National Tool Warehouse - Auto Tools & DIY Mechanics Blog
The National Tool Warehouse blog is geared toward DIY mechanics and includes everything from body fillers and putties to lifts and jacks. The National Tool Warehouse blog also features motorcycles, sports cars, and trucks categories to help DIY mechanics with nearly any type of vehicle.
While gas prices haven’t pushed the $5 mark in almost a decade, nobody wants to spend more on gas than they have to. AAA cites the average price of gas was $2.85 September this year. We could limit our trips, car pool, use public transportation, or many other things to lower the amount of money we pay for fuel but, we are famous for our mobility. America is a country of drivers.
As a nation, Americans love to drive putting an average of 13,474 miles on the roads ever year according to Motley Fool contributor Matthew DiLallo. The U.S. Federal Highway Administration says the average American drives 13,476 miles every year. With Wyoming leading the 50 states in miles driven 22,306 per driver at an annual cost of $1,917.34 (second highest) per year. Those trips to the gas pump really do add up, so how do we keep fuel costs from taking such a large bite out of our wallet?
Trucking companies and others in the transportation industry know one of the keys to maximizing fuel efficiency is to keep the trucks in good top working condition. According to Fleet Hall of Fame inductee and Over The Road Truck blogger, Mike Antich, the 2019 forecast is filled with corporate strategies to procure the most fuel efficient and task specific vehicles to add to their fleets. Aging fleets can seriously impact the bottom line in several ways fuel consumption ranking at the top along with deprecation.
While no one can change deprecation, we can take a hint from the transportation industry. The professionals and well informed “DYI-ers” can use diagnostic tools to help pin-point the perfect ratio of oxygen to fuel, timing lights to adjust the spark plug firing, and aftermarket modifications (mods as those in the know call them), to alter the vehicles default settings. Some states have statutes limiting aftermarket changes to the fuel/oxygen ratio. Be sure you are up to date on your training and states’ emission laws before you make any modifications.
However, there are simple steps professional drivers as well as average commuters can take to improve fuel efficiency. Most of the remedies for poor fuel consumption are basic. Don’t run the A/C at full blast on every trip, cut back on auxiliary items such as navigation systems and refrigerators, ensure your gas cap seals tightly, and most importantly: slow down. Another overlooked fuel saver is the basic tune up. Keeping your vehicle in top shape can boost fuel efficiency.
You can take your car in to a professional or you can do the job yourself. Be sure you have the basic tools for the job: socket set, screwdrivers, and ratchet are items most people already have on hand. Other, not so common items you may need are a spark plug gap tool, spark plug socket, collapsible magnet, tire gauge, and tread tool (tires are a part of the tune up too). Don’t forget electrical grease and your camera. The electrical grease keeps contacts from rusting and lets the electricity flow. Use your camera to take before and after pictures to be sure you put everything back in the right place the right way. Don’t overlook your cars owners manual. It’s a great resource to guide your tune up.
Another excellent resource is YouTube. Yes, YouTube. This is a great way to brush up on your tune up skills and learn the latest in car maintenance. Try searching for videos using the term ‘Hypermiling’. Hypermiling is the latest slang term denoting all the ways to keep your fuel efficiency up and costs down. However, the same basic rules still apply: keeping it simple is the best way to improve your autos performance. Bear in mind there are plenty of fuel saving myths out there too.
Some of the myths such as buying gas when it’s cooler so you get more are theoretically correct but don’t work in practice. According to Consumer Reports, most fuel stations store fuel underground which results in only small fluctuations in temperature no matter what the temperature is on the surface. They also have found that Low Rolling Resistance tires may save a small amount on fuel, however, keeping the tires properly inflated will make up the difference. They suggest buying good, all around tires.
To truly maximize efficient fuel consumption, though, improve your driving habits. Reduce your speed, keep your vehicle tuned, and tires properly inflated. These simple steps will keep more money in your pocket without taking away your American love of the open road.
The dog days of summer are here; have you summer-proofed your car? Yes, summer-proof your car!
Most of us are well aware of the damage the chill of winter can wreak on our SUVs, vans, and trucks but the heat and UV rays of summer can also harm our vehicles.
According to R.L. Polk, Americans keep their cars for an average of six years and most vehicles are resold at that time. Taking the time to summer-proof your is not only good for your car, it can add dollars to your resale price. Statista – The Statistics Portal, reported people are selling their vehicles at ever increasing rates.
Want top dollar for that car when you are ready to sell it? Make sure it looks good. The most obvious summer-time damage is to the paint and the dashboard. The UV rays of the sun can discolor paint and crack the dashboard until it looks like a model of the Grand Canyon.
BYK Laboratories explained that the UV rays breakdown the organic compounds in the paint like the binders which lead to the paint discoloring and drying out to the cracking point. Also increased dust because of dry, summer conditions can really build up.
Dust acts like sandpaper on your cars’ clear coat. The clear coat not only makes the car look good but more than that, it is the primary barrier against rust. The scratching effects of accumulated dirt and dust coupled with the drying effects of the suns UV rays, acidic insects from increased summer insect populations, bird droppings, and tree sap all have adverse effects on an otherwise beautiful and beneficial paint job.
Don’t forget, every trip to the beach we not only bring home sand in our shoes but also in our car, on our car and in our air filters. An air filters’ job is to trap sand, dust, and other particles to keep them from mangling our vehicles’ engines. Regular checks and changes of the filters will keep our engines running smoothly and a quick wash will rid the paint of the scratching sand.
Plastics and vinyl tend to absorb UV radiation more quickly than paint. This leads to crumbling windshield wipers, which do little good in the occasional August rain shower. One place you might not think of when you think of summer damage are the belts and hoses under the hood. Excessive heat from parking in the sun can damage these parts as well. It would be a good idea to check them a few extra times during the summer.
Summer Proofing Steps –
Park in the shade whenever possible but be careful of parking under trees that might drip sap and be a favorite roosting spot for birds
Wash your car often – once a week is recommended. Hand washing is recommended but having the vehicle on a regular washing schedule and hand dry – Don’t let it dry in the sun
Protect interior by tinting windows, using a windshield sun screen and using a protectant on the dash