Auto Bits: Tips for preparing your car for warm-weather driving

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

Here are a few tips to make sure drivers are prepared for a successful road-travel season:

- Watch for inflation: As temperatures change, so can tire pressure. Proper tire inflation is essential for automotive safety, optimum driving performance and significant cost savings, including better fuel mileage. Tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer recommendations printed on the vehicle door placard or in the glove box and should be checked monthly. Over-inflation can lead to premature or irregular tire wear and under-inflation reduces a vehicle's fuel efficiency by an average of 3.3 percent.

- Breathe free: Replacing a dirty air filter can increase a vehicle's life expectancy and fuel efficiency by reducing the strain on the engine, especially during warmer months. Over the winter months, salt, sand and other impurities may have built up in the vehicle's air filtration system and replacing the air filter can improve acceleration time by 6 to 11 percent.

- Keep it clean: Cars likely took a beating from this winter's harsh conditions and corrosive elements, including freezing rain, snow, ice, sand and salt. Keeping vehicles clean will help protect them from the chemicals and dirt that may attack the car's finish and undercarriage. Be sure to use quality cleaners.

- Check that tread: The economy has forced many to postpone tire purchases, but after enduring what was most likely a harsh winter and coping with wet spring weather, it is a bad time to have low treads. The lower the tread depth, the less traction on wet roads, and the greater the distance needed to stop.


The List

Here are the top-selling vehicles in April, according to Autodata Corp.:

- Ford F-Series

- Toyota Camry/Solara

- Chevrolet Silverado

- Honda Accord

- Honda Civic

- Chevrolet Cruze

- Chevrolet Malibu

- Toyota Corolla/Matrix

- Hyundai Elantra

- Hyundai Sonata

Did You Know

The average U.S. driver spent $368.09 on gasoline in April, according to a study by CNNMoney.

Car Q&A

Q: I took my 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis in for a routine state inspection. The operator stated that the machine was not getting any information from the data link connector. His plug showed that there was power at the DLC. Any thoughts on this problem would be greatly appreciated.

A: The first step is a check of all fuses. A blown cigarette lighter fuse is the usual culprit. If this isn’t the problem, make a step-by-step check of the wiring harness from the ALDL connector under the dash.

- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service