Driver Tips

Tip 3 - Dealership Problems: A new car can be great, but sometimes these vehicles have problems and in some cases the dealership may not be as helpful as they were when the car was purchased.  If a problem exists with a dealer that is unresolved, recourse is necessary. Contact the manufacturer of the vehicle not the dealer. Car manufacturers provide a customer help line which will involve a manufacturer representative. Most dealerships are independently owned and operated, involvement with a manufacturer's representative will provide leverage needed to resolve the problem quickly.

Tip 4 - Getting Better Gas Mileage: Maintenance and driving habits can significantly effect fuel economy, here are a few tips to help get the most for the buck.

  • Check the air pressure in the tires, recommendations of such pressure is located on a sticker in the driver's door jam, or on the side wall of the tire. Proper air pressure will reduce the rolling resistance of the vehicle, in turn increasing gas mileage. While tire and car manufacturers recommend a prescribed tire pressure, it has been shown that running at the maximum tire pressure is optimal for achieving higher fuel economy. Some hybrid cars are manufactured with tires that can hold up to 65 p.s.i. as compared with the usual 36-45 p.s.i.
  • Analyze driving habits, taking off from a stop quickly uses excess fuel which hurts fuel mileage, try easing into the throttle and allow the vehicle to accelerate slowly.
  • Observe the traffic and signals, if a stop is imminent release the gas pedal and allow the car to coast the remainder of the distance before using the brakes.
  • If the engine is misfiring it will decrease mileage, if engine oil and filter changes have been neglected it will cause additional friction inside the engine and hinder performance.
  • Remove all un-necessary objects from the car, added weight will decrease mileage.

Tip 5 - Sticking Throttle: A car with a stuck throttle is scary, the number one thing to remember is to simply push the gear selector to the neutral position, or push in the clutch pedal, depending on the transmission the car is equipped with. This will disengage the engine from the transmission allowing the brakes to operate. The engine will be loud, and rev up, which usually doesn't harm the engine which its better than being involved in an accident. (Manufacturers have built in a fail safe that will not let the engine produce enough RPM's to suffer damage.)

Tip 6 - Change Engine Oil: Some car owner's never change engine oil or filters, but maintain oil levels by added oil when needed. This practices will cause the engine to have internal engine part wear which will ultimately cause breakdowns. Changing the motor oil and filter, is cheap insurance. Visit - Oil change and filter.

Tip 7 - Window Defrosting: If the windshield defroster stops working, simply roll down the windows on both sides of the vehicle about one inch. This allows air to circulate and remove the moisture from inside the car effectively clearing the windows.

Tip 8 - Knowledge is Power: A car owner is having a problem with a 2001 Toyota Avalon (V6 engine), which has 76,000 miles. The engine would crank over and start, but then just stall, this happened three times before it would run, after stalling the check engine light came on. The owner was told by a repair shop it needed an idle air control motor, and an air mixture sensor for $1,200.00 dollars. A different repair shop checked the car and discovered a coking build up problem had occurred on the idle speed control motor. Once the unit was removed and cleaned, and codes cleared from the computer the problem was fixed for the cost of a can of carburetor cleaner and a small amount of labor. With the right information costly repairs can be avoided while saving money.

Tip 9 - Car Storage Tips: If a car is not prepared for storage properly, it can create problems. When preparing a car for storage begin with draining the fuel from the system including the tank, most fuels become unstable after a couple of years which can clog the fuel system. Next, disconnect the battery and remove it from the vehicle, this will prevent battery acid from leaking out and corroding the battery box. Completely wrap the vehicle with a car cover or plastic and then uncover periodically to remove moisture. When removing a car from storage inspect cooling hoses and all other rubber components such as the serpentine belt. Also check the charging system by testing the alternator output after the battery and gas have been reinstalled.

Tip 10 - Dim Instrument Cluster - When traveling long distances at night with low ambient light, it can sometimes help visibility to lower the instrument cluster lights.

Tip 11 - Rodent Prevention - In winter months rodents will climb into the engine compartment to take advantage of a warm engine. To thwart these unwanted guests use mothballs or repellent to help discourage these animals.



Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2013-12-06)