Tips and Tricks
Your Auto Maintenance Professionals
Full Service - Foreign & Domestic
1835 Highway 83
Hartford, WI 53027-9774
Phone (262) 673-9900
FAX   (262) 673-9928
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Avoid Premature Fuel Pump Failure

Improving Fuel Economy

Parking on Unpaved Surfaces

Drive Your Car Weekly

Extended Storage

Don't Forget Chassis /Driveline Lube

A Solution to Rodent Problems

Preparing for Diagnostic Service

Avoid Premature Fuel Pump Failure --  Fuel injection systems operate at pressures as high as 90 psi.   Fuel pumps that achieve this performance are powerful, quiet and compact, and packaged as an integral unit with the level sender and regulator installed within the fuel tank.  These fuel pump designs utilize internal recirculation of fuel, as a means of cooling the pump-motor, while in operation.  When the fuel tank  is less than 1/8 full, this cooling process is compromised, and the fuel pump runs hotter than normal.  While this condition will not immediately damage your fuel pump, the cumulative effect of sustained operation at less than 1/8 full fuel, will shorten the life of a very expensive component.  Always fully fuel your vehicle when the level gets low.  

Improving Fuel Economy -- This is a popular topic these days.  None of these points is expensive to address, however if they are neglected, you will see the result in substantially increased fuel bills.  In decreasing order of importance:
Parking on Unpaved Surfaces -- If your circumstances permit, avoid regularly parking your vehicle on unpaved or unsealed surfaces.  Day to night temperature fluctuations will cause moisture in the air to condense on the underside of your vehicle, causing excessive corrosion to exposed metal components.  If you must routinely park on gravel or bare ground, placing a sheet of plywood or heavy cardboard under the car, will minimize this dewing of the underside of your car.

Drive Your Car Weekly --  If you own a 'seasonal' vehicle (plow truck, sports car, etc.) or a vehicle that can have extended periods of inactivity, you can avoid substantial damage and future repairs by driving the vehicle on a regular basis.   Long periods of inactivity can cause deterioration in a variety of ways:  1)  If the vehicle is stored outside, condensation can form on the metal surfaces under the vehicle and cause serious corrosion of the body, fuel, and brake lines.  2)  Condensation can form inside the engine block and contaminate the engine lubricant.  3)  The lubricant film can drain from bearing races and allow a damaging type of corrosion to occur at he point of contact in rolling element bearings.  It is recommended that all vehicles be driven a minimum of 10mi per week or a sufficient weekly distance to fully warm-up the engine.

Extended Storage -- If you are unable to operate your vehicle on a weekly basis and are contemplating extended storage, here are some key points:  1)  Block up the vehicle to take the weight off the tires and wheel bearings.  2)  If storage is contemplated for 6mo or less, add fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank.  If storage is contemplated for more than 6mo, empty the fuel tank.  3)  Store the vehicle in a temperature controlled environment if possible.  4)  Attach a battery tender to the battery and leave it plugged in 24/7.  5)  Once monthly crank the engine over for 30 seconds, or start the vehicle and fully warm it up.  6)  Install fresh engine lubricant at the beginning of the storage period, and replace it within 100mi of taking the vehicle out of storage.  7)  Take adequate precautions to prevent rodents and insects from taking up residence in the vehicle.

Don't Forget Chassis /Driveline Lube -- Although manufacturers are making more use of 'lubed-for-life' chassis and driveline bearings, many vehicles are still being built with serviceable bearings.  These items include drive shaft u-joints, suspension ball joints, and steering tie rod ends and arms.  A serviceable component will have a fitting for the periodic introduction of 'chassis' lubricant or grease.   Most 'lubed-for-life' components don't really last more than 150,000 miles.  On the other hand, serviceable components will literally last for the life of the vehicle if they are lubed on a regular basis.  We include a complete chassis and driveline lube with each full service 'oil-change'.

A Solution to Rodent Problems -- Here in our rural area, it is not unusual to find rodent damage under the hood and inside the car.  This damage can include; 1) accumulation of nesting material, feces, urine, and food supplies, and 2) chewing of wiring insulation and plumbing components.  Obviously the first approach to eliminating this problem, is an effective pest control program in the areas where you park your car.  If a pest control program is not fully effective or practical, we have found that strategically locating fragrant 'drier sheets' in the car and under the hood, will frequently discourage aggressive rodent activity!

Preparing for Diagnostic Service -- You have a poor running vehicle or your check engine lamp has just come on and your set up with an appointment to have the problem diagnosed.  What can you do to facilitate your technician's efforts in diagnosing the problem and getting it repaired?  Be prepared to help!

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