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HELPFUL INFO

Are You Ready For The Road?

An average of 13,000 Americans are killed between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, some as a result of unperformed vehicle maintenance, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Each year, neglected maintenance leads to more than 2,600 deaths, nearly 100,000 disabling injuries and more than $2 billion in lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.

Most mechanical failures can be traced to neglected maintenance. For example, the U. S. Department of Transportation reports the leading cause of mechanical breakdown on our nation's highways is overheating, a condition that is easily avoidable. Other deficiencies that are simple to detect include low antifreeze/coolant, worn or loose drive belts and defective cooling system hoses.

Checking tire pressure and inflating a tire costs nothing, yet an average of 21 percent of cars inspected in check lanes during National Car Care Month have under inflated tires. This can lead to a blowout and a serious accident.

Fuel Saving Tips

Condition Effect MPG Penalty up to
Under inflated tires Increase rolling resistance 1-2mpg
Dirty air filter Causes excessively rich fuel/air mixture 2.0mpg
Worn spark plugs Cause inefficient combustion, wasted fuel 2.0mpg
Worn O2 sensor Unable to detect and adjust air/fuel mixture 3mpg
Dirty or substandard engine oil Increases internal engine friction 0.4mpg
Loose gas cap Allows fuel to evaporate 2.0mpg
Potential loss in fuel economy if all of the above were neglected
11.4mpg

The Car Care Council offers these fuel-saving tips:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 as recommended by the manufacturer.
  4. 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 20 cents a gallon.

Fuel-saving driving tips include:

  • Don't be an aggressive driver -- Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, which results in 10 to 66 cents per gallon.
  • Avoid excessive idling -- Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
  • Observe the speed limit -- Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mpg driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control is recommended.

WIPERS - In the 2001National Car Care Month vehicle check lanes, 21percent of participants had wipers that smeared, streaked or chattered across their windshields. Although climates vary, wipers generally need replacing every six months. An easy reminder is to change wiper blades in the spring and fall when you change your clock. Be sure the windshield washers are working properly, too, and keep the reservoir filled with solvent.

LIGHTING - Another important pre-trip check should be exterior and interior lighting. Vehicle check lanes revealed an overall failure rate of over 25 percent in the lighting category. The Car Care Council reminds motorists to check their lights monthly. Other suggestions from the Council include turning on headlights both day and night. This helps define your car's position on the road, and its distance from other drivers. When your vehicle's lighting is defective, other motorists may not get the message that you intend to stop or turn. The end result could be disastrous.

10 Minute Pre-Trip Checkup Can Pay Off

Car Care Council offers three suggestions for a traveler's 10-minute pre-trip checklist:

  • Check all fluids. There are several fluids, in addition to antifreeze, that require attention, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission fluids and windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  • Check hoses and belts. A belt that fails can affect the electrical system, air conditioning and power steering, as well as the cooling system. Cooling system hoses may be deteriorating from within, so old hoses and clamps in marginal condition might need to be replaced.
  • Check the tires. Check tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear, indicating the need for wheel alignment. Also look for bulges and bald spots.

"While a last minute checkup is better than no checkup, motorists should plan ahead to allow time to perform necessary maintenance themselves or at the local service facility. A properly maintained vehicle is safer and more dependable and will even save a few dollars at the gas pumps," said the Car Care Council's Executive Director, Rich White.

Not only can a pre-trip inspection help reduce chances of costly and possibly dangerous road trouble, it also provides an opportunity to have repairs made at home, with one's own technician who knows the vehicle. Especially important, it provides peace of mind. While no inspection can guarantee a car's performance, it's comforting to know proper precautions were taken.



ASSOCIATIONS

  • ACDelco
  • ASE (Automotive Service Excellence)
  • Federated Auto Parts
  • IDENTIFIX
  • Mitchell1
  • Car Care Aware

Testimonials

  • Rich has done a great job on all my vehicles over the last 10 years. Trusted and does honest work.
    -James P.

