Q. Are there any things I can do to get better gas mileage?
There are a variety of things you can do about your vehicle and driving habits to get better gas mileage:
- Avoid high speeds. Not only is it safer to drive 55, it can increase gas mileage by as much as 15%
- Use your cruise control on any long trips. Maintaining a consistent speed helps optimize gas mileage.
- Don't let the motor idle for long periods. Turn it off if you think you will be waiting a few minutes and avoid long winter warm-ups.
- Reduce excess vehicle weight by not carrying a lot of unneeded items inside the car or trunk.
- Keep your car well maintained; tune-ups, oil changes, filter changes, lubrication, proper tire inflation and other general maintenance can improve gas mileage as well as provide better safety and peace of mind.

Q. If my car starts to overheat, what should I do?
An overheated engine is a serious issue. If your car gets significantly overheated, the engine can be damaged in a way that will require very costly repairs. As soon as you notice an overheating situation find a safe place to pull your car off the road then turn off the engine. DO NOT try to check the radiator coolant level! Hot coolant can be under great pressure and cause serious burns. The safest option for you and your car is to call for a towing service.

Q. Should I rotate my tires regularly?
Failing to keep tires properly inflated and rotated as part of regular maintenance can contribute to premature wear and possibly even a failure. Some makers recommend rotating tires every 6000 miles. The exact schedule and method of rotation for your particular vehicle and tires can be determined by auto care professionals.

Q. How often does my car need and oil and filter change?
Every 3000 miles is a common answer but the fact is, the schedule can vary depending on the vehicle make and the kind of oil and filter used. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual should provide information but if you are unsure consult a professional.

Q. Is synthetic motor oil a better choice for my vehicle?
Synthetic motor oils can be a good choice for some vehicle engines. Synthetic oil tends to be more expensive but they do sometimes provide added benefits such as improved fuel economy or a lengthened interval between oil changes. To be sure synthetic oil is a good choice for your vehicle and that it is properly installed, always consult a professional.

Q. Does a timing belt really need to be replaced at the recommended interval?
Yes, absolutely. A timing belt failure in some car models can result in further damage to the engine. Costs for repairing damage to an engine created by a timing belt failure will be much more costly than the maintenance replacement of a timing belt.

Q. Should I do anything special before taking my car on a long drive like a vacation?
It is always a good idea to get a professional inspection of your vehicle before taking a long trip. A breakdown on the road far from home can turn a dream vacation into a nightmare. Even more important is safety for you and your passengers.
But DO NOT wait until the day before you plan to leave! Finding out on a shortened timeline that you have a serious problem could delay your planned departure and that is almost as bad as breaking down on the road. Getting your car to a professional a couple weeks before your vacation and letting them know your plans and that you want a "pre-trip inspection" can detect any minor or serious issues that could affect the performance or safety of your vehicle yet still allow time to get it repaired properly and not delay your trip.
Also, consider a travel insurance program like those offered by AAA. Not only can it provide some extra peace of mind, there are other benefits like a variety of travel discounts as well as maps and trip planning. The many benefits are well worth the modest cost.

Q. If the "check engine" or "service engine soon" light comes on, what should I do?
Don't panic. Numerous sensors and computerized components manage engine performance and emissions. If one malfunctions the "check engine" light indicates there is a problem. Your car may still seem to be running okay but it is important to have the problem checked as soon as possible to prevent any situation that may create a need for a significant repair.

Q. Can I replace a burned out fuse myself?
If you know where the fuse is located and can determine which fuse is blown you can replace it with one of the same amperage (it will be printed on the fuse). Removing a fuse sometimes requires a tool to make the removal easier. Some vehicles come with a special fuse puller but a pliers will often work to remove a stubborn fuse. If a fuse continues to "blow," you likely have a problem in the circuit and should have it checked by a professional.

Q. If my car turns over slowly on starts, is it my battery?
Not necessarily. There are a variety of issues that can cause slow starting of which battery problems are included. Periodic inspections of battery terminals and cables is necessary to ensure they are clean and in proper working order. The battery itself could be showing signs of age and it can be tested to find any possible problems.

Q. Is there anything I should check on my car before taking a day trip?
A "day trip", can take in a few hundred miles of driving. Even when your car has been on a regular maintenance schedule by a professional, you should consider doing a quick "Do-It-Yourself" car inspection.
- Check the fluids; oil, coolant and windshield washer. (Consult your owner's manual if you are uncertain.)
- While under the hood, take a look at the battery terminals and make sure they look clean.
- Check all of your lights and signals. (If no one is around to watch the brakes lights, you can check them by stepping on the brake and looking for a reflection on a surface or object behind the car.)
- Check the tire pressure and while doing that take a quick look at the condition of your tires.
- Inspect your wiper blades for damage like splits or abrasions and check to make sure they clean the windshield properly.
- If you have a cell phone, be sure it is fully charged and with you.
- Make sure you have emergency phone numbers as well as maps or other information that will make your trip easier, safer and more enjoyable.

Q. My cars seems to use a lot of oil, is that normal for my make or age of vehicle?
The amount of oil being used needs to be clearly determined but no vehicle should use significant amounts of oil between regular changes. There are numerous things that can cause increased oil use. First, watch for leaked oil spots where you park. Also, keep track of how much oil you are adding between changes. Consult a professional to assess your particular situation or problem.

Q. How often do fuel filters need replacing?
The replacement interval for a fuel filter is usually listed in your vehicle's owner's manual. But some situations may require replacement sooner than the recommended time period.

So always remember . . .

If you need the help of a good mechanic during a trip, be sure to look for an AAA approved service center like Florissant Garage and Radiator to be sure you are treated fairly and professionally.

If you have any questions about the care and maintenance of your vehicle, remember the professionals at Florissant Garage and Radiator are here to help by answering questions and addressing your concerns. If you need professional assistance or service, remember we are here to help you.



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