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Driving Economically >> Gas Mileage

Help Improve Fuel Economy With Proper Vehicle Maintenance

(NAPSI)-High fuel prices make motorists more concerned than ever about saving money at the pump.

Relief is here: keeping up with regular vehicle maintenance can improve fuel economy. Clogged fuel injectors and air filters, dirty spark plugs and underinflated tires make engines and other vehicle components work harder and consume more gas.

"With our busy lifestyles, taking the time to have routine vehicle maintenance performed can seem like busywork, but it pays off in numerous ways," said Peter Lord, executive director, GM Service Operations. "Regular vehicle maintenance and inspections can help improve a vehicle's fuel efficiency and achieve peak performance."

Here are tips.

Travel Tips

Be a Planner: Map your route beforehand to maximize efficiency.

Control Clutter: Avoid packing unnecessary items-according to the Environmental Protection Agency an extra 100 pounds in the trunk can reduce fuel economy by up to 22 percent or about six cents per gallon.

Take a Cruise: Cruise control helps you maintain a constant speed on the highway and can help save gas.

Avoid Idling: It's a prime fuel waster. When tailgating, don't use the vehicle's heater to keep warm; bring a boom-box to listen to the pre-game instead of the car radio.

Drive Smart: Hard starts, stops and other forms of aggressive driving can reduce fuel economy 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, according to the EPA. Motorists can save between 15 cents and $1.01 per gallon driving sensibly.

Relax: Contrary to popular belief, the faster you go, the more fuel you use. The EPA estimates every five miles you drive over 60 mph equals an extra 21 cents per gallon of gas. Plan ahead and allow yourself a little extra time. When possible, drive your household's most fuel-efficient vehicle.

Maintenance Tips

For extra security on the road, bring your vehicle in for an inspection. Inspections identify service items that can help vehicles run better, last longer, retain value and provide optimal safety and security. Consider the following inspections:

Batteries: Weak batteries can lead to breakdowns-possibly at the worst time and place.

Brakes: An expert inspection can determine whether brakes are functioning properly with full braking capability.

Windshield wipers: Old or worn windshield wipers can lead to poor visibility.

Headlamps: Properly aimed headlamps are a must for optimal visibility.

Oil: Change the oil and filter at recommended intervals to minimize engine wear and reduce the possibility of internal damage. Many 2004 and newer GM vehicles follow the Simplified Maintenance schedule which can save both oil and money. Check your Owner's Manual for recommended intervals.

Fluid levels: Improper fluid levels-coolant, oil, power steering, transmission, brake fluid and washer solvent-can hurt vehicle performance, durability and safety.

Belts and hoses: A broken belt or ruptured hose can cause costly engine damage and travel delays.

What is a Multi-Point


In addition to checking the brakes, tires, fluids and battery, dealerships offer inspection of:

• Exhaust systems

• Engine air-cleaner filters

• Transmission, drive shaft and u-joints

• Suspension and steering components

• Radiator, heater and air-conditioning hoses

• Interior lights, exterior lamps, brake lamps, turn signals and hazard warning lights.

Goodwrench is the service brand for GM vehicles. With dealerships located nationwide, the network is one of the largest in the industry. Its technicians receive specialized training to provide expert care for cars and trucks. Genuine GM replacement parts are manufactured to the exact specifications of the vehicle. For more information, visit

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