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Get A Spring Tune-up!

By Abbey Wagner, InsWeb
auto insurance quotes
Spring is here, and just like your house may need a spring cleaning, your car may need a spring tune-up. Cars take a lot of abuse in the winter, especially if you live in an area prone to snow, ice and extremely cold weather. It is a good idea to take your car in once the weather starts to turn warmer to prevent a domino effect of things going wrong. If you skip regular tune-ups, and something is wrong with your car, that one malfunction can affect many other parts of your car. Before you know it, you might have a hefty repair bill!

Also, if you plan to spend your spring and summer vacations on the road, it is always important to make sure your car will get you to where you want to go! A good way to ruin a vacation is to end up spending half of it waiting for your car to get out of an unfamiliar mechanic's shop. If you would have used the place you know and trust at home before you left, you could have prevented this extra cost and delay of your vacation.

To avoid this, it is important to keep on top of your regular auto maintenance schedule. Check your records and see when your last regular tune-up was. If you are due for another, the spring is a good time to get it. You can make sure the car was not damaged by that constant cold weather or trips up to the mountains to ski. You may also want to have the mechanics check your cooling system. Have them pressure test the system for leaks, inspect all connections, and check the condition of your belts, hoses, and coolant mix. If your cooling system fails, you cannot drive your car. No one wants to be stranded on a beautiful spring or summer day because they didn't have their cooling system checked. Also, have your mechanic check your emission system (if it hasn't been checked in the past year).

Another benefit of regular checkups is that they may prevent you from getting in an accident. What if you didn't get your brakes checked and they failed right when you least expected it? Not only could this endanger your life (and the lives of your passengers), it can also make your auto insurance costs go up, not to mention the repair costs for the damage to your car.

Combat Rising Gas Prices
Not only do regular tune-ups prevent unwanted breakdowns, they also help you save money on gas. Some mechanics estimate that a poorly tuned engine can use up to 50 percent more gas than one that is running well. As gas is by no means cheap these days, why would you want to fill up your engine twice as often if you could have prevented it?

Here are some other tips, besides keeping your engine well tuned, to help save you gas:

  • Drive at Steady Speeds. Driving steadily at the speed limit can really help cut down on your vehicle's gas consumption. Stops and starts take more gas, so try to anticipate stops and traffic flow ahead of you as much as possible. Driving your car too fast can really cost you, both with regard to gas and the speeding ticket you might receive!

  • Keep your tires properly inflated.The proper inflation for your tires should be specified in your owner's manual. If your tires are under-inflated, your vehicle will consume more gas when you drive.

  • Try to minimize your driving.Try to plan one long trip instead of several short trips. If you can, try to carpool, use alternate transportation (buses, trains, subways) or ride your bike or walk if your destination is nearby and you can spare the time. These are obvious ways to save gas, and they have the additional benefit of helping to spare the environment.
So, make an appointment for a spring tune-up today. Getting regular tune-ups can save you time and money.

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