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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 2001 National Car Care Month vehicle check lanes, 21 percent 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

Friends recommended so I took our car for a oil change and tire rotation. They did a good job! Bonus is the beautiful Irish setters!


-Patty W.

Ron's has always been fair and honest, they do a great job. It's the only place I trust taking my car to.


-Jenifer S.

I have driven my car back to the dealership where I bought the car from for years which was over an hour away because I never felt I received the honest and straightforward auto service I deserved in Owatonna. Out of a real sense of urgency I gave Ron's Repair a try and I can't tell you how pleased I have been with the customer service as well as the auto repairs, maintenance and straight answers about what I really need to take care and what can wait. I highly recommend you give Ron's a chance to take care of your auto repairs needs they won't disappoint.


-Lynn S.

I was quite impressed with my first experience with Rons repair. My car just came out of warranty and I was having some issues with my A/C. Rons was able to get my car in right away and had it fixed that same day, but what really made them stand out is I had a cabin air filter in my backseat that I was going to install at some point and when I picked up my car they had informed me that they went ahead and installed that filter for me. I was not expecting that, saved me the hassