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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

  • AAA Approved Auto Repair
  • AAA Show Your Card & Save
  • ALLDATA
  • Automotive Service Excellence
  • International Automotive Technicians' Network
  • Identifix
  • Mitchell1 OnDemand
  • Parts Plus
  • Car Care Aware

Testimonials

  • I would like to say thank you so much for such great service. Nate was there to help me very promptly, he was helpful, kind and courteous. He quickly and calmly assessed what needed to be done in what was a stressful situation for me. Thank you very much, highly recommended!
    -Heidi C.

  • Bob's is a reliable, well priced service. They are always friendly and communicative about the service work they do on your vehicle. I would absolutely recommend them for any and all car service needs.
    -Kelly R.

  • Great service. Very polite and explained what needed to be done and broke down the costs for me. Both my husband and I have brought our vehicles here for inspections and repairs and we've been happy.
    -Darcy B.

  • Reliable and trusted service operation. Our family has gone to Bobs for years. They have towed us out of a bunch of snow banks and fixed our cars. They do very good work at a very fair price.
    -Nathan M.

  • Had nothing but a wonderful experience at Bob's. Spanky was so helpful in getting both my car and my husband's truck street legal. They were actually recommended to me and I can see why, they're great!
    -Pamela M.

  • Great service & fairly priced. Surprised by a customer comment on this site that you are treated second rate unless you have an expensive car. I have an older vehicle and have gotten top notch service every time!!
    -Melanie H.

  • I know very little about engines so I ask allot of questions, the employee's patiently answered all my questions and NEVER once made me feel like a pain in the butt! Their labor rates are better than most. FINALLY a garage I can trust!
    -Bonni A.

  • Great service! They get the job done right, and at a reasonable price.
    -Martha S.

  • Outstanding customer service. Roger made the experience very easy and hassle free. I really appreciate the help that they gave me and look forward to continuing to do business with them. I highly recommend going here for any auto repair service!
    -Zach W.

  • As always, Bob's Service Center continues to provide outstanding service in a very positive and user-friendly manner. I appreciate the emails to set up appointments and/or appointment reminders. We are all bombarded with emails but this is one I always open and read. Thank you to everyone at Bob's for your commitment to your customers.
    -Gayle O.

  • These guys are the best! I first came to them right before the 4th of July weekend when my truck broke down. They were able to get me back on the road that day for a very reasonable price. They were very nice, informative and made sure I knew what was going on with my truck. I called them today because I noticed a leak and they said to just come by and have them take a look. They are just terrific! HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO ANYONE IN THE UPPER VALLEY AREA!!!
    -Rachel T. in Hartland, VT

  • AWESOME Nice guys! better than all the rest!
    -Robert D. in White River Junction, VT

  • CAR REPAIR-WHILE ON VACATION IF I EVER BREAK DOWN AGAIN FAR FROM HOME..............I CAN ONLY HOPE IT'S NEXT TO BOB"S. THE PRICE WAS FAIR-THEY DID A GREAT JOB-MOST OF ALL,THEY HAD ME BACK ON MY WAY IN SHORT TIME........
    -George T. in Easthampton, MA

  • terrific service and terrific technicians Thank you for such great service. We were in need a service in a hurry and the guys were terrific. Thank you
    -Gregg F. in White River Junction, VT

  • I've had cars serviced at Bob's for over 20 years. The work has always been done competently, on time and within estimates. These professionals have a great attitude.
    -John J. in Hartford, VT

  • Good service and let me know when my car would be ready so I could continue on with my day.
    -Elaine C. in White River Junction, VT

  • Timely, professional, willing to listen to me, gives cost/benefit analysis - not willing to spend my money unless necessary!
    -Vicky F. in White River Junction, VT

  • struts and shocks A great job! 9 year old van feels great again. Thank you
    -David L. in Wilder, VT

  • Great work, trustworthy guys Bobs got my car in and out quicker than expected. It seemed like a fair price, but they realized that I didn't get enough of a AAA discount. I had no idea but they called me the next day just to let me know they were crediting another $20 to my credit card. I was very impressed. Vehicle:Audi A4
    -Brennan I. in NH

  • Clutch Replacement Excellent service, excellent price. Thanks again, Bob's. Vehicle:Honda Civic
    -Amanda P. in Thetford, VT

  • I have been taking my car to Bob's Service Center for the last 4 years and have always been very happy with their work and customer service. I definitely recommend Bob's for mechanical work and towing.
    -Lisa H. in Hartford, VT

  • Mathew said this business is quick, and reasonably priced.
    - Mathew R. in Lebanon, NH

  • 5 stars Fast, and friendly...I had great service at Bobs. I will definitely be returning in the future. Vehicle:Honda
    -Linsey W. in Norwich, VT

  • Bob's Keeps My Subaru Running Right I recommend Bob's whenever appropriate, to other locals, tourists with car trouble, and hot women looking for guys. I trust you. So, keep up the good work. Vehicle:Subaru Forester
    -Will A. in Hartford, VT

  • Efficient and pleasant Service is always efficient with minimum waits and friendly staff.
    -Howard T. in Hartland, VT

  • The work is always on-time, they do not exceed the estimate and the men are very courteous. Vehicle:Toyota Prius
    -Victor K.

  • The guys at Bob's are great. They did a professional job and their estimate was over the amount paid. I have recommended my neighbor to them and they have scheduled service work on their car also. Thank- you for the good work!!! Vehicle:Ford Pickup
    -Raymond F. in Hartford, VT