Key tips to maintaining your car

Regular oil changes are a key maintenance item to help keep your car running longer. (Photo by Fred Patton)

Regular oil changes are a key maintenance item to help keep your car running longer. (Photo by Fred Patton)

Top-rated Angie's List mechanics agree: Following a few simple rules will keep your car running at maximum efficiency.

Quench the thirst: "Fluids are really important for fuel and overall efficiency of a vehicle," says Dale Donovan, owner of highly rated Donovan's Auto and Tire Center in Cincinnati. "Pay attention to the manufacturer's timetable for changing oil, power steering, brake and transmission fluids."

Wash it off: "Keeping you car clean is important," says Pat Gibbons, manager of Brandon Auto Clinic Inc. in Brandon, Fla. "Especially the underbody. It needs to stay clean of dust and debris so it doesn't maintain moisture and speed up the process of rusting."

Get smart: "Keep the car tuned up and don't idle too much," says Brandt Lucido, owner of highly rated One Stop Automotive in Dallas. "Shut the car off when you can and plan your trips to make the route as efficient as possible."

Toss that lead foot: "Speeding and rapid acceleration and deceleration really make your gas mileage suffer," Gibbons says. "Not to mention it's bad for your transmission. Also, avoid driving while you're on the phone. Not only is it unsafe, but it takes your attention away from how you're accelerating and decelerating."

Pump it up: Air pressure is the No. 1 thing you can do to improve mileage. "If you've pedaled a bike with flat tires, you know why," Donovan says. "You have to work harder and so does your car."


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