Weekly auto rail, with tips for maintaining your motorcycle or ATV, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.

Tip of the Week


Americans have purchased more than 15 million all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and motorcycles over the past 10 years. Along with the thrill of the ride, or the convenience of chores made easy, comes the responsibility of maintaining these machines.


Typically, most guys and gals with a garage - or at least the garage mentality - know that regular vehicle maintenance comes with the territory, much like owning a car. But knowing what to do, doesn't always lead to doing it correctly. The owner's manuals that come with the vehicle contain a lot of good information, including a full maintenance schedule, but here are a few items you don't want to miss.


- Changing the oil and checking fluid levels: As with any motorized vehicle, regular oil changes are a must for your ATV. Be sure to follow your vehicle's oil change schedule and, if the vehicle's been sitting all winter, check all fluids.


- Check tire pressure: Check the tire pressure on all tires and follow manufacturer recommendations for air pressure levels.


- Inspect or replace the spark plugs: The beginning of the season is a good time to replace your spark plugs, as it is a surefire way to help get your machine started more easily after its winter hibernation. Inspecting the old one is also a good way to give you an indication as to how your engine was running.


- Check battery connections: After sitting idle all winter, you'll want to check the battery connections for possible corrosion and ensure they are solid.


- Changing, cleaning and oiling the air filter: This is probably the most overlooked aspect of regular maintenance. Putting oil on an air filter may seem counterintuitive, but it is an essential step when replacing the air filter on many motorsports vehicles.


- ARA


The List


Here are recent estimates from AAA on holiday road travel:


- 77.7 million travelers: Christmas/New Year’s


- 33.2 million: Thanksgiving


- 32.9 million: Labor Day


- 31.4 million: Fourth of July


- 28 million: Memorial Day


Did You Know


Toyota produced almost 650,000 vehicles worldwide in May, a 27 percent increase over the previous month.


Car Q&A


Q: I am 62 years old and own a 2000 Mercury Sable with only 67,000 miles. The headlights are very cloudy and I cannot see well at night. What can I do? Are there better lights I can put in?


A: The plastic headlight lenses can only be cleaned so much. Check with your local auto body shop or auto repair shop for a price on replacement headlights. You can then replace the bulbs with higher-output whiter bulbs.


- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist


GateHouse News Service