High Mileage Car Tips to Extend your Vehicle's life.
Is it luck that some drivers keep their vehicle trouble free for many years—even decades. Some drivers don’t even make it past 60,000 miles without major problems. The longevity of your vehicle can depend on what type you own, but driving and maintenance habits also are crucial. A few proven techniques can help keep your vehicle running beyond the 300,000-mile mark.
Coast as much as possible. Plan your approach to red lights, stop signs and turns long before you reach them. Don’t accelerate and then step on the brake at the last moment—that wears down brakes quickly.
Accelerate slowly. Flooring the gas pedal when the engine is cold is a major reason for blown head gaskets. Drive as though you have an egg between your foot and the gas pedal..
Allow the engine to warm-up, especially when it's cold — let the vehicle idle until warm, don't rev the engine. To help flush contaminants from the motor oil, drive at highway speeds for 30 minutes at least once a month.
Run the air conditioner or windshield defroster at least once a month (even in cooler weather) for about a minute to circulate oil through the heating and cooling system.
To prevent adding an extra load on the engine, allow your engine to run for a minute before turning on heating or cooling so that it is lubricated before you turn on the windshield defroster or air conditioner.
Use the parking brake. If you don’t use it at least once a week while parked—even if you’re not parked on an incline—the parking brake can freeze up and fail to release.
Wind down turbocharged engines. The engine should be allowed to idle a few minutes before you shut it down. This allows the turbo to stop spinning while it is still being lubricated with motor oil. (Don’t close the garage door until the engine is off.)
With manual transmissions, use the brakes and not the gears to slow down—brakes are cheaper to replace than the transmission.
With automatic transmissions, shift into park when idling for extended periods to allow the transmission to cool down. Don’t idle for long periods in neutral, because some bearings are not lubricated in neutral.
Try to use a gas additive with every fill-up because modern gasoline doesn’t contain enough detergents to keep the fuel system clean. Avoid additives that contain methanol, methyl, alcohol, xylene, toluene or acetone—these can damage the fuel system hoses and pump.
Use the octane called for in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.
Don’t let the fuel level drop below one-quarter tank.
Don’t fill the tank to the top of the filler neck. ROUTINE MAINTENANCE
Determine the normal life expectancy for major parts so that you can replace them before they fail.
Example: Most people never think to replace their radiator, but a radiator should be changed every 10 years or 150,000 miles—or sooner, depending on your driving conditions.
A great number of muscle cars have rolled off the factor floors since the early years of muscle cars back in the 1960s — The Mustang, Charger, Camaro and so many other muscle cars can lay claim to being “most powerful.” So, what makes a muscle car the most powerful muscle car ever? It has to be horsepower — after all, power is in its name. — But, does size matter? How about torque? Displacement? Does a supercharger help? I think we can agree that it all matters when making the most powerful muscle car. Everything about the car is important, but especially the engine. Quite simply, it needs to have power! Today, the most powerful muscle car ever is a fairly new car. It's an old name, but a lot more muscle. With an unprecedented 707 horsepower HEMI Hellcat 6.2-liter engine and 650 lb.-ft. of torque, it's the most powerful muscle car ever. Dodge's most powerful V-8 is the Challenger SRT Hellcat. The Challenger's new 6.2-liter Supercharged Hellcat engine is also the first factory supercharged HEMI. This is Dodge and SRT's first application of V-8 supercharger technology. For the first time in Chrysler Group history, the all-new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with a Hellcat engine comes standard with two key fobs -- red and black. The red key fob is the only key that can unlock the full 707 horsepower and torque potential of the Challenger SRT Hellcat engine; while the black key fob limits the driver to a reduced engine output of 500 horsepower. This Challenger is without doubt the most powerful muscle car ever and has been redesigned and re-engineered with performance-enhancing technologies inside and out, including the new TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-new interior inspired by the classic 1971 Challenger. The 2015 Dodge Challenger and Challenger SRTs are built at the Brampton, Ontario, Assembly Plant.
