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Posts Tagged ‘Fuel Saving Tips’

 

I left the dealership this past Friday, and hadn’t gone a mile until my “low tire” light came on. Don’t know how you would react, but my heart sank. So, I thought I would provide some insight about this feature. I had not given it any thought, but vehicle manufacturers began to phase in TPMS beginning in the 2006 model year and were required to install it in all vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2007.  I talked to one of our Service Advisors and asked for him to explain to me how the feature works: There are two kinds of monitoring systems direct and indirect. To keep it short and sweet, the direct system monitors the actual pressure in the tire while the indirect system uses existing sensors in the ABS system which watches wheel speed to detect smaller tire diameter caused by under-inflation.

So, the culprit that caused my light to come on? When the temperature outside the tire changes, it will affect the pressure inside the tire. In the fall, the colder weather will significantly lower your tire pressure. If your tire pressure has been set during the hot summer months, the first major cold wave will cause the air to contract inside your tire, lowering the pressure, thus setting off your TPMS.

 

 

Word of advice: To alleviate that annoying tire light, check your tire pressure monthly, during the morning, when tires are cold. During this time, make sure all tires are at the PSI indicated in your manual. Additionally, you might consider replacing the air in your tires with nitrogen. My Service Advisor explains: by using nitrogen the molecules are larger than oxygen molecules. Seepage is thus reduced through the tire walls and where the tire meets the rim. Any moisture in the tire is also eliminated, which can affect inflation.

Questions about using nitrogen vs air in your tires? Check with one of our Service Advisors at your next Express Lane Service visit – no appointment needed!

Or, Schedule your appointment today…. CJDR Greenwood location / CJDR Indianapolis location / Toyota Scion location.

Your friends at O’Brien Automotive Family!
“Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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So, what does this light mean? The “check engine” light is part of your car’s onboard diagnostics (OBD) system. Since the 1980’s, computers increasingly have controlled and monitored vehicle performance, regulating such variables as engine speed, fuel mixture, and ignition timing. In some cars, the computer also tells the automatic transmission when to shift. When this onboard diagnostics system finds a problem that it can’t correct, the computer turns on a yellow warning indicator that is labeled by either “check engine,” “service engine soon,” or “check powertrain.”

Don’t you wish the alert could be a little more specific? Nope, it can’t. Unfortunately, the check engine light comes to life if anything, and I do mean anything isn’t 100% under the hood. This means that you could be staring at a major repair; or, your gas cap could be too loose (no kidding).

The most common problems that trigger the light are emission control malfunctions. The emission control system is what your car uses to try to keep our air a little cleaner. Here are a few of the more commonly occurring issues:

  • Your gas cap isn’t on tight enough. — Obviouosly, if this is what triggered the light, this is an easy enough problem to fix. Tighten the gas cap, and usually after 4 normal “global starts and cool downs”, the light will go off. (In layman’s terms: Drive the car as normal and after it has been driven 4-times, with the car being shut off and the engine gets cold between the starts / equals a “global start”)
  • Your engine got wet where it didn’t like it — Any electrical burp under the hood can cause one of your car’s gazillion sensors to take a funny reading. When it does, you can expect to see the Check Engine light. More common than rain water getting in there is the overzealous owner who sprays his engine down at the high pressure car wash, shooting water into every crevice of the engine, thus lighting the light.
  • Your spark plug wires are bad — As your spark plug wires start to get old, they may develop tiny cracks which can let little bursts of electricity out. This electricity was supposed to be going to a spark plug, and since it didn’t, the engine will misfire slightly, meaning one of the spark plugs didn’t spark enough.

What happens when I ignore the CHECK ENGINE LIGHT or put off the recommended service? There are two kinds of CHECK ENGINE LIGHT alerts. A non-flashing, but lit CHECK ENGINE LIGHT, is usually a less severe problem that shouldn’t cause immediate problems but needs to be checked as soon as possible. There is also a flashing and illuminated CHECK ENGINE LIGHT means your vehicle senses a critical system error (such as a major cylinder misfire ) and you need immediate attention before potentially breaking down and possibly damaging other critical and expensive parts. In this case, continuing to drive can lead to further damage rather quickly or can leave you stranded.

Bottom line; when the “check engine” light comes on, It’s like someone saying “My leg hurts a little,” or “I get out of breath when I climb stairs.” A doctor — or, for your car, a mechanic — still has to figure out what’s really causing the problem.

