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What you need to know to improve your vehicle’s longevity

June 2, 2010

Courtesy of ARA Content

A number of car care considerations can protect the performance and longevity of your vehicle, beginning with motor oil—your vehicle’s life blood, says Jody DeVere, automotive expert and CEO of AskPatty.com.

“You can save time and aggravation by choosing your motor oil wisely,” says DeVere. “Using the wrong type and grade—or a low-quality oil that does not meet industry standards—in your vehicle may impact fuel economy and engine performance.”

High-quality motor oils are designed to fulfill the demands that apply to millions of cars. Pennzoil and Quaker State, for example, invest heavily in comprehensive product testing—in the lab, on the road and at the racetrack—to ensure its oils meet the demands of today’s engines. Oils that do not meet required specifications can lead to costly engine repairs or could ultimately void the vehicle’s warranty. An informative Web site—www.MotorOilMatters.org—answers motor oil questions and dispels many common myths.

Following this simple checklist of tips can also help keep your vehicle running longer, safer and more cost-effectively:

Pump high-quality gasoline

Not all gasolines are the same, and no matter what grade of fuel a vehicle requires, it’s important to use a high-quality gasoline. Industry research confirms a clean engine can result in better fuel efficiency, reduced emissions and overall optimal engine performance. Fortunately, keeping the engine clean of performance-robbing “gunk” helps it perform better. It’s as easy as choosing the right gasoline. For example, Shell’s Nitrogen-Enriched Gasolines contain a patented cleaning system that not only cleans, but protects critical engine parts against gunk to help improve engine performance as you drive.

Don’t lose your grip

Tires are a car’s only connection to the road, so making sure they are in good shape and properly inflated is essential for automotive safety, optimum driving performance and potential cost savings, including better fuel mileage. Tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations printed on the vehicle door placard or in the owner’s manual. Properly inflated tires can improve gas mileage by around 3.3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Let the car breathe free

Check that the air filter isn’t clogged. According to the Department of Transportation, replacing a clogged air filter on cars with fuel-injected, computer-controlled gasoline engines can improve acceleration time by 6 to 11 percent. This kind of engine is prevalent on most gasoline cars manufactured from the early 1980s onward. Tests suggest replacing a clogged air filter on an older car with a carbureted engine may help to maximize fuel economy 2 to 6 percent under normal replacement conditions, or up to 14 percent if the filter is so clogged it significantly affects drivability.

You can’t avoid what you don’t see

Ninety percent of all driving decisions are made based upon visual input. Make sure you have a clear view of the other vehicles on the road and potentially hazardous obstacles. Inspect your wiper blades and replace them with a quality brand blade, like Rain-X, if they are cracked, torn, cut or streaking, so you can see clearly.

Regular tune-ups pay off over the long term

Before taking a long trip, visit a trusted professional and make sure your car is properly tuned. Depending on the kind of repair and how well it is performed, regular vehicle maintenance can improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent, according to the Department of Energy.

For more information, as well as helpful tips and advice about motor oil, visit MotorOilMatters.org or for additional women-friendly automotive advice, visit AskPatty.com.

From the June 2-8, 2010 issue

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