Weekly auto rail, with car checkup tips, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.
Tip of the Week
Two key components in any vehicle are the braking system and the battery. AutoZone experts offer the following tips to ensure these vital parts are properly maintained.
- Give brakes a checkup. Excessive build-up of road salt and brine solutions in the winter on brake components is one cause of brake failure. These solutions can create contamination of exposed brake parts and can cause brake components to deteriorate prematurely. Hazardous road conditions can also lead to increased use of antilock braking systems, which can cause premature wear of all brake system components.
- In general, brakes are the most important safety feature on any vehicle and should be checked quarterly to ensure proper performance. Brake pads and rotors should also be checked any time the tires are removed, such as during a tire rotation. Other brake components such as brake fluid should be checked at every oil change.
- A battery's biggest enemy is heat. High temperatures can cause the grids inside batteries to corrode and break down. The effects of the corrosion are usually seen when winter hits, when the car requires more electrical power to start. Drivers should have batteries tested up to twice a year in normal climates, and more frequently in extremely hot or cold climates.
- While batteries can last more than five years in ideal driving conditions, factors such as temperature, the car's age and nature of usage can impact the life of a battery. Many motorists are unaware that under the stress of normal city driving, the average life of a vehicle battery is about three years.
According to The Street, here are 10 used cars to check out before buying new:
10. Ford Escape
9. Nissan Altima
8. Subaru Legacy
7. Honda Accord
6. Subaru Forester
5. Acura RSX
4. Toyota Highlander
3. Mini Cooper
2. Honda CR-V
1. Toyota RAV4
Did You Know
According to Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service, every extra 100 pounds of weight in your vehicle reduces gas efficiency by 2 percent.
Q: My car and my wife’s car state in the owner’s manual to use 93 octane gasoline. As you know, the price of gas is out of sight, and premium gas is 20 to 40 cents higher than regular. My question is, is there any long-term damaging effect using the 87 octane gasoline in either the BMW or Lexus?
A: If it is any consequence, all my personal vehicles also require 93 octane. The premium is at an extra cost just as the cars that require its use. My wife also wanted to start using the 87 octane. I will tell you the same thing I told her. The higher-octane gasoline burns hotter, slower and cleaner than the lower-octane gas. The higher octane will leave less carbon and deposits on the internal combustion area. In my opinion you should only use the lower octane when the premium is not available.
- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist
GateHouse News Service