Making sure your vehicle lasts is important. Vehicles are large investments, and most motorists want to keep them safely on the road for as long as possible. Understanding the features of your vehicle and staying current on automotive news can help ensure your vehicle's longevity. We've assembled some helpful information to keep you informed and your vehicle running better and running longer.
Auto technicians say the key to keeping vehicles running well -today and down the road- is routine maintenance. Yet many drivers tend to stall when it comes to keeping up with some everyday auto-basics.

Why Synthetic Motor Oil is Important During the Winter
 Increase Your Fuel Economy with a Fuel System Cleaning
 What is a Coolant Flush and Why is it Important?
 Lubrication Isn't Just for Your Engine
 Are Oil Change Indicator Lights Accurate?
 Have Your Car Serviced Anywhere Without Voiding the Warranty
 Cars by the Numbers: Vehicle Trivia

As the temperature drops, the motor oil in your engine thickens. When you start your car, your oil takes awhile to warm up and begin flowing as it should. During that brief “warm-up,” however, your car's engine is being assailed by friction. Without the protective layer of motor oil, your engine components are literally rubbing up against one another, wearing down parts and causing significant engine damage. As much as 80% of the wear your engine will experience occur as a direct result of cold starts.

Thankfully, there is a way to protect your engine from the damaging effects of cold starts. Synthetic motor oil, like Mobil One, is specially formulated to stay viscus even at the coldest Vermont temperatures. Compared to traditional motor oils, synthetic motor oils start flowing and begin protecting critical areas of your car's engine much quicker in cold temperatures. This reduces wear, protecting your engine and extending its life. As an added winter bonus, synthetic motor oils allow for easier engine cranking, easing the burden on your car's battery during the winter months.

Modern engines and fuel systems are incredibly complex, engineered to work together for peak performance. A clogged fuel injector will cause the other components of your engine to work harder and less efficiently. That decreases your gas mileage while adding unnecessary wear on your engine.

Fuel system cleanings are an important step in making sure your fuel injectors and other critical parts are clean and functioning at maximum efficiency. By chemically scouring several parts of your engine and fuel system, including your fuel injectors, fuel system cleanings remove harmful fuel mileage-robbing deposits.

There are two stages to a fuel system cleaning. During stage one, a highly efficient cleaning solution is introduced directly into the fuel intake system where it reacts to the heat of a running engine. This dissolves carbon build-up on metal surfaces, burning the deposits up in the combustion chamber and increasing your fuel mileage.

During the second stage, another cleaner is added to the fuel tank, slowly cleaning your fuel system while the fuel is burned by your engine. This cleaner scrubs your fuel pump, fuel lines and injectors. Although poured into your fuel tank like the pour-in fuel system cleaners available in gas stations, this second-stage fuel system cleaner is different as it reacts with the cleaners already introduced to your engine during stage one to provide a full cleaning.

Fuel system cleanings don't take very much time and are important aspects of proper engine care. One fuel system cleaning every 15,000 miles can more than pay for itself in improved fuel economy for most vehicles.

Your car's cooling system's main function is to remove heat from the engine. If heat is not removed, the engine can be seriously damaged or even destroyed. The cooling system protects your engine by circulating coolant throughout your engine and then back through the radiator, where it is cooled by fresh air.

Years ago, water alone was used as coolant. The problem with water, however, is that it freezes, especially here in Vermont. If water freezes inside the cooling system, it will expand and rupture expensive components. The freezing problem is solved by mixing water with antifreeze (usually a type of alcohol) to produce a coolant mixture that stays liquid in below zero conditions. Most coolants are also designed to inhibit corrosion of the system.

Industry experts estimate that 40% of engine downtime is caused by cooling system problems, so it's critical that the cooling system be maintained. A coolant flush removes the old fluid from your system, cleaning deposits, corrosion and contaiminants. Once the flush is complete, new fluid is put back into your clean system.

Coolants come in many different formulations, usually differentiated by color. Green coolant, a phosphate and silicate formula, is the most common type of coolant. This type of coolant should be drained, flushed and replaced every two years or 30,000 miles. Orange coolant, which is phosphate and silicate free and often referred to as Dex-Cool or organic acid coolant, is considered to be an extended-life coolant. Depending on the chemical composition, coolant can also come in fuchsia, red, blue and yellow.

Experts recommend that drivers ask their auto service technician to check the color, clarity, freeze point and chemical protection of their coolant at every maintenance interval. These simple tests can tell whether the coolant needs to be replaced.

You're probably diligent about changing your motor oil because you know that your engine needs lubrication, but what about the other parts of your vehicle? Parts on the outside, like your windows, doors hinges, door locks, truck latch and hood latch? If you're planning on keeping your vehicle for years to come, you want to make sure that these important parts get lubrication too.