Schedule your appointment today…. CJDR Greenwood location / CJDR Indianapolis location / Toyota Scion location.
Your friends at O’Brien Automotive Family!
“Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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It’s a hassle, but you really do have to maintain your car properly if you want it to run well. So where to go? Below I’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of the dealers versus the corner garage. Bear in mind that when I say “corner garage”, I mean smaller, independent repair shops; not the chains like Midas, Jiffy Lube, Meineke or Pep Boys. Those chains, which often specialize in one “area” of the car, fall in a middle ground between the dealerships and the mom-and-pop repair shops.

Why consider the dealership?

  • Technicians at the dealer level are specialists; they are manufacturer-trained and typically work only on your make of vehicle. Also, dealers have an ongoing training program for the service staff.
  • Dealer service departments most generally provide a shuttle back to your office or home, provided it’s no farther than five miles or so.
  • What about warranties? There, the advantage definitely goes to the dealer. First, a dealer will perform repairs for free if your car is still under warranty. Even if you have to pay for repairs outside the warranty period, dealers back up their repairs with a warranty that is good nationwide. Thus, if the repair doesn’t hold, it can be fixed free of charge at any other dealer.
  • The dealer also offers manufacturer-backed extended warranties for both new and used vehicle purchases. The manufacturer-backed extended warranties makes service easier because there is a large network of dealers; this is especially important if you plan on moving or do a lot of traveling in your vehicle.
  • Because the dealership represents the manufacturer, service departments are required to measure up to corporate standards of customer satisfaction.
  • Dealer service departments have a distinct advantage when it comes to manufacturer recalls and technical service bulletins.
  • Manufacturers and their dealers offer only OE (Original Equipment) parts, which represent a standard of quality and engineering that only the manufacturer can authorize. A 12-month/12,000-mile warranty on parts and labor for repairs and/or service is not uncommon at the dealer level.
  • Dealer facilities are often cleaner, more organized and better maintained than smaller shops. At a dealer facility, you will usually find a waiting room, clean bathrooms, a place to buy car accessories, even the availability of drinks, snacks and television.
  • Online appointment scheduling; making the service department available 24 / 7!!

Why the independent shop?

  • Many technicians at independent shops are both manufacturer- and A.S.E.-certified, don’t be afraid to ask about their certifications.  Although A.S.E. training is less “make” specific than the manufacturer’s training, the technicians at these facilities can be just as expert in their knowledge, depending on their experience.
  • If the repair or service that you need isn’t major, it may be more convenient to drive a short way to your neighborhood repair shop than it is to go to the dealer, especially if you need to leave your car for servicing.
  • Small shops can offer warranties on service or repairs, but may not offer the same length of coverage or may cover only the parts or the labor, but not both. If you travel with your vehicle, your warranty may be worthless wherever it is your car decides to give you trouble.
  • Local repair shops report to no one but you.
  • Automotive service software such as Alldata and Mitchell OnDemand5 allows independent garages to get manufacturer information on recalls and TSBs, updated on a monthly basis. But keep in mind that these are paid memberships and not every corner garage has the software at their disposal.
  • The advantage of aftermarket parts is that, like generic prescription drugs, they are supposed to perform the same function for a lot less money. There are times, though, when aftermarket parts are inferior to OE parts.
  • So how can small repair shops compete with dealers on facilities? The short answer is: They can’t. .

With all this said … what is my opinion? Obviously, from my perspective, I prefer and have always used the services at a dealership that represents the brand of auto that I drive. That is my comfort zone — and at 60+ years of age, I still have my “Dad in my ear” with his advice —  “Why would you want to put your second most expensive lifetime purchase in the hands of just anyone?”. However, the decision has to be one that you are comfortable with. Bottom line, find a facility (either a dealership service department or an independent) that you are comfortable with and one that suites your individual needs. Make sure they are highly qualified to do the work. Develop an ongoing relationship with them (don’t hop from shop to shop looking for the next “deal”).

This topic ALWAYS generates differing opinions, we would love to hear yours! Feedback always welcome:)

Schedule your appointment today….
CJDR Greenwood location / CJDR Indianapolis location / Toyota Scion location.

Your friends at O’Brien Automotive Family!
“Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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Miracles for increasing fuel efficiency don`t exist!!

