You might be thinking, as I was when I first read this, what on earth!! This is just another gimmick devised by auto shops to market to the uninformed or gullible! (and I work for an auto shop!) So I started to read on and found out that yes, in actuality there is such a thing and it was (is) formed by an actual legitimate organization. A not-for-profit in fact! Their goal is car care awareness. So you might be thinking, “I’m aware! If my car starts everything is good, and when it doesn’t, well I’ll figure that out.” Don’t worry, I understand. Car care is about as high on my list as cleaning my refrigerator coils. Let’s face it I would much rather spend my money on a new pair of shoes than an oil change! However, I would also much rather go on a vacation than HAVE to spend that money, replacing my transmission! So there is a balance…. National Car Care Month is about that balance, learning preventative care for your vehicle so you can afford the shoes and the vacation. It’s allowing you to understand why and how regular auto maintenance and repair is a benefit to you, your wallet and in the long run our environment.
There are economic, safety and environmental benefits to performing regular auto maintenance, notes Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “Neglected vehicles do cause accidents, or a breakdown on a highway, which in itself can be dangerous,” White says. One of the economic benefits is fuel. Let’s talk about gas prices, shall we… I paid $4.00 p/gal the other day! I was in complete shock and denial! One tank equals a really NICE pair of shoes, or gentleman, a pretty decent round of golf. So who can afford, or wants to waste gas. “There are things you can do to keep your car running efficiently, and you can squeeze out a few more miles to the gallon,” Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. Well let me know what they are before I have to use my children’s college education fund to drive them to school and sports! Here are just a few suggestions:
- Vehicle gas caps – About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
- Under inflated tires – When tires aren’t inflated properly it’s like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon.
- Worn spark plugs – A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.
- Dirty air filters – An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture – too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents a gallon.