How to Save Gas and Save Money With a Few Simple Checks

By: Scott Siegel


Most people don't realize that even small problems with the way their car is running could be costing them fuel economy. If your car is not running at peak performance then you are loosing gas and money every time you drive it.

On a monthly basis if you check a few simple things you can prevent gas robbing problems. In addition, as an added benefit, you might be preventing future costly repair bills.

Even more importantly you will insure that your car is as safe as it can be. You can prevent problems that could lead to critical failures that might result in an accidents causing injury.

Most maintenance should be left to the professionals. However, once a month you should perform the following checks to help identify and head off problems that can cost you fuel and money down the road:

1. First check your tires. Check for any objects that may have become embedded in the tire causing air leaks. Look for signs of uneven or excessive wear and check the pressure. Keep your tires at the recommended pressure as listed in your owners manual.

2. Check for leaks in any of the fluid systems. Observe the area around the car. Observe the area under the car around the engine. If you notice some fluid then you need to see where it is coming from. One way to identify the fluid is by its color. Transmission fluid is usually pink, fluid from the cooling system is a bright yellowish green color, and brake fluids and power steering fluids are almost clear, but have a slight tinge of brown. Oil is the easiest to identify as it is black. All of these fluids are all oily to the touch. In the summer you may see water from condensation from the air conditioning. This is normal and does not indicate a problem.

3. Check fluid levels, including engine oil, engine coolant level, transmission fluid and power steering fluid, according to the instructions in the owner's manual.

4. Check for a few other things while you have the hood open. If you see cracked or leaking radiator hoses or if you notice cracked or split spark plug wires you should get them fixed immediately. Check the hose clamps to make sure they are tight. Lastly check the battery for signs of corrosion. Make sure to check where the cables attach to the battery.

5. Check for problems with the brakes. To do this, on a flat straight, stretch of road that is traffic-free, put your hands ever so lightly on the steering wheel and engage the brakes gradually. If the car swerves to the right or the left, one of the brakes may be more worn than the other. It could also indicate that the brakes need adjustment.

6. You can use the same type of test to check your wheel alignment. Again find a straight, flat and traffic-free road. Put your hands very lightly on the steering wheel and drive forward at a constant speed. This should be done at a relatively slow speed. If the car pulls to one side or the other it is a good indicator that your wheels may be out of alignment.

These are the basic things you can check on your car monthly. Doing this will keep your car running at its best. A car that is running properly will save you gas, save you money and keep you safe!

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Scott Siegel has written a 143 page book of automotive industry insider information on saving gas and money at the pump (beatthegaspump.com). Visit us to learn how you can get better gas mileage. Find out how to increase gas mileage.
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