- Avoid short trips. If a car doesn't run long enough, condensation can't evaporate from its components, causing rust. Combine short errands or walk to nearby stores to save wear on your vehicle.
- Drive more safely. Abrupt stops wear down brakes. Speeding wastes gas -; according to the U.S. Department of Energy, every five mph over 60 mph adds another 15 cents to your gasoline bill.
- Buy gas in the morning. Colder temperatures mean denser gasoline, and gas stations charge by volume, not density. Fueling up when the air feels cool means more gas for less money.
- Keep your weight down. Do you really need golf clubs, a cooler and lounge chairs in your trunk when you head to the office? Reducing the amount of weight in your car improves gas mileage.
- Check your tires. Inflate your tires according to your manufacturer's recommendations.
You need an expert to:
- Check your battery cables. A technician can safely check cables and posts for corrosion, then make needed repairs.
- Inspect engine belts. Experts know how to recognize engine belt damage. Cracks and missing segments can affect engine performance.
- Check the engine. Trained eyes notice problems that yours may not, like fouled spark plugs or restricted fuel injectors, which can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 30 percent.
- Check the computer system. The "check engine" light isn't something to ignore -; it signals a malfunction in a computer-controlled system or part. The light could mean that the engine is malfunctioning and wasting fuel, or that a system is about to fail. Get computers checked at 30,000, 60,000 and 90,000 miles, and whenever the "check engine" light turns on or blinks. Only a trained technician can fix computer system problems.
- Check the suspension, drive train and steering. Minor collisions, potholes and rough roads can cause damage invisible to untrained eyes.
ASA members agree to adhere to ASA's Code of Ethics. To find your nearest ASA shop, visit www.ASAshop.org.