Many of you are probably familiar with that email forward that's been going around regarding refueling tips to help consumers get the most out of their gas money. While Snopes found that a mixture of that advice is both false and true, there's still something to be said about the importance of being conscious about your gasoline consumption and how the maintenance of your vehicle will affect your fuel efficiency, and ultimately, your savings.
Twice a year, before summer and winter, I try to do a routine checkup of my car; I'm pretty proud of myself for being able to do this on my own without having to pay a lot of money to some mechanic. Here's my summer vehicle checkup routine; hopefully, these five tips will be just as useful to you as they were to me in making sure my car is in the best fuel-saving shape possible for the summer heat.
Check Your Radiator and Coolant Level
In the summer, perhaps the most important part of your car's engine is the radiator, which is responsible for cooling your engine while it runs in the heat. When your car engine is still cool, check the coolant levels in your radiator. There should be a coolant fluid reservoir within easy reach under the hood; check to make sure the fluid level is between the 'cool' and 'warm' lines. If it's beneath the 'cool' line, then you'll need to add some more engine coolant. Check your manual for specifics!
Check Your Tires
You may not realize this, but air temperatures outside can drastically affect the air pressure within your car tires. That's why tires have a recommended pressure when cold, because the friction of the tire on the road warms the air inside it, causing the air to expand and increase the pressure within the tire. When the outside air is already warm, the air in your tires is already expanded a bit, which means a properly filled tire could actually gain too much pressure once it's warmed up on the road. Make sure you check your tire pressures in the morning before you start driving to make sure the cold pressure is within the recommended range. Otherwise, you risk running an improperly inflated tire, which could lead to unusual wear and even damage to your tire, as well as altered fuel efficiency.
Change Dirty Filters
Air filters and oil filters keep your engine running smoothly. The air filter scrubs the air and keeps foreign particles from entering your engine's combustion system while an oil filter keeps metal shavings and gunk from cycling through the engine, which would increase friction and heat in the system. It's a good idea to change your air filter each season; refer to your car's maintenance history and manual to see if you're due for an oil and oil filter change.
Check Hoses and Belts for Wear and Tear
Hoses and belts connect the various parts of your engine together. Hoses run coolant into the engine block, while belts operate the various peripheral devices on your engine, such as your air compressor for your A/C and your alternator for your car's electrical system. These hoses and belts can fail in extreme heat, especially if they're old, so you should check them to make sure they aren't cracked. Look at areas where stress would make them susceptible to cracks, such as angles in the hoses or the channels on the underside of the belt.
Recharge Your A/C System
Finally, you should check your A/C system. While it's probably not the most important system for your car, it is important for your safety. Staying cool and comfortable in your car will keep you alert and driving safely. Ideally, you're A/C should hold a steady temperature when the car engine is idling; once you see a rise in temperature when idling, it's probably time to get a mechanic to take a look at your system. You might need anything from a Freon recharge to a new compressor, depending on the issue. This is really the only system that you'd want an expert to work on; it's worth the money, believe me!
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online school about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.