According to recent studies, 5 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities are caused by automobile maintenance neglect.
Cooling systems should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of coolant should be checked at this time. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is typically recommended.)
Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled. The condition of belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a professional.
Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts or extended trips with a trailer or heavy load.
Replace your other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc) more often than recommended if you drive in dusty conditions. If you are experiencing engine problems such as hard stops, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc, make sure to get them corrected at a quality automotive shop.
A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressure once a month; making sure to let the tires cool down first. Don't forget your spare and be sure your jack is in good working condition.
Check your owner's manual to find out what fuel octane rating your car's engine needs.
Keep your tires inflated at their proper levels. Under-inflated tires make it harder for your car to drive which means your engine uses more fuel to maintain speed.
Lighten the load. Heavier vehicles use more fuel, so clean out unnecessary weight in the passenger compartment or trunk before you hit the road.
Use the air conditioner sparingly. The air conditioner puts an extra load on the engine forcing the vehicles to use more fuel.
Keep your windows closed as much as possible. Wide-open windows, especially at highway speeds, increase aerodynamic drag and the result is up to a 10% decrease in fuel economy.
Avoid idling for long periods of time. If you anticipate being stopped for more than one minute, shut off the car. Contrary to popular belief, restarting the car uses less fuel that letting it idle.
Stay within posted speed limits. The faster you drive, the more fuel you use. For example, driving at 65 miles per hour (mph) rather than 55 mph, increases fuel consumption by 20 percent.
Use cruise control. Using cruise control on highway trips can help you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, reduces your fuel consumption.
Keep your engine well tuned. A fouled spark plug or a plugged/restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.
Inspect the engine's belts regularly. Look for cracks or missing segments. Worn belts will drastically affect the engine performance.
Have the fuel filter changed every 10,000 miles to prevent rust, dirt, and other impurities from entering the fuel system.
Change the transmission fluids and filter every 15,000 to 18,000 miles. This will protect the precision crafted components of the transmission/transaxle.
Inspect the suspension system regularly. This will extend the life of your vehicle's tires.