Get More Miles Out of Your Car or Truck

<b>Get More Miles Out of Your Car or Truck</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – 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 (, 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.

Automotive Service Association members agree to follow ASA’s Code of Ethics, which is the automotive service industry’s standard for professional business practices with consumers in mind. For more information, visit ASA at

Change Your Calendar, Change Your Oil

<b>Change Your Calendar, Change Your Oil</b>“></td>
<p><b>by Trisha Hessinger<br />
For NewsUSA</b></p>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Each year, many Americans spend the holiday season contemplating their New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s self improvement, quitting a bad habit or losing weight, a resolution can have a big impact on the year ahead. However, many people overlook vehicle maintenance, which helps protect their families, the environment and one of their biggest investments -; their vehicles. Firestone Complete Auto Care recommends a few tips to help you start off the New Year:

– Change the oil according to your vehicle’s owner’s manual -; usually every three months or 3,000 miles. Prolonged driving without an oil change may cause severe engine damage.

– Check your vehicle’s fluid levels, including transmission, brake, power steering, windshield washer and coolant to make sure they’re properly filled. Always follow the checking procedures indicated in the owner’s manual. If the fluids are low, add only enough to bring the indicators to “full” – never overfill.

– Check your tire pressure with a gauge at least once a month when the tires are cold. To find out if your tires are properly inflated, find the recommended air pressure listed on the sticker on the driver’s-side door jamb, fuel filler lid, glove box door or trunk lid or in your owner’s manual. The “Max Press” number, which appears on the sidewall of the tire, should only be used if it is the recommended pressure listed in one of the previous locations. Tires can lose one pound of pressure per square inch (psi) every month and for every 10 degree temperature drop, so it’s important to check your tire pressure regularly.

– Rotate your tires according to the schedule in your vehicle’s maintenance guide – approximately every 5,000 miles. Regular rotation will even out the wear patterns on your tires and increase their life.

A simple New Year’s resolution to maintain your vehicle can positively affect your vehicle for many years to come. Make sure to stick it out.

Trisha Hessinger is an automotive education specialist and former race car driver.