A few minutes of proactive maintenance, including checking and replacing oil and spark plugs at recommended intervals, can often improve fuel efficiency. Many motorists are unaware that simple routine maintenance can not only get you to your destination safely, but can help get the most out of your gas dollars. To help motorists maximize their fuel economy on their summer road trips, AutoZone offers these tips.

Tip of the Week


A few minutes of proactive maintenance, including checking and replacing oil and spark plugs at recommended intervals, can often improve fuel efficiency. Many motorists are unaware that simple routine maintenance can not only get you to your destination safely, but can help get the most out of your gas dollars. To help motorists maximize their fuel economy on their summer road trips, AutoZone offers these tips.


- Switch to a synthetic motor oil. For the everyday driver, synthetic motor oils deliver up to 2 percent fuel economy improvement. (Comparison based upon 2 percent potential fuel economy improvement obtained by switching from higher viscosity oils to a 0W-20 or 0W-30 grade. Actual savings are dependent upon vehicle/engine type, outside temperature, driving conditions and your current engine oil viscosity.)


- Check and maintain all fluid levels. These fluids include engine oil and transmission fluids. And be sure your antifreeze/coolant is up to the task for hot summer temperatures to prevent engines from overheating. Replace fluids if needed, according to recommended service intervals.


- Replace spark plugs, oxygen sensors and air filters as recommended. Spark plugs can affect fuel efficiency, emissions and economy. As spark plugs wear, they do not burn fuel as cleanly, which is why it is important to change spark plugs at the proper interval. Motorists should purchase the correct type of spark plugs and replace them at the interval recommended by the manufacturer. If the owner's manual has been lost, many websites, such as the National Car Care Council's website www.carcare.org, offer a recommended maintenance schedule for vehicles.


- Be proactive. Proactive checks and preventative maintenance of critical engine components can be the difference between staying on the road and being stranded on the roadside.


- Be prepared. Visit an automotive retailer to purchase a roadside emergency kit. Also keep items such as a tire pressure gauge, spare serpentine belt and jumper cables handy.


- Extreme temperatures can mean battery failure. Corrosion caused by heat is the leading cause of battery failure, and batteries often do not give noticeable warning signs if they're about to fail. Check local retailers for free battery testing.


- ARA


The List


According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, here are the 10 cities your car will most likely be stolen in:


1. Fresno, Calif.


2. Modesto, Calif.


3. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.


4. Spokane, Wash.


5. Yakima, Wash.


6. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, Calif.


7. Stockton, Calif.


8. Anderson, S.C.


9. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.


10. Visalia-Porterville, Calif.


Did You Know


On June 26, South Carolina became the first state to have average gas cost less than $3 in a year and a half.


Car Q&A


Q: I am interested in the 2012 Dodge Journey with all wheel drive and would like your comments on the vehicle.


A: I spent a week in 3.6 liter V-6 all wheel drive and I was surprised on the entire package. Our test car had a few options including heated leather front seats ($500), navigation and sound upgrade 8.4-inch touch screen ($700), EPA 16 city, 24 highway, and that’s the numbers I got MSRP as tested. It was $32,520, which is not bad for a loaded SUV. The ride was smooth, and there was no over bump suspension and plenty of power from the V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission.


- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist


GateHouse News Service