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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 2001 National Car Care Month vehicle check lanes, 21 percent 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

  • Napa Auto Care Center
  • ASE Master Auto Technician
  • Amsoil
  • Alldata
  • IATN
  • Car Care Aware

Testimonials

  • Thanks again to Craig and Chad at Saint's Automotive for preparing my Saab 9-3 Aero for my return trip home to Cambodia Town, Long Beach, California!! Thanks again to the Twin Cities Saab Club for the referral. I'm going to miss Minnesota!
    -Robert H.

  • Fantastic Service for my Saabs. Great staff with expertise and willingness to go the extra mile. I will only use Saints.
    -Steve W.

  • The guys go above and beyond to insure your satisfaction! Well beyond our expectations! Awesome service!
    -Mary S.

  • Saint's Auto does an amazing job. My Acura has had countless issues and they have all been figured out and repaired for good prices. Will continue taking car to Saint's for as long as I own it. Very friendly there and they don't try to screw you over like other places!
    -Keiden M.

  • I've been going to Saint's for over 10+ years, I had an Acura sports car, and currently have an Acura MDX. They have done a wonderful job of maintaining both over the years. Craig does an excellent job working the front desk and giving accurate quotes for the jobs I've had done. Dave the owner, is very knowledgeable, in dealing with some of the issues I have had over the years. One example was when my brake lines rusted out in my sports car (thanks to salt in MN), and another time was when my bluetooth was causing my battery to drain and would not start, after being parked at the airport for a week. These guys do a wonderful job of mainting my behicles, I have even had them give me quotes on working with my Chevrolet Silverado. Just need to have the down time to get the work done.
    -Bill B.

  • I just wanted to thank you for many years of great service. I've always felt confident with your accurate assessments of any issues with my car. I also appreciate your fair pricing and that you never have tried selling me service or parts I don't need.
    -Shirley C.

  • Exceptional quality and service. I drive from the twin cities to Princeton because of Dave's trustworthiness, honesty, reasonable prices, and quality of work. Highly recommend.
    -Zach S.

  • Saint's Automotive helped get my vehicle ready for a long drive to the west coast for a vacation. It was a great relief to know that everything was looked at and fixed so we could enjoy our vacation and lower our changes of breaking down along the way. They truly take pride in their work and their customer service is great!
    -Lori G.H.

  • I have been going here for years and have always been treated fairly. I moved to Plymouth and I still drive there any time my car needs anything! Dave is always extremely fair, caring, and very knowledgeable! I've never had any problems with this place and I wouldn't go anywhere else. I highly recommend it!
    -Kenzie M.

  • Great service, great workmanship and great guys! It is very reassuring to have a mechanic that is fair and that you can trust. I have been using Saints for over 10 years!
    -Mike E.

  • I just want to say thank you for taking such good care of my car over the past 20 some years. You are probably the most honest and trustworthy auto repair shop in Minnesota. One of my only regrets about moving to Michigan is that you are not moving too.

    I wish you much success and happiness in the years ahead.
    -Sandi G.

  • Very friendly and knowledgeable. Best place for my imports.
    -Connor B.

  • Saints Auto is a top quality service center. It is not always easy for me to walk into a service shop and feel comfortable, as I don't know much about vehicles. At Saints they put you at ease. They are very friendly and honest. They go above and beyond the call of duty. Recently I had my car serviced, just routine maintenance. Oil change, courtesy inspection. I had a musty smell in my vents, they totally resolved the issue. I feel when I leave there that my car is in top running condition. They are professional yet treat you like a friend. Thank you! Thank you Dave and Jeff!!
    -Teresa P.

  • Dave is the best! If you want an HONEST and fair guy that'll give you the real problem, and tell you what needs to be done right away and what can wait a little, this is where you want to be. I don't feel like I have to check anything out with my "motor head" friends because Dave is always honest with his customers.
    -Lynda P.