Why does your mechanic, your mother and father, and everyone else, keep reminding you that changing your oil is so very important? Hopefully, after you read this you'll be convinced to get your car's oil changed regularly. What is an oil change for, exactly? Oil is used to lubricate the instruments. The lubrication is important to prevent friction; elements rubbing against each other create energy. Because the engine demands so much use from the oil, eventually the chemical compound of the motor oil breaks down and no longer provides lubrication. Without lubrication, engine parts rub directly against each other, the results of which can cause severe damage and, ultimately, stop working. Therefore, old, less effective oil needs to be drained and new, fresh oil needs to be added to ensure proper lubrication. Twenty to thirty dollars spent now will save your engine from costly repairs later. It's an important part of preventative maintenance for your car. Most mechanics will include other services along with your oil change such as tire pressure checks, hose inspections and transmission fluid top-offs. When you get your oil changed, the mechanic may tell you that you need to replace your oil filter, hose, transmission fluid, etc. At this point you may feel up-selling pressure. Certainly, there are mechanics who are out to make money. So it's important to find a mechanic you can trust. How often do I change the oil? The average suggestion is every three to five thousand miles. If you spend a lot of time in heavy stop-and-go city traffic, you are causing more of a strain on your engine and may need an oil change sooner. Your mechanic will give you their best estimate of when to come back, and will usually put a reminder sticker on your driver's side windshield. Hopefully you've added to your list of necessary tasks regular oil changes.
How to Drive Safely, tips from the road safety experts NRMA
Attentiveness - Remaining alert at all times to what's going on around you is important for drivers of all experience levels, not just those who are learning how to drive. Your split second reactions could mean the difference between being in a crash, or avoiding one. Scanning the road - Many crashes happen because people only watch the car in front of them. Always scan ahead and around the car, in order to anticipate crashes before they happen.
Buffer zones - It can take up to 13 meters to stop a regular car doing just 48 km/h; even more if your tires are under inflated, it's wet or the road is slippery. Keep ample space between you and the car in front and increase that space at higher speeds.
Driving to conditions - Rain, wind, glare, gravel and night driving all pose their own unexpected threats. Slow down, always drive within your comfort zone and observe advisory signs on the road; they're there for a purpose.
Blind spots -To avoid blind spots when changing lanes, always check over your shoulder first. Also, you can help to reduce blind spots by ensuring your side mirrors are turned out far enough to see the entire width of the lanes beside you.
Driving tired, intoxicated, drugged or distracted - A standard drink, some prescription drugs, doziness or having your mind elsewhere can reduce attentiveness and make reflexes slow. It's that split second reaction that counts.
Plan your route - If you're confused about where you're going there's more scope for making mistakes in traffic. Slowing right down will help you absorb an unfamiliar environment and drive with more confidence.
Night driving - Lack of visibility makes night driving hazardous. Slow down if you're having trouble seeing and in rain. Also, try shifting your gaze slightly away from oncoming headlights and adjust your rear vision mirror to reduce glare from behind.
Country roads - Country roads can be narrow, winding, rough and full of surprises - such as kangaroos, large trucks and holes. Adhere to advisory signs, don't be tempted to speed, avoid the edges of roads (but be ready to slow down and move over for passing vehicles), and always remain alert, even if the road looks quiet.
Seat belts - Seat belts will limit your contact with the car's interior on impact and spread the forces over more of your body to protect against neck injury. Without a seat-belt and airbag, you can be killed in a head on collision at just 29km/h.
