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Hands-On Car Care Tips from the Experts

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Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:32 am, Thu Oct 10, 2013.

(StatePoint) Whether you’re a car enthusiast seeking to soup-up your baby or just trying to make the family sedan run smoother, there are several easy do-it-yourself maintenance tips that can help keep your car or truck firing on all cylinders.

It’s all about learning a few things about your vehicle and being willing to get your hands a bit dirty.

Here are some hands-on preventive maintenance tips from the experts at Valvoline, which first introduced motor oil in 1866 and ever since has been studying the evolution of engines and how to keep them running their best. To celebrate these efforts, Valvoline is offering some useful tips and also has created a cinematic TV campaign that showcases its decades of expertise in motor oil.

• Check That Oil: Whenever you get under the hood, it’s a no-brainer to regularly check your oil. Two things can cause drops in your oil level: the engine burning or leaking oil. If the level becomes too low, you’re risking major engine damage. Often, the bearings are the first things to go. If they’re toast, you won’t go very far before the crankshaft and connecting rods become welded together.

• Change Those Filters: Too many drivers postpone fluid and filter changes, ignoring their oil, oil filters and coolant. Staying on top of filter and coolant needs will help maintain a clean, adequate supply of oil critical for long-term vehicle life. Remember, operating conditions and seasons both influence how often oil should be changed.

• Make Sure Tires are Right for the Season: When the weather gets cooler and wetter, you need to be equipped with the right tires and accessories to hug the road. Whether this means appropriate rubber for mud or snow or full-on chains, it depends on where you will be driving. The same applies to warm weather driving. Tires engineered for cold don’t last long in heat.

• Don’t Overload: Don’t overfill your vehicle. Whether you are loading it for a family trip or are pulling a trailer down the highway, you can overtax your cooling system or even buckle your frame or break axles. It’s less costly to figure out what load you’re carrying then cross reference it against the load capacity decal on your vehicle’s door jamb.

• Use the Right Octane Fuel: Many drivers overdose on octane. Use whatever octane the engine is rated for, nothing more or less. Higher-than-required octane doesn’t improve mileage or yield more power. It only costs more. But using lower-quality fuel in a vehicle that calls for high-octane gas isn’t smart either.

• Learn more: To highlight the importance of its more than 140 years of expertise under the hood, Valvoline has produced a TV spot that showcases the variety of breakthroughs it made creating motor oils for such classic engines as a late 19th century steam tractor engine, a 1920 Model-T, a 1950s Hot Rod, and cars from the 1970s and 80s. Viewers can see these vehicles at work by viewing the TV spot at www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAl1Esf2K7U.

And what have car owners and car experts alike learned in all these decades? The better you understand your machine, the better you are at keeping it running. More information about the history of motor oil can be found at www.Valvoline140.com, along with a $5 coupon to save on a five quart jug of motor oil.

So get under the hood regularly, because that’s where you will learn the most about your vehicle.

Photo Credit: (c) Tyler Olson - Fotolia.com

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