Most people don't realize that even small problems with the way their car is running could be costing them fuel economy. If your car is not running at peak performance then you are loosing gas and money every time you drive it.
Many problems with your car can be corrected or identified with some simple things you can do on a regular basis. Not only will you be saving gas by keeping your car running at its optimum, you may also be heading off costly repair bills.
More important than either of these is that you will be keeping your car as safe as it can be. You may prevent a critical failure that could result in an accident.
Most maintenance should be left to the professionals. However, once a month you should perform the following checks to help identify and head off problems that can cost you fuel and money down the road:
1. Check tire pressure and look for signs of uneven wear or embedded objects that can cause air leaks. In winter, check tire pressure whenever there is a sharp change in temperature.
2. Check around the car and under the engine for fluid leaks. You can often identify the type of fluid that is leaking by its color. Oil is black, coolant is a bright greenish yellow, automatic transmission fluid is pink, and power steering and brake fluids are clear, with a slight brown tinge. All of these fluids are oily to the touch.
3. Check fluid levels, including engine oil, engine coolant level, transmission fluid and power steering fluid, according to the instructions in the owner's manual.
4. Check under the hood for cracked or split spark plug wires, cracked radiator hoses or loose clamps and corrosion around the battery terminals.
5. Check for problems with the brakes. On a straight, flat and traffic-free stretch of road, rest your hands lightly on the steering wheel and apply the brakes gradually. If the vehicle swerves to one side, one of the brake linings may be worn more than the other, or the brakes may need adjustment.
6. Use a similar test to check for problems with wheel alignment. On a straight, flat and traffic-free stretch of road, rest your hands lightly on the steering wheel and drive at an even speed. If the vehicle pulls to one side, the wheels may be misaligned.
These are the basic things you can check on your car monthly. Doing this will keep your car running at its best. A car that is running properly will save you gas, save you money and keep you safe!
Scott Siegel shows you how to cope with high gas prices. He is the author of a 143 page manual of industry insider information on saving gas and money at the pump. Visit us to learn how you can get better gas mileage . Find out how to increase gas mileage .