Auto Repair, Auto Service, Summer Road Trips | Angies List Tips
Vehicles that are driven gently and serviced regularly last longer and experience fewer problems.
- If you read nothing else in the car manual, read the preventative maintenance schedule and follow it. You'll save in the long run by detecting problems in their early stages. If you're pressured to buy a service your manufacturer doesn’t recommend, chances are you don’t need it. You may need a new technician, though.
- Driving the speed limit will increase your fuel efficiency. Don’t race from red light to red light. Avoid sharp turns, slamming on the brakes and other habits that put stress on your car.
- Avoid driving on an empty tank. The bottom of the gas tank collects sediment from gasoline which can travel into the nearby fuel pump and result in low fuel-efficiency.
- Schedule an annual maintenance check shortly before your area’s most extreme weather sets in.
- Equip your car with an emergency kit of high-energy snacks, bottled water, shovel, blanket, cell phone battery charger, tire repair tools, flashlight and flares.
- Don't skip regular oil changes, which should be done every 3,000 to 4,000 miles on most cars. Check your owner’s manual to see if your car has a specific oil type, and make sure your mechanic uses it.
- A car wash does more than just clean your car. Regular washing, especially the underbody and in the winter for cold-weather areas, makes an enormous difference in a car’s longevity. Brake fluid and fuel lines run along a car’s underbody, which is subjected to a lot of dirt, water and salt -- all of which lead straight to rust.
- Keep a detailed log of any issues and when they occur; like bad weather or a particular speed. This detail will help your mechanic diagnose the problem. Related: How to avoid auto repair hassles
- Regularly monitor your tire inflation and mileage to save money at the gas pump and in the repair shop. Proper tire inflation helps you get better gas mileage. A drop in fuel efficiency is often the first warning sign of a problem, so monitoring your mileage can catch a problem before it gets too big (and expensive).
- If your "check engine" light flashes, stop the car as soon as possible. Driving even a few miles with an engine problem can wreak major havoc and cost you more in the long-run.
- If you're planning a road trip, take your car to a reliable auto repair shop for a thorough check-up two weeks before your vacation. Make sure to let them know you'll be taking a road trip in the near future, so if there's an issue, you'll have time to get it addressed.