When gas prices go up, the scam artists show up. Products that claim to boost gas mileage are bogus, according to the EPA. After testing hundreds of “mileage maximizers,” the EPA says it “has not found any product that significantly improves mileage.” Experts say they all have one thing in common. “They don`t work,” says John Millett, spokesman for the EPA. The EPA to date has tested in the neighborhood of 100 gas-saving devices, the most recent at the request of the Federal Trade Commission. In addition, Popular Mechanics magazine`s experts recently tested seven fuel-saving products and found no significant change in miles-per-gallon ratings. Two products actually increased fuel consumption by 20 percent, and a third one melted before they could complete the test. How about the claim that higher octane means higher power? Wrong…..an engine designed to run on regular unleaded will not experience a power- boost if you put premium gas in the tank. Use the fuel grade specified by the manufacturer – nothing less and nothing more.

So whom do you trust when it comes to getting the best fuel mileage your car or truck can achieve?
Your dealer`s service department, that`s who!

There`s a reason the manufacturer publishes a recommended service schedule. These intervals are derived from the manufacturer`s engineering and testing to determine what is necessary to maintain the performance of key components:

• The best way to get the best mileage is to maintain your vehicle according to the manufacturer`s service schedule.
• The best way to maintain your vehicle is doing factory authorized service / using original equipment and parts.

Conclusion? The old adage that “something that sounds too good to be true, probably is ” nearly always applies. So, don`t be “fuelish” and let those scammers put one over on you.

I certainly hope that my posted “tid-bits” will help you keep your auto in good running order and help minimize your overall driving expenses. Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! By the way, we LOVE feedback…please don’t hesitate to let us know how we are doing.

Regards,

O’Brien Automotive Family – “Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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In a word, “ouch”! I am sure that you have seen the recent news and headlines….Gas prices are expected to rise – “Local motorists could be paying more than $4 per gallon for gasoline by Memorial Day.” Why? The higher prices are expected because of seasonal demand patterns, rising tensions with Iran and increasing demand for oil from China, said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. Per DeHaan, “A sudden slowdown of the U.S. economy might be the only thing that would drive gas prices down. “That is the double-edge sword with gas prices,” DeHaan said. “Prices rise when the economy is improving; they fall when it is not.”

So…what is a person to do? Check out our “Nine Ways to Conserve Your Gasoline” below!

NINE WAYS TO CONSERVE YOUR GASOLINE
1. Slow Down
One of the best ways to save on gas is to reduce your speed. According to the DOE, every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph represents a 7 percent decrease in fuel economy.
2. Check Your Tire Pressure
Under-inflated tires have more rolling resistance, which causes you to burn more fuel to keep the car moving. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (if equipped), or the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) label on or near the driver’s side door. Properly inflated tires may improve your fuel economy by up to 3.3 percent.
3. Accelerate With Care
Fast acceleration wastes fuel. Accelerate modestly so the transmission can shift up into the higher gears more efficiently. Rapid acceleration and braking can lower your gas mileage by up to 33 percent on the highway and up to 5 percent during city driving.
4. Drive A Consistent Speed
Follow the lead of trucks and keep a consistent speed. Constant slowing down and speeding up reduces fuel economy. Consider using cruise control when appropriate.
5. Avoid Excessive Idling
Idling your vehicle gets 0 miles per gallon.
6. Stick With Stock
New wheels and tires may look cool, but if they’re not the same as the OEM specifications, they could create more resistance, thereby reducing fuel economy.
7. Clean Out Your Car
Carrying around extra baggage ? or anything that you don’t need for that trip ? only adds extra weight to your car and impacts fuel economy. For example, depending on your vehicle’s weight, an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could decrease your MPG by up to two percent.
8. Plan Your Trips Better
Consider grouping your trips instead of making several trips to accomplish your daily tasks. Several short trips may use twice as much fuel as a single, longer trip that covers the same distance.
9. Use The Proper Maintenance Fluids and Replacement Parts
Always use the engine oil, replacement parts and any other fluids that the manufacturer recommends. Change your oil at the recommended intervals and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for all routine maintenance.

Over the next several weeks, I will be posting “tid-bits” that will help you keep your auto in good running order to help minimize your overall driving expenses. Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! And, we LOVE feedback…please don’t hesitate to let us know how we are doing.

Regards,

O’Brien Automotive Family – “Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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