Should You Know About Get More Miles Out of Your Car or Truck

Due to the current economic climate, many Americans are becoming less willing to make expensive purchases. Even the nation’s long-held love affair with the automobile hasn’t escaped the penny-pinching trend.

The latest trends demonstrate that Americans are trying to stretch the mileage of their current vehicles. In 2006, the average car owner drove their car for 68 months before trading it in for a new vehicle. By the fourth quarter of 2008, the average trade-in was 76 months old.

The following simple and inexpensive preventive checks provided by The Automotive Service Association (www.ASAshop.org), which represents thousands of repair shops nationwide, will greatly extend the life of the vehicle and ensure safer operation:

– Always consult your owner’s manual, but a good rule of thumb is to have the oil and filter changed regularly, every 3,000 to 4,000 miles.

– Have all fluids checked, including brake, power steering, transmission and transaxle, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze. These fluids play a large role in the safety and performance of the vehicle.

– Keep your engine tuned. A fouled spark plug or restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.

– Have the chassis lubricated frequently. This step extends the life of the moving components of the vehicle’s suspension system.

– Check battery cables and connections for corrosion, and clean them as needed.

– Have the lighting system checked frequently, including headlights, turn signals and brake and tail lights.

– Check windshield wiper blades for cracks, tears and windshield contact. Replace them approximately once a year or sooner if streaking begins.

– Inspect engine belts regularly. Worn belts will affect the engine performance. Look for cracks and missing sections or segments.

– Have the air filtration system checked frequently. The air filter should be checked approximately every other oil change for clogging or damage. This system ensures that the vehicle is performing at its peak condition.

Always consult the vehicle owner’s manual for individual service schedules as manufacturer maintenance requirements will vary.

Car Repairs Now Can Save Your Money

Drivers are holding on to their cars longer in these tough economic times, so AutoZone, the nation’s leading auto parts retailer, is offering tips to help motorists get the most out of their investment.

“Holding off on purchasing a new vehicle can be a smart financial decision, especially if drivers properly maintain their vehicles to ensure they’re running safely and efficiently,” said Steve Stoll, Merchandising Director of AutoZone. “Maintaining and replacing key components, such as brakes and batteries, can keep vehicles on the road and help prevent costly repairs in the future.”

The average length of time consumers hold on to their vehicles is more than five years, according to a recent automotive industry study. Older cars can be safe and dependable, but need ongoing maintenance to keep them running at their best. According to the National Car Council, 80 percent of vehicles on the road are in need of service or parts.

Motorists who know the signs of impending failure and understand the impact extreme weather conditions can have on various car components, can plan ahead for repairs and replacements instead of being hit by an unexpected bill down the road, Stoll said.

“The longer car maintenance is delayed, the more costly it can be,” said Stoll.

Two key components in any vehicle are the braking system and the battery. AutoZone experts offer the following tips to ensure these vital parts are properly maintained.

Give Brakes A Winter Check-up.

Excessive build-up of road salt and brine solutions in the winter on brake components is one cause of brake failure. These solutions can create contamination of exposed brake parts and can cause brake components to deteriorate prematurely. Hazardous road conditions can also lead to increased use of Antilock Braking Systems (ABS), which can cause premature wear of all brake system components.

As temperatures warm up, motorists should check their braking systems to uncover any damage that may have occurred during the winter months.

Check Brakes Quarterly To Ensure Proper Performance.

In general, brakes are the most important safety feature on any vehicle and should be checked quarterly to ensure proper performance. Brake pads and rotors should also be checked any time the tires are removed, such as during a tire rotation. Other brake components such as brake fluid should be checked at every oil change.

Extreme Temperatures Can Mean Battery Failure.

A battery’s biggest enemy is heat. High temperatures can cause the grids inside batteries to corrode and break down. The effects of the corrosion are usually seen when winter hits, when the car requires more electrical power to start. Drivers should have batteries tested up to twice a year in normal climates, and more frequently in extremely hot or cold climates.

Retailers Such As AutoZone Offer Free Battery Testing.

Replace the battery every three to four years.

While batteries can last more than five years in ideal driving conditions, factors such as temperature, the car’s age and nature of usage can impact the life of a battery. Many motorists are unaware that under the stress of normal city driving, the average life of a vehicle battery is about three years.

Learn More About Auto Tech

Auto Repair Advice: Learn To Speak “Auto Tech” will show you how to speak to your automotive technician so he will understand exactly what is wrong with your car.

(NAPSI)-You may be better able to stay on the road to safety and savings the next time you need to have your car repaired if you select a quality facility and learn to speak a little “auto tech.”

When communicating with an automotive technician, AAA recommends motorists do the following:

• Before taking the vehicle to a repair facility, write down the symptoms and any performance issues so important information is not overlooked or forgotten.

• Describe the symptoms to the technician. Explain what has been seen, smelled, heard and felt while driving the vehicle. For example, does it vibrate or pull to the left? Explain under what type of driving conditions the problem takes place and how long ago it started.

• When describing symptoms, refer to the driver side and passenger side of the vehicle rather than the right or left side.

• If the vehicle has been serviced recently, bring copies of the previous repair orders rather than trying to explain what work was done.

• Ask questions if the technician uses jargon you don’t understand or if something is not thoroughly explained. Quality technicians will take the time to clearly explain the problem before offering a repair solution.

• Always read the repair order before signing it and authorizing any work. Look for specific instructions detailing the maintenance to be done, the problem to be corrected and the work to be performed. If the language is vague or unclear, ask that it be rewritten.

To help motorists get good repairs, AAA, the country’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, has more than 8,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America.