FLORHAM PARK—People are controlling costs now more than ever and rethinking big-ticket purchases – including new cars. AAA New Jersey wants to make sure that motorists are safe in any vehicle they drive.
“Today’s cars are full of modern technology and are generally very reliable,” says Michael Coppola, general manager of the AAA New Jersey Car Care Center in Springfield. “With routine maintenance and upkeep, as well as good driving habits, your car can safely go beyond 100,000 miles.”
AAA New Jersey offers vehicle owners the following tips to keep their car running longer:
Take it easy. Be gentle on the gas and brake pedals. Jamming on the gas decreases fuel economy and puts undue stress on drivetrain components, including the engine. Don’t ride the brake pedal with your left foot or come to a screeching halt – both of which can prematurely wear the brakes. Instead, ease your foot off the brake and slow down well before an anticipated, non-emergency stop, such as a stop sign or red traffic signal.
Stop, then go. Stop completely when shifting your car’s automatic transmission from reverse to drive, or vice versa. Doing so while the car is still in motion can damage the transmission.
Don’t drive with the needle on “E.” When you drive with too little fuel, the gunk that collects at the bottom of the fuel tank gets into fuel system components, clogging and damaging them.
Read all about it. Following the manufacturers’ recommended service intervals is the best way to avoid costly repairs down the road and keep your car running longer. It could be the difference between paying $100 now or $1,000 later.
Identify your driving style. Most car manufacturers determine oil-change intervals according to two different driving types – “normal” duty and “severe” duty. Motorists in congested, urban areas – most of New Jersey – require more frequent service.
Listen to what your car’s telling you. Squeaks, squeals, whines and grinding noises aren’t normal. If you hear something, get it checked. Fluid on the ground underneath the vehicle isn’t normal, either. Unless it’s clear (water from the air conditioner), get it serviced before the fluid runs dry, which could cause catastrophic failure of the component.
See the light. A steady glowing yellow “Check Engine” light doesn’t always mean an emergency – it could mean a loose gas cap or another problem that need attentions. If the light blinks or comes on while you are driving, the problem may be more severe and require immediate attention. Grab the owner’s manual and refer to it if a warning light does come on.
Find a trustworthy repair shop. A good repair shop and trusted technician are vital to maintaining your car’s long, healthy life. The AAA Car Care Center and AAA Approved Automotive Repair facilities adhere to AAA’s strict standards for maintenance and technician certification, offering you the peace of mind you expect from the AAA name.
Keep it clean. Regular cleaning and waxing protects your vehicle’s finish and interior from the elements, dirt and grime. Plus, you’ll feel better driving a clean car than you would a dull, dirty one.
The AAA New Jersey Automobile Club, headquartered in Florham Park, provides automotive, travel, insurance, financial and educational services to residents of Essex, Morris and Union Counties. Visit AAA online at AAA.com.
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