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Car Care can Help Improve Fuel Economy
Proper Vehicle Maintenace Can Get You More Gas Mileage

With gas prices at record levels, Americans are looking for ways to save money at the pump, as the spring and summer driving seasons get under way. GM Goodwrench is offering drivers expert maintenance tips to improve fuel economy.

Drivers are hitting the highways more than ever. Americans have increased their vehicle miles traveled on their cars 155 percent since 1970, according to a recent Environmental Protection Agency report. Coupled with the rising cost of fuel, this increase in miles driven means that performing regular vehicle maintenance, especially to save gas, is more important than ever.

Why does regular maintenance save fuel? Because service issues like underinflated tires, clogged fuel injectors and air filters, and dirty spark plugs make engines and other vehicle components work harder. An engine that has to work harder uses more fuel.

Another plus of regular maintenance is that it offers environmental benefits. The EPA’s 2004 air trends report shows that while vehicle emissions have decreased 74 percent since 1970, poorly maintained vehicles still can generate excess vehicle emissions.

“Americans can save fuel and help the environment by being conscientious about maintaining their vehicles,” said Peter Lord, executive director, GM Service Operations. “Regular vehicle inspections by expert technicians like those at GM Goodwrench dealerships, along with maintenance, such as keeping tires properly inflated, can help improve a vehicle’s fuel efficiency, reduce emissions and achieve optimal performance.”

Here are some tips from Mr. Goodwrench that can reduce emissions, improve fuel economy and save you money:

Maintenance tips

Simplified Maintenance
If you’re a GM owner with a vehicle equipped with the GM Oil Life System (OLS), you can use the Simplified Maintenance plan to save time, money and oil. The plan calls for you to visit your GM Goodwrench dealership only when your “Change Oil” light comes on, instead of every 3,000 miles.

At the dealership, you can receive an oil change and other services, such as tire rotations, all in one visit. GM estimates that if all the 20 million-plus vehicles on the road equipped with this technology used the system as intended, hundreds of millions of gallons of oil would be saved over the lifetime of the vehicles, further reducing environmental impact.

Clean components Ask your service technician to check that your air filter, spark plugs and fuel injectors are unclogged.

Tip-top tires Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Poorly inflated tires create rolling resistance and reduce fuel economy. And under inflation is the leading cause of tire failures/blowouts.

Driver tips

Take your time — By driving 65 mph instead of 70 mph, you’ll save gas. It may take a little longer to get to your destination, but each extra hour you spend driving because of a reduction in speed can save you $5. Owners of larger trucks and SUVs may save as much as $10 for each extra hour they drive.

Don’t get that overloaded feeling — Avoid carrying unneeded items, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces a typical vehicle’s fuel economy by one to 2 percent.

No burnouts, please — Accelerate evenly from a standstill. Avoid rapid acceleration, over-revving your engine and transmission downshifting. Rapid acceleration can cost up to 12 miles per gallon.

Money-saving maintenance that’s music to your ears

By following the tips below, the EPA estimates you could improve your fuel economy and save up to $690.56 in one year, based on a 16-gallon fuel tank that is re-filled once a week.

  • Regular tune-ups / emissions tests: up to 60 cents per gallon

  • Replacing air filters regularly: up to 15 cents per gallon

  • Properly-inflated tires: up to 5 cents per gallon

  • Using recommended oil grade: up to 3 cents per gallon

Total potential savings: up to 83 cents per gallon

The $690.56 saved is enough money to buy an XM Satellite Radio subscription for five years or a 40GB MP3 player with car adapter and battery charger — and still have money left over.

Other GM Goodwrench Maintenance Tips

Visit your local dealership for an inspection to ensure that their vehicle is up to date on its maintenance needs.

The inspections can point out items needing service — service that can help a vehicle run better, last longer, retain its value and provide optimal safety and security.

These key items need to be inspected:

Batteries — A weak battery can leave you stranded — possibly at the worst time and place.

Brakes — An expert inspection can determine whether your brakes are functioning properly with full braking capability.

Windshield wipers — Old or worn windshield wipers can lead to poor visibility in adverse weather conditions.

Headlamps — Properly aimed headlamps are a must for optimizing your visibility, both your seeing and your being seen.

Oil — Change the oil and filter at recommended intervals to minimize engine wear and reduce the possibility of internal damage.

Fluid levels — Improper fluid levels, including coolant, oil, power steering, transmission, brake fluid and even washer solvent, can negatively affect vehicle performance, durability and safety.

Belts and hoses — A broken belt or ruptured hose can cause costly engine damage and travel delays.

What is a Multi-Point Inspection?
Auto technicians perform comprehensive vehicle inspections to help customers keep their vehicles operating at optimal performance.

In addition to checking the brakes, tires, fluids and battery, here are a few other inspections available at your neighborhood GM Goodwrench dealership that may prolong the life of your vehicle:

  • Inspection of exhaust system

  • Inspection of engine air cleaner filter

  • Inspection of transmission, drive shaft and u-joints

  • Inspection of suspension and steering components

  • Inspection of radiator, heater and air-conditioning hoses

  • Check interior lights, exterior lamps, brake lamps, turn signals and hazard warning lights

Take these tips to heart; they can save you time, help you save money and rid of headaches, too.

For more information, visit GM Goodwrench.

Source: GM Goodwrench