  • I've brought my truck in a few times, all for different reasons (brakes, cooling system, transmission, and standard maintenance). These guys know what they're doing and they get it done fast! General Auto is the only place I trust for auto repairs.
    -Jeff L.

  • Very practical, great service, great follow through, great prices.
    -Brian

  • General Auto Repair has done outstanding work for me for years. I have brought a number of vehicles there and they always provide great service and a full explanation of what needs to be done and what I can wait on before going to the expense to fix it. They are efficient, timely, cost-effective, trustworthy, and super helpful. I brought my son's 15-year-old Tacoma in before he drove it cross country to ensure everything was working and ready for the trip. They went out of their way to work with my timing, the repairs/maintenance was what I expected, and they were super informative. I had family member's vehicle that had been neglected so I called General and they had the vehicle towed then repaired at a very reasonable rate. They took a difficult situation and handled it for me. I highly recommend them.
    -Leslie C.

  • Very professional and prices are always reasonable. From my first visit, I could tell that they would not be trying to take advantage of me and it shows that they invest in their loyal customers, I take both of my cars to get repairs and oil changes for three years. I have never had one complaint.
    -Caleb

  • Honest advice, fair prices, excellent service is what comes to mind regarding this shop. We have been customers for a couple of years and extremely happy with the work performed on our cars.
    -James S.

  • Let me just say this, finding a good honest mechanic is probably one of the most valuable things to have in life. Rich and the boys at general auto are exactly that. They do fantastic work with the most reasonable honest cost. I live over 35 miles away from the shop and wouldn't think twice driving there to have work done to my car. Do yourself a favor and don't waste any time taking your car anywhere else. I don't ever write reviews but I just had to this time!
    -Ryan

  • Skilled and honest mechanics who give good prices on general repairs and maintenance on my car. I'm easily a customer for life.
    -Jeff T.

  • Had a small problem with my bumper and got recommended to General Auto Repair. Took my car in and they fixed it within 20 minutes. The owner was more than helpful and nice. Definitely will be going back with any problems I have and will recommend to others!
    -Brittany

  • Great service friendly and fast never disappointed.
    -Marie

  • We've always had good service at General Auto. They do a great job diagnosing the problem and performing the repairs. They don't recommend parts that we don't need!
    -Marc

  • Rich and his team are terrific. I highly recommend them!
    -Kent

  • General Auto Repair is very reliable, honest, and knowledgable. I trust their team to take care of all my auto repair needs.
    -Nick

  • I have know Rich V. for many years and consider him to be a very trustworthy person and a good mechanic.
    -Ben

  • Was able to take me on short notice and fixed the issue completely. Thank you!
    -Clair

  • Always excellent work and service!
    -Sue

  • Rich and his team have earned my loyalty and business! I trust him not only to do quality work but to be honest and concerned for my needs.
    -John

  • AC repaired and working better than ever. Very grateful for the honest assessment of problems and pleasant customer service. I will be back next time my vehicle needs service.
    -Linda

  • I have been with Rich for 30 years. He is very aware that I need my truck for my lawn service and will have it back to me asap. Last month I got in my truck at 8 in the morning and it was shaking like crazy. Spur of the moment call, he had it back to me by one. My vehicles are always repaired because he gets in and test drives and makes sure. And he has no problem with bringing it back if I am not satisfied. I only have 4 cars in my family and trust Rich and his mechanics with all of them. Sometimes in life you just have to trust somebody. Your mechanic would be a good person to trust.
    -Ray

  • I have been going to General Auto for about 18 years and have always been treated with respect and honest evaluations. I have both my company vehicles and personal vehicles serviced here because I know that Rich and his crew are fair and honest. It may not always be the cheapest in town but I'll pay more for the quality, honesty and respect I get as a customer before going anywhere else!
    -Robert

  • Always friendly and helpful. No one I trust more with my car.
    -Janette

  • We have always had excellent repair service at General Auto and in a timely and convenient manner. Rich and his staff are professional and courteous. We highly recommend this auto repair shop.
    -Robert

  • My brakes failed and they took me right in and got me back on the road. Rich arranged a rental car and the staff was great.
    -Kirt