View Full Version : Maintenance tips for lightly used vehicles

Valentine One Radar Detector

10-17-2008, 05:54 AM
* Tires -

One of the most important things vehicle owners can do is maintain their tires, whether they drive 15,000 miles a year or 100. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, under-inflated tires can reduce fuel economy by up to 3.3 percent.

Tires generally lose up to 1 psi per month whether being driven regularly or parked, so it is important to check tire pressure monthly and rotate tires using the manufacturer's specified maintenance schedule.

Flat spots on a tire can also occur if a vehicle remains parked in one location for a long period of time. This can lead to unwanted vibrations and a rougher ride.

Under-inflated tires can increase rolling resistance and fuel consumption, so make sure tires are inflated according to manufacturer's recommendations.

Here are a few simple tire maintenance tips that improve fuel economy and identify and address problems before replacement is needed:

Conduct a visual inspection of the tires periodically and check for uneven wear or excessive tread wear.
Check and adjust inflation pressure.
Check inflation pressure at least once per month and adjust as necessary.
Properly rotate tires at recommended intervals and align and balance, if necessary.
Have manufacturer-recommended tires installed on your vehicle.

* Batteries -

Most breakdowns occur because batteries are not delivering full cranking power. Driving less or parking a vehicle for an extended period of time can negatively affect battery life and efficiency, especially if a vehicle has a digital display/clock or security system that's always on. When a car is being driven regularly the alternator re-charges the battery, but when stationary, these electronic systems simply serve as a slow drain on the battery.

Check battery life, replace or charge your current battery and make sure battery cables are corrosion-free.

* Fluid levels -

Fluids such as engine coolant, transmission and power steering fluid, engine oil and even wiper fluid are the life blood of a car. These fluids may leak or deteriorate whether a vehicle is being driven consistently or not. Check all fluid levels before going on any extended trip or if a vehicle has been sitting for a long period of time. Drivers can get a more accurate dipstick reading on any vehicle fluid by waiting a few minutes after turning off the engine and making sure the vehicle is on level ground.

* Exterior conditions -

With the weather turning colder and fall and winter rolling in, it is especially important to check exterior conditions of a vehicle if it's sitting outside. Don't let leaves or snow pile on top of a vehicle. Leaves can clog air intakes, and peaks of snow increase drag and decrease gas mileage.

Also, scan the ground under the vehicle where it's been parked to see if any fluids have leaked creating a puddle.