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  • Mon 7:30AM - 5:30PM
    Tue 7:30AM - 5:30PM
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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.




What Our Customers Are Saying

I have had the timing belt replaced, my brakes done, and a few other things fixed at Smokey Hill Auto Service and I have no complaints what-so-ever. They have always done a great job! No complaints at all.


-Carl

Brought my car in for 60K scheduled maintenance. They did a great job, communicated well and did it a very fair price without trying to sell me unnecessary services. This is a shop you can trust, and that's hard to find.


-David

The best auto repair shop I have ever dealt with. Friendly, highest quality work, reasonable prices and get the work done without any delays.


-Tom B.

This repair shop is great. I've used their services multiple times over the years. They are honest on the repairs needed and always charge a reasonable price. They also do the the repairs quickly. I recommend them highly.


-Chris Page

I found Smoky Hill Auto through Yelp when I moved to Colorado about a year and a half ago. A good mechanic can be hard to find, and I'm happy to say that I haven't had a problem with their service to date. Granted, I haven't required any major repairs to my car. So far, I've had standard oil changes, factory-required maintenance, and tune-ups. I've always dropped off and picked up my car after business hours, which is convenient and straightforward with their key drop box. The customer service has been excellent - the gentleman answering the phone is exceedingly polite and explains what unexpected issues, if any, were found with my car and what needs to be done. He's always kept me updated with a couple of calls over the course of the day that my car is in the shop. Payment over the phone using a credit card is easy and quick. I suppose the true test will come when a more major repair is needed, but for now, I have found their service to be honest and friendly. I'd gladly recommend them based on my experience.


-Christine G.

I have been going there for about 5 years after my friend recommended them. They are truly honest about the repair work needed. They never do more than is needed. One time I took the car in because I thought it needed a new cabin air filter and Craig told me that he had replaced it a little while back and that I didn't need a new one yet. Many auto dealers would just put in the $75 filter and not look out for you. Another time I took it in because my brakes were squeaking and I told them I needed new brakes. They looked at the brakes and told me that my front brakes were still good for another 20,000 miles so they only needed to do the back ones. Today I took my car in because the window wipers went haywire and were flapping all over the place and crisscrossing each other. Before looking at it I asked Craig how much he thought it would cost and he said it could be something simple or the whole wiper motor may have to be replaced. Either way, I needed it fixed. They called and said they just readjusted and tightened them and the charge was $27.50. They only do what is necessary and are always honest. I recommend them highly!!


-Betty Delaney

I found smoky hill auto many years ago, and would highly recommend them . A honest mechanic is so hard to find these days. They are great explaining whats going on with my car and their prices are very reasonable and I will continue to recommend them to everyone!


-Gregg Randolph

Craig loves cars and truly enjoys helping his customers keep their cars in top running order. If you are looking for an honest mechanic you can't go wrong at Smoky Hill Auto Service!


-Kathy Hess Fisher
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  • Call Us For Service: 303-766-9227