The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

July 8, 2013

Beat the heat with these 10 summer driving tips


— With the arrival of summer, more drivers will hit the American highways for summer vacations. Valvoline Instant Oil ChangeSM service centers share the following summer driving tips to help motorists prepare their vehicle and ensure it is in optimal driving condition for vacation traveling or day-to-day driving in hotter weather conditions:

1) Change your motor oil regularly

Regular oil changes with the correct grade of motor oil can improve gas mileage up to two percent, as cited from the U.S. Department of Energy at fueleconomy.gov. Synthetic oils are best for high temperature driving conditions and for added protection when towing.

2) Check your tire pressure

Keeping your tires properly inflated can help improve gas mileage up to three percent, as cited from the U.S. Department of Energy at fueleconomy.gov. Be sure to check your tire pressure before you begin driving for the day. This allows you to get a cold pressure reading (the number commonly referenced in your owner’s manual).

3) Clean your fuel system

This helps improve fuel economy and maximize engine performance by removing dirt and deposits from the fuel system.

4) Use cruise control on highways

This will help you maintain a constant speed, which in most cases helps improve fuel economy.

5) Do not idle

It requires less gas to restart a vehicle than to let it idle.

6) Park in the shade or a garage

The sun zaps fuel from your gas tank. Parking in the shade or garage will lessen the amount of evaporative emissions.

7) Check your cooling system (radiator)

It protects your engine from overheating in hot summer conditions. Follow your owner’s manual for regular maintenance.

8) Check your serpentine belt

Replacing the serpentine belt when needed helps prevent breakdowns. It keeps your vehicle’s power steering, alternator, water pump and AC running.

9) Check your air conditioning system

Nothing makes the summer heat more unbearable than traveling with an air conditioning system that will not cool properly.

10) Check your windshield wipers and wiper fluid

The combination of bad wipers and a summer downpour can leave you with no view of the road. Be sure you have plenty of wiper fluid to help keep your windshield clear of dirt and debris.

Also, remember to follow the vehicle maintenance procedures outlined in your owner’s manual. These can help improve your fuel economy and prolong the life of your vehicle. The following should be included:

handling and traction.

—  Check your transmission fluid: Changing the fluid when needed helps restore your vehicle’s operation by protecting the gears from grinding.

handling and traction.

— Rotate your tires regularly: This prevents uneven wear, which can shorten the life of your tires. It also improves vehicle handling and traction.

— Check your gearbox fluid: Changing the fluid when needed restores additives to protect the gears from grinding. This is especially important for four-wheel drive vehicles because they have three gear boxes.