Failure to properly lubricate door hinge pins can cause the entire door hinge to be replaced, a costly repair that a quick and cheap lubrication can help prevent. There are bushings and pins inside inside door hinges (which are what door actually rotates on) and without lubrication the metal grinds against metal, causing wear which eventually causes the door to stop functioning. Door latches and door locks can get rusty and freeze up, but lubrication can take care of that problem too.

A squeaky window can also be solved with lubrication. In rural areas like Vermont, with many dirt roads, dust and dirt can get into the window mechanisms and can cause the window to not to operate smoothly. Lubricating the window run strip with a penetrating oil will help your window glide up and down easier.

Each time you get your oil changed, make sure to remember the other parts of your vehicle that need lubrication too, from the hood to the doors to the trunk. Maintaining these parts will keep your vehicle squeak-free longer.

Oil change indicator lights are popping up on dashboards in many makes and models of vehicles. You probably assume that these indicators are diligently testing your vehicle's motor oil, and suggesting changes only when appropriate. If you indeed assumed this, you would have assumed wrong.

Regardless of the automaker, oil change indicators do not physically measure the condition of the motor oil in the crankcase. So how do they work? One of two, less-than-accurate ways: checking the calendar or following a computer model.

Some vehicle's indicators are set to go off based on calendar dates or mileage levels. When you reach a certain predetermined date or mileage level, regardless of driving conditions, the indicator light goes off. When you have your oil changed your reminder system resets itself and begins counting days and miles again.

Computer models are also used in oil change indicators. For decades automotive engineers have been studying the effects of temperature, engine speed, load, trip duration, etc. on motor oil. Based on all of this collected data, engineers have devised computer models that take these factors into account. Your vehicle monitors how you drive and in what conditions, and based it's oil change recommendation on that data.

Neither of these methods is accurate. The best way to determine if your oil needs changing is by physically testing it. Checking your motor oil level and condition every time you refuel is a good idea. Is the level on the dipstick in the correct range? Is the oil still yellow or has it turned black? Is it smooth or gritty to the touch? If you're not comfortable checking your own oil, stop in a see us for a free oil check.

One of the most common misconceptions in the automotive world is that to maintain your new car's warranty, you have to bring it to the dealership for service. This is simply not true. You have the freedom to bring your vehicle anywhere you like for service, and your warranty will remain intact.

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act was enacted in 1975 and prevents warranty restrictions like service choice options. Through this act, you have the freedom to choose where you want your vehicle serviced, without worrying about voiding the warranty. It explicitly empowers the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit car manufacturers from voiding a vehicle's warranty because service was done by a non-dealer. Specifically, the language states, “No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the commission if – (1) the warrantor satisfies the commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted products, and (2) the commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest.”

To put it in layman's terms, this means that if the automaker that built your vehicle was going to require you to have that vehicle serviced at the dealership as part of a warranty, the dealership would have to provide that service at no charge.

The act also applies to the parts required for service. If an automaker requires a specific part in order to maintain the warranty, then that part must be provided free.

Although it is not illegal for dealerships to suggest owners maintain their new vehicles at particular facility, requiring owners to do so is. You have the freedom to choose where you want your vehicle to be serviced, and thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, you don't have to worry about voiding your warranty.

According to the Car Care Council
1897 -  Year the first auto insurance was purchased.
1902 -  Year the first speeding ticket was issued; by an officer on a bike.
1905 -  Year the windshield wiper was patented by a woman named Mary Anderson.
$3,000 -  Price of a new Buick Le Sabre in 1960.
$28,500 -  Average cost of a new car in 2010.
$2,210,000 -  Price of a new Koenigsegg Trevita, the most expensive car in 2010.
$5,000 -  Cost of a new vehicle engine, depending on model.
$34.99 -  Cost of an engine-saving oil change at Oil n Go.
29 -  Number of weeks the average American family must work to afford a new car.
4 -  Number of registered automobiles in the U.S. in 1895.
254,400,000 -  Number of registered automobiles in the U.S. in 2007.
330 -  Number of original Volkswagen Beetles sold in the U.S. in its first year.
46 -  Average speed in miles per hour of the winner of the 1901 Grand Prix.
1,445.7 -  Number of miles driven by Eco-Drivers in a Ford Fusion Hyrbid on a single 17 gallon tank.
15 -  Percent of U.S. vehicles that need new license plate lights.
90 -  Percent of car owners who admit to singing while driving.
10 -  Percent of U.S. vehicles that currently have a "check engine" light on.
27 -  Percent of U.S. vehicles with low, overfull or dirty motor oil.
9 -  Percent of U.S. vehicles that need new tires.
26.4 -  Seconds between car thefts in the U.S., on average.
40 -  Milliseconds it takes for the average airbag to inflate.
238,857 -  Miles to the Moon, on average.
2,800,000 -  Miles driven by the world-record-holding high mileage car, a 1966 Volvo 1800S. The engine has never been replaced, which the owner credits to frequent maintenance.