April is National Car Care Month! For most people, their vehicle is their second biggest financial investment outside of property, and with the economy purse strings still tight as a drum, maybe it’s a good idea to put a little time and effort into making that investment last as long as possible.
The top ten ways you can take better care of your car:
- Change your oil.
We all should know the importance of regular oil and oil filter changes. Not many know that you can switch to a heavier weight of oil during hotter weather. Heavier grades like 5W-30 or 10W-30 will help your car run more efficiently in the hot weather. Making sure to change the oil filter will keep the oil deposits and dirt and particulates out of the combustion chamber where they can cause damage. How often should you change your oil? Consult your car owner’s manual, which should give a listing typically between 5000 and 7000 miles.
Clean your car and get rid of road salt on your undercarriage.
Winter time is hard on vehicles, and this winter has been especially brutal. Road salt can damage your vehicle by eating away at its undercarriage. Clean off the road salt and grime with a garden hose or even a sprinkler if you have one. Wash your car with a soap specifically made for car finishes (dish soap can strip the finish and is not recommended). Use a soft cloth or mitt to remove dirt without driving it in the car finish. Pay attention to fenders (which accumulate a lot more dirt than other areas) and use a separate cloth/mitt for wheels and tires, which will keep them from spraying dirt and grime onto other clean areas of the vehicle.
Wax your car at the beginning of the warm season and then six months later at the end of it. All of these steps should keep your ride looking in great condition.
Check air pressure in tires.
Tire pressure can affect your gas mileage and also how quickly and where your tires wear. Make sure your tire pressure matches the manufacturers recommendations for your vehicle. Check the pressure when the tires are cold. If the tire pressure is too low, you’ll get lower gas mileage and your tires will wear out on their sides. If it’s too high, your mileage will be better and you’ll have improved steering response, but your ride will be stiffer and the tires will wear out faster in the center.
- Rotate your tires.
In addition to checking pressure, you should make sure you have rotated your tires in the last 5000 – 10000 miles. Some people rotate their tires after each oil change, which is a handy way to remember. Rotating tires on a regular basis is a good way to ensure they wear evenly and maximizes their life, which saves you money.
Change your air filter.
The air filter is an important component that ensures dust and dirt from the outside air don’t contaminate your engine. If the filter is clogged or dirty, it will lower your gas mileage (by as much as 10%) and cause loss of power with the engine. And nobody wants that. So check your air filter and change it if it is dirty or more than six months old. Less if you live in a particularly dusty area.
Clean out the excess stuff in your trunk.
Carrying too much extra baggage in your trunk increases the weight of the car and wears on your gas mileage. Take some time before the spring and summer month to clean out your trunk. It should save you some money over the summer months.
Check your radiator and gas caps.
Not many people think of their radiator cap and gas caps – they take them for granted. Radiator caps wear out over time and that lowers pressure in your cooling system and makes it more likely to have a boil-over in the hot summer months. Gas caps ensure a tight seal with your gas tank, which keeps gas vapors inside your tank and out of the air. The EPA estimates over 140 million gallons of gas across the nation are lost due to this. And this isn’t just an environmental issue – wasted gas vapor costs you money. So tighten up your cap or replace it
Check battery and spark plugs.
Spark plugs last a lot longer than they used to, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about them. Dirty plugs cause misfiring, and the misfiring contributes to a loss of fuel economy. Many of us can also see our vehicle battery posts accumulate corrosion. This happens faster if the battery connections aren’t secure. Clean off your battery posts in preparation for the summer. If your battery and plugs are more than 2 years old, this would be the time to consider replacing them.
Put X-tra Lube in your oil.
As they accumulate mileage, engine surfaces become worn and grooved. Over time this can contribute to loss of compression and power. Adding X-tra Lube to your engine oil at your next oil change resurfaces the metal parts of your engine where oil comes in contact. Worn spots and grooves are filled in and your oil becomes a super-lubricant. X-tra Lube is powerful care for your car’s lubrication system.
Use Mix-I-Go to improve performance and protect your vehicle against ethanol damage
For gas-powered vehicles, the spring and summer represent hot and humid conditions which ethanol loves to take advantage of. Ethanol not only causes loss of mileage, but pulls water in from the air and eats away at expensive rubber and plastic seals and fuel system parts. Using Mix-I-Go regularly will protect your engine from ethanol solvency and maximize your fuel mileage and power. Everyone can use more mileage and power as the summer driving season comes upon us and the spectre of four dollar per gallon gas is looming. Mix-I-Go is complete car care for your vehicles fuel system and driving performance.
Hear what a few of our customers have to say about their experience with Mix-I-Go and other Bell Performance products.
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This post was published on April 8, 2011 and was updated on March 29, 2018.