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HELPFUL INFO

Are You Ready For The Road?

An average of 13,000 Americans are killed between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, some as a result of unperformed vehicle maintenance, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Each year, neglected maintenance leads to more than 2,600 deaths, nearly 100,000 disabling injuries and more than $2 billion in lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.

Most mechanical failures can be traced to neglected maintenance. For example, the U. S. Department of Transportation reports the leading cause of mechanical breakdown on our nation's highways is overheating, a condition that is easily avoidable. Other deficiencies that are simple to detect include low antifreeze/coolant, worn or loose drive belts and defective cooling system hoses.

Checking tire pressure and inflating a tire costs nothing, yet an average of 21 percent of cars inspected in check lanes during National Car Care Month have under inflated tires. This can lead to a blowout and a serious accident.

Fuel Saving Tips

Condition Effect MPG Penalty up to
Under inflated tires Increase rolling resistance 1-2mpg
Dirty air filter Causes excessively rich fuel/air mixture 2.0mpg
Worn spark plugs Cause inefficient combustion, wasted fuel 2.0mpg
Worn O2 sensor Unable to detect and adjust air/fuel mixture 3mpg
Dirty or substandard engine oil Increases internal engine friction 0.4mpg
Loose gas cap Allows fuel to evaporate 2.0mpg
Potential loss in fuel economy if all of the above were neglected
11.4mpg

The Car Care Council offers these fuel-saving tips:

  1. Vehicle gas caps -- About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
  2. Under inflated tires -- When tires aren't inflated properly it's like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon.
  3. Worn spark plugs -- A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced as recommended by the manufacturer.
  4. Dirty air filters -- An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a "rich" mixture -- too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 20 cents a gallon.

Fuel-saving driving tips include:

  • Don't be an aggressive driver -- Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, which results in 10 to 66 cents per gallon.
  • Avoid excessive idling -- Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
  • Observe the speed limit -- Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mpg driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control is recommended.

WIPERS - In the 2001National Car Care Month vehicle check lanes, 21percent of participants had wipers that smeared, streaked or chattered across their windshields. Although climates vary, wipers generally need replacing every six months. An easy reminder is to change wiper blades in the spring and fall when you change your clock. Be sure the windshield washers are working properly, too, and keep the reservoir filled with solvent.

LIGHTING - Another important pre-trip check should be exterior and interior lighting. Vehicle check lanes revealed an overall failure rate of over 25 percent in the lighting category. The Car Care Council reminds motorists to check their lights monthly. Other suggestions from the Council include turning on headlights both day and night. This helps define your car's position on the road, and its distance from other drivers. When your vehicle's lighting is defective, other motorists may not get the message that you intend to stop or turn. The end result could be disastrous.

10 Minute Pre-Trip Checkup Can Pay Off

Car Care Council offers three suggestions for a traveler's 10-minute pre-trip checklist:

  • Check all fluids. There are several fluids, in addition to antifreeze, that require attention, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission fluids and windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  • Check hoses and belts. A belt that fails can affect the electrical system, air conditioning and power steering, as well as the cooling system. Cooling system hoses may be deteriorating from within, so old hoses and clamps in marginal condition might need to be replaced.
  • Check the tires. Check tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear, indicating the need for wheel alignment. Also look for bulges and bald spots.

"While a last minute checkup is better than no checkup, motorists should plan ahead to allow time to perform necessary maintenance themselves or at the local service facility. A properly maintained vehicle is safer and more dependable and will even save a few dollars at the gas pumps," said the Car Care Council's Executive Director, Rich White.

Not only can a pre-trip inspection help reduce chances of costly and possibly dangerous road trouble, it also provides an opportunity to have repairs made at home, with one's own technician who knows the vehicle. Especially important, it provides peace of mind. While no inspection can guarantee a car's performance, it's comforting to know proper precautions were taken.



ASSOCIATIONS

  • ASE (Automotive Service Excellence)
  • CARQUEST
  • IATN (International Automotive Technicians' Network)
  • Jasper
  • TECH-NET
  • Interstate Batteries
  • Car Care Aware

Testimonials

  • This is the best Auto mechanic in Asheville hands down. Mike and his crew have worked on all my vehicles for almost a decade. Everything from oil changes to complete engine replacements. I have never had any problems, they always do a great job and finish the work in a timely manner. Finding a trust worthy Auto mechanic is not an easy task, Mike is the best I have ever worked with, his knowledge is vast which makes him one of the best at diagnosing problems.
    -G. R.V.

  • I always buy new vehicles, so I rarely have mechanical issues with my cars. However, I typically order new tires for my cars online, and have gone to Mike Byer for years to have those installed on my cars. I also have my inspections done there, and as a matter of fact had new tires installed and an inspection done last week. I also know others who use Mike Byer, and have never heard of anyone having a bad experience. These guys are unfailingly polite, courteous, professional, and fair. Their pricing is the best in town, and I trust them (something that you value highly when dealing a mechanic, obviously). I would recommend them to anyone in the Asheville area who needs an auto mechanic.
    -Brian C.

  • I have used these folks twice now and each time they gave me clear reports of what they found and options for each including if/when/how to approach each. Their prices are great and things were done when promised. Great folks to work with!
    -Todd D.

  • I moved to the area 6 years ago and never thought I would find someone I trusted to take care of my car troubles. I'm so glad I found Mike Byer. Everyone is always very polite and respectful, in my experiences. Every service or repair I've had was completed in a timely manner and either at or under the estimated cost. They've come through in the clutch when I needed an oil change before making an emergency trip out of town and even checked my tire pressure. I show up without an appointment, having a tire that needed a patch and they handled it with grace. These folks treat you like a person and a member of a community, not like a dollar sign. This is also one of the few places that hasn't treated me differently based on my gender or what they assume I know about cars. I would highly recommend Mike Byer Auto for ALL of your automotive needs. Thanks guys, keep up the fantastic work!
    -Holly M.

  • An excellent example of a solid local and trusted shop. I've gone there several times and driven away feeling that what I asked for was done properly and at a reasonable cost. Reliability is worth a lot to me and I've not been let down.
    -Larry W.

  • Have been a customer of Mike's since 2008 and have had nothing but consistently successful experiences with him and his staff. In the automotive field, it's rare to find a trusted and highly experienced group of personnel who accurately troubleshoot the full variety of automotive issues, and who keep the customer's best interests a priority. His facility provides a personalized and comfortable atmosphere where the customer can feel confident in making a well informed purchasing decision. He and his associate, Sumpter, both have a way of reporting diagnostic results in a language that any customer can easily understand. In short, I would recommend anyone to Mike Byer Autoworks.
    -A.J. M

  • Mike Byer Auto fixed my car for $400 less than what I was quoted at Mountain View Tire. They are honest and knowledgeable and give great customer service. I will come back.
    - Emily