Gas Saving Tips for Your Auto
While it is always wise to conserve natural resources, the recent price of
gasoline has made even the most wasteful people think twice. Whatever your
motivation, here are some gas saving tips from the pros at the National
Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
- Monitor tires. Under inflated tires or poorly aligned wheels
waste fuel by forcing the engine to work harder. (Let the tires cool down before
checking the air pressure.) Out-of-line wheels, as evidenced by uneven tread
wear, should be aligned by a professional.
- Remove excess weight. Remove unnecessary items from the
vehicle. Store only essentials in the trunk. Less weight means better mileage.
- Consolidate trips and errands. Some trips may be
unnecessary. Also, try to travel when traffic is light so you can avoid
- Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting
for friends and family.
- Observe speed limits. Speeding decreases your miles per
- Drive gently. Sudden accelerations guzzle gas. Anticipate
traffic patterns ahead and adjust your speed gradually.
- Use windows and air conditioning wisely. Your mileage should
improve if you keep the windows closed at highway speeds, since air drag is
reduced. This is true even with the air conditioning on-assuming that the system
is in good working order. But turn the air conditioning off in stop-and-go
traffic to save fuel.
- Keep your engine "tuned up." A well-maintained engine
operates at peak efficiency, maximizing gas mileage. Follow the service
schedules listed in the owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as
recommended; have engine performance problems (rough idling, poor acceleration,
etc.) corrected at a repair facility. Given today's high-tech engines, it's wise
to have this type of work done by auto technicians who are ASE certified in
These conservation tips will not only save gasoline, they'll help extend the
life of your vehicle. Win-win, indeed.
Choosing the Right Repair Shop
No matter what you drive - sports car, family sedan, pick-up, or mini-van,
when you go in for repairs or service, you want the job done right. The
following advice should take much of the guesswork out of finding a good repair
Don't just drop your vehicle off at the nearest establishment and hope for
the best. That's not choosing a shop, that's merely gambling.
- Read your owner's manual to become familiar with your vehicle and follow the
manufacturer's suggested service schedule.
- Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one; you can make
better decisions when you are not rushed or in a panic.
- Ask friends and associates for recommendations; even in this high-tech era,
old-fashioned word of mouth reputation is valuable.
- Check with your local consumer organization(s) regarding the reputation of
the business. Inquire about complaints and the rate of resolution of complaints.
- If possible, arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not
feel forced to choose a shop solely on location.
Once you choose a repair shop, start off with a minor job;
if you are pleased, trust them with more complicated repairs
II. At the Shop
- Look for a neat, well organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot
equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.
- Professionally run establishments will have a courteous, helpful staff. The
service writer should be willing to answer all of your questions.
- All policies (labor rates, guarantees, methods of payment, etc.) should be
posted and/or explained to your satisfaction.
- Ask if the shop customarily handles your vehicle make and model. Some
- Ask if the shop usually does your type of repair, especially if you need
- Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area: civic and
community service awards, membership in the Better Business Bureau, AAA-Approved
Auto Repair status, customer service awards.
- Look for evidence of qualified technicians, such as trade school diplomas,
certificates of advanced course work, and ASE certifications - a national
standard of technician competence.
The backbone of any shop is the competence of its
- Keep good records; keep all paperwork.
- Reward good service with repeat business. It is mutually beneficial to you
and the shop owner to establish a relationship.
- If the service was not all you expected, don't rush to another shop. Discuss
the problem with the service manager or owner. Give the business a chance to
resolve the problem. Reputable shops value customer feedback and will make a
sincere effort to keep your business.
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