. Anything major? Back to John. Oh, and on that note John also advised me that I could use regular as opposed to premium gasoline as per the Manufacturers' recommendation. I will save at the pump and I am grateful to my friend for the recommendation and appreciate John's incredible knowledge and passion for wanting to get things done correctly.
Patrick and his team jumped on an unexpected problem with our Chrysler 300. The radiator cracked and we had just enough time to get it replaced. Between price, service and attitude I can't say which was better.
I took my car in for a problem. It was quickly diagnosed & the cost was minimal. The guys really know their stuff.
Just the usual great service.
I have always received great service & great advice. My questions are always answered honestly.
Your staff were very courteous & professional. They explained everything in detail and were exceptional in helping keep the repair affordable. They were honest & up front about everything. I came away feeling my repair needs were given the highest priority. Thanks.
Thank you for showing me my serpentine belt. I was told by others it needed replacing and you showed me that the belt was still O.K. - appreciate your honesty.
Your staff is always very accommodating & go out of their way to help you.
I am very happy because I have less worries about my car.
Thank you for all the personal attention - I hope I can find as trustworthy & conscientious group of mechanics where I live now.
They have been good people to deal with.
Very courteous staff, I was taken care of right away. Staff went above & beyond.
I was treated with care and given detailed explanations for everything.
I have been using AASTRO to service my cars for about 10 years. I have always received great service.
Your staff was awesome. Very professional, courteous, friendly & helpful.
Excellent repair personnel - nice people to deal with.
So thankful for their assistance while traveling! Exceptional service by caring folks. Highly recommend!