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A pre-trip inspection can mean better mileage

Published: October 12, 2011 12:01 AM

NAPS - Getting a vehicle inspected before you start out on a trip can help keep you on the road to safety and savings.

That is the word from the experts at the Car Care Council who say a pre-trip vehicle inspection can also provide peace of mind by making sure your vehicle is safe for travel and running efficiently.

To help, here are some tips:

* A tune-up can help an engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.

* Check the brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.

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* Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield-washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause the engine to lose power.

* Check the hoses and belts, which can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air-conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.

* Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Underinflated tires reduce a vehicle's fuel economy and uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.

* Check that the gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.

"A pre-trip vehicle check can determine just how road ready your vehicle is, so you can take steps to have the problems fixed before heading out for vacation," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "Making sure your vehicle is running efficiently will get you more miles to the gallon."

Added White, "By also avoiding aggressive driving, observing the speed limit and avoiding excessive idling, you will spend less on fuel and have more money for vacation fun."

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer-education campaign. The campaign promotes the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair.

For a copy of the council's "Car Care Guide," which is now available electronically, or for more information, see the website at www.carcare.org.

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