Don’t be a cheapskate on auto maintenance

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Richard Perry.

■ Richard Perry / The Hemet Car Guy

Greetings from The Hemet Car Guy!

After driving for more than 37 years, there are things that I have done differently.

Quit giving my car a treat
I used to pay extra for high premium gas. Now I buy the lowest grade/octane gasoline appropriate (your car may require otherwise). Premium fuel won’t boost fuel economy or performance, so skip it as long as your engine doesn’t knock or ping or regular.

Quit topping off
Don’t bother topping off your gas tank. Any additional gas is just going to slop around or seep out.

Tighten the gas cap
Be sure to tighten up the cap. Loose, missing or damaged gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate each year, according to the Car Care Council.

Go for the shade
When parking, I go for the shade. Sun can zap fuel from the gas tank. Buy a good windshield shade. It can help keep your car cool.

Use a garage
Park in a garage and you won’t have to depend as much on your gas-guzzling air-conditioning or defrosters when you drive.

Pump up tires
Underinflated tires wear down more quickly and reduce gas mileage. Keep a digital gauge in your glove box. Compare your tire pressure with what is recommended in the owner’s manual. Inflate your tires as needed. Check pressure when tires are cold.

Keep engine tuned
Fixing a car that has failed an emissions test can boost gas mileage by about four percent. You’ll also want to watch out for misfiring spark plugs, which can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.

Replace air filter
When the air filter is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs, it causes your engine to work harder. The Car Care Council recommends changing your car’s air and oil filters every three months or 3,000 miles or as specified in your owner’s manual.

Use the right oil
You can improve your car’s gas mileage by one to two percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Opt for motor oil with the words “energy conserving” on the API performance label. This oil contains friction-reducing additives.

Don’t skimp on maintenance
Be serious about auto care. Your car’s performance depends on it. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance. If you neglect it, your car won’t be as efficient.

Good Driving!
The Hemet Car Guy

Richard Perry is The Hemet Car Guy and owner of VIP Autos in Hemet. For more information, visit

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