A road trip across America can produce memories that will last a lifetime, but whether those memories will be good or bad might depend on how well you planned the trip. A long road trip means you will be confined to tight sitting quarters in a vehicle for long stretches of time with other people. There is much more to consider than just plotting a route from point A to point B and what sights to see along the way. TIP 1 Always remember. Safety first! Before you begin any trip across country you need to take your vehicle in to be inspected. Tell the mechanic that you plan on driving across country. Your mechanic will perform all of the required safety checks needed (brakes, lubricants, oil, belts, lights, tire pressure, etc.) to ensure your vehicle performs well. For your own personal safety you might ask the mechanic to check the interior as well (seat belts, steering, and other hazards). Don't forget your mobile phone. And be sure that your mobile plan has a wide coverage area in case you need to call for emergency assistance. It may save your life. TIP 2 First you should decide what's more important, getting to your destination as quickly as possible with as few stops as possible, or seeing some sights along the way. If everyone on board differs, it could cause problems. Finding agreement before you begin your trip, might be a good idea to head off any routing/scheduling arguments that could arise. TIP 3 Stop at state welcome centers and rest areas rather than whizzing past them to the next exit. Many welcome centers have staff on hand to answer questions and give travel advice, and rest areas often have travel brochures and maps to help you on your journey. TIP 4 Bring a cooler stocked with perishable food and beverages. You'll be glad you did if you get stuck on the side of the interstate or a back road, and it helps to reduce costs on meals. Instead of stopping for fast food take advantage of the picnic grounds at rest areas. TIP 5 Join AAA, or some other road side assistance program, before you leave. If your vehicle breaks down, the organization will send someone to pick you up and tow your vehicle to a repair shop. You can opt for other perks as well, such as free repairs and travel insurance. TIP 6 What will you do if your GPS goes on the blink? It happened to me on a cross country road trip once. Acquire an up-to-date road atlas. AAA might give you one. This will help you plan before and during the trip. Don't depend solely on GPS. While GPS is a wonderful device, it's an electronic device that can malfunction, unlike a paper map.
The number one question we get is how come the auto repairs cost so much?
So here are the answers: There are a number of things that go into the cost of a repair. It takes us time to troubleshoot the issue, research the parts, order the parts, wait to receive or go get the parts, install the parts, quality check the vehicle before getting it back to you.
The good news is that there are some things that you can do to lower the costs for your automobiles! The first and foremost thing is the regularly scheduled maintenance that the manufacturer recommends. Do you know that we at Pro Tech offer these same services that the dealer charges you an arm and leg for? If you follow those recommended services we will ensure that your vehicle is getting the attention that it needs. Your car takes car of you, you should take care of it. The small things go a long way, Simple oil and filter changes keep your engine in tip top shape. A small engine tune-up will make sure you make it to your next destination, as well as improving fuel mileage. Checking the brakes and tires at regular intervals will help keep you and your passengers safe.
The next easiest thing to do is bring your car to Pro Tech Automobile of Aurora as soon as you detect there is an issue with your car.
Do you realize that many people wait when they hear something, or feel something a little out of the ordinary. They think to themselves, I am sure it will be okay, maybe it will run better when it warms up. I must be imagining that I am hearing a weird noise every time I apply the brakes.
The quicker you bring your vehicle in the better chance of catching the problem early, and before it escalates into a bigger problem. For example lets say you hear your brakes squeal when you apply the brakes. If you bring it in, chances are it is just a worn pad/shoe. But if you continue to drive your vehicle, that noise will continue to get worse and worse as the pad/shoe continues to wear, soon it starts to damage the rotor/drum and instead of needing a set of pads/shoes. You now need pads/shoes, drums/rotors, hardware, and whatever else the continuous abuse did to your vehicle!
So take care of your care with regular scheduled maintenance, and by bringing it in for a quick checkup at the first sign of trouble. You will be surprised at how affordable car care can be.
Winter driving safety, especially in northern regions that get a lot of snow and ice, should be a learned habit. Preparation will make a trip safer, and help motorists deal with an emergency. Follow these tips for winter safety when you drive.
Avoid driving when you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
Never run a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
Keep your gas tank at least half full.
If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
Always look and steer where you want to go.
Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.
Tips for long-distance winter trips:
Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.
Always make sure your vehicle is in peak operating condition by having it inspected by a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility.
Don’t over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow.
If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.
Keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times.
Pack a cellular telephone with your local AAA’s telephone number, plus blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle.
If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.
Tips for driving in the snow:
Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little momentum going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some momentum going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.
The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
Know your brakes. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS) and need to slow down quickly, press hard on the pedal-it’s normal for the pedal to vibrate a bit when the ABS is activated.
Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of power it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
What are the costs of postponing preventative maintenance on my vehicle?
“It's Murphy's Law!” Whenever I tell people that this is a law, they tell me that it's not a law of physics. That's true, but ignore it and see what happens. If it can go wrong, it will go wrong! And if you're postponing preventative maintenance on my vehicle, guess what? — It happens, all the time. You get in behind the wheel, you turn the key, but instead of the purr of your engine, you hear your engine’s starter spinning endlessly because the engine won’t fire. What’s worse is the starter is spinning slower and slower until your battery goes dead. A poorly maintained car simply costs more to drive as well as repair. A rough running engine uses more fuel. Running your car with dirty oil can wear out your engine; and believe you me, replacing your engine is going to cost you a small fortune. So, what about your transmission? Many modern transmissions “sealed for life,” but you had better make certain yours is one of them before you neglect your transmission fluid. Another consideration is worn parts. One worn out part can very easily cause a domino effect. For example, a neglected timing belt can break, this might allow the pistons to come into contact with the valves while the engine is spinning. That's going to do some extensive damage! By simply changing the timing belt when it's due, as part of a scheduled vehicle maintenance regimen, problems like this one can be avoided. Have you ever seen a person's face when their car is dead on the side of the road? That hurt and puzzled look? That’s a cost too — a cost of time and emotion. As the old saying goes; “You can pay a little now, or you can pay more later.” Neglecting routine vehicle maintenance is definitely going to leave you paying more later.
Properly inflated tire pressure will prolong the life of your vehicle, result in better handling, save gas and save the environment. With properly inflated tires, your tires will wear evenly, which prolongs their life and can improve your vehicle’s fuel consumption which helps reduce air pollution. Correctly inflated, your tires can perform at their best which means better handling, dependable traction and a more comfortable ride for you. A Few Things to Remember:
Always set your tires to the pressure specified in your vehicle’s owner manual or tire information placard.
Always check and adjust your tire pressure first thing before driving once per day.
Temperature differences affect your tire pressure. Cold weather will cause your pressure to drop while warm weather will cause your pressure to increase. So, it is exceptionally important to check it when the season changes.
Always check your tires with a good quality tire pressure gauge. Many vehicles come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Generally, this system will alert you if your tires are losing air or are below the recommended pressure. We recommend keeping a tire pressure gauge in your glove compartment – even if you have a TPMS. This will ensure you are getting a consistent reading each time.
Over-inflation vs Under-inflation Over-inflated tires are rigid and stiff causing the tire’s contact patch (the amount of rubber that meets the road) to be reduced. This will lead to a bumpy ride ride as well as uneven tread wear. The most common type of uneven tread wear due to over-inflation is referred to as “center wear.” The center of the tire will be smooth and worn down while there will be more tread on the sides of the tire. Under-inflated tires do not hold their shape and are flatter to the ground. So, more of the tire comes in contact with the road, thus causing the shoulders of the tire to wear prematurely. This is referred to as “shoulder wear.” There will be a strip of normal tread down the center of the tire while the shoulders of the tire will be smooth and worn down. Under-inflated tires are more flexible when they roll, leading to increased rolling resistance and therefore a decrease in fuel economy.
Gerald Frost has been operating Pro Tech Automotive in Aurora since the early 1990's .He knows a thing or two about automobiles and how to keep them running. He specializes in old classic muscle cars, but works on everything.