Weekly auto rail, with gas tips, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.
Tip of the Week
Colder temperatures mean cold oil, tires and cold air in the carburetor - all factors that reduce gas mileage. With higher prices lingering at the gas pumps, a few fuel-saving tips can help protect your miles per gallon this winter.
- Warm your car up the right way. Many people believe the myth that you must warm your car up in the winter. The truth is that idling your car destroys your mpg and isn't necessary. Modern cars don't require a warm-up, even when the temperatures drop below zero, according to AAA. Modern engines, those built since about 1990, have fuel injection systems rather than carburetors and need no more than 10 to 30 seconds to get oil moving through the engine properly. Auto experts recommend driving moderately in cold weather to allow the engine and other systems to warm up slowly and reduce wear and tear.
- Get your car winter ready. From changing the oil to checking the tire pressure on a regular basis, improving your winter gas mileage is easier than you might think. "Your vehicle's motor oil becomes thicker in colder temperatures, which adds stress to the engine," says Jim Rossbach, CHS director of technical services and quality. "Try a thinner grade of oil to keep your engine running smoothly in the colder months." Proper tire inflation can also improve fuel economy by up to 3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Lighten the load. Extra weight from cargo or snow also reduces fuel efficiency. Cleaning out your car and clearing off heavy snow is an easy way to get better gas mileage.
According to CNBC, here are 10 great cars you have to wait for:
2013 SRT Viper
2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus
2015 BMW i8 Hybrid
2013 Porsche Cayman
2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series
2014 Jaguar F-Type
2015 Ford Mustang
2015 Acura NSX
2014 Chevrolet Corvette
Q: I recently got a discount oil change coupon from my local dealer and they also offered a no-charge inspection. The cost of the oil change was $19.95 and I thought that was a great deal. I did go for the oil change and the list of recommended services came to $1,000-plus. I spoke with another customer that had less than 30,000 miles and her estimate of needed services was $800. I went back to my local repair shop with the recommended service list. They checked the car out and came back with only $300 worth of needed service. Why do the dealers try to sell so many unneeded services?
A: The key word is up-sell. Most coupon deals are loss leaders and meant to get you in the door as they did and it got you away from your local shop that charges $29.95 and up for the oil change. Most (not all) customers will go for the repairs, and that’s what keeps the coupons coming. Another coupon special is buy three tires, get one free. Think about it – we are not talking about a $4 Monday special pizza. There are a lot of up-sell services that are not listed in the maintenance manual and unnecessary.
- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist
GateHouse News Service