Add Length to Your Vehicle's Life

With the economy on the rebound after the country's worst financial times in decades, many a smart vehicle owner is looking to get more bang for their vehicle buck. In lieu of quick trade-ins, more and more vehicle owners are applying the lessons they learned from the recession to their vehicles and trying to make their purchases last longer.

According to the automotive experts at the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), today's vehicles are designed with long-lasting reliability in mind, making it easier for vehicle owners to get more and more out of their vehicle purchase. To do just that, consider the following tips courtesy of ASE.

* Find a repair shop that suits your needs. Motorists often cite the difficulty in finding a reliable mechanic they feel they can trust. A courteous staff that's willing to answer your questions is a good starting point, as is a shop that's displaying the ASE sign or logo, which indicates the shop employs certified technicians. Also, check the shop walls for any past commendations, including civic, community or customer service awards.

It's also a good idea to check what vehicles the mechanics are currently working on. If the vehicles in the parking lot are equal in value to your own, that's a good sign.

* Do the small things to save fuel. The cost of fuel is among the highest costs associated with owning a vehicle. But small things like ensuring tires are properly inflated, replacing misfiring spark plugs and even clearing the trunk of clutter can all increase fuel efficiency and help your bottom line in the process.

* Give your engine a break. Cars aren't all that different from the human body in that everything is directly or indirectly connected as a system. Just like a body can overcompensate in one area when another area is injured, a car's engine will be forced to overcompensate when there are deficiencies in other areas. For example, a clogged air filter or fouled spark plug makes combustion less efficient, which reduces power -- and wastes fuel as well. Motorists can give their engine a break by replacing clogged filters, sticking to their vehicle maintenance schedule and routinely checking fluid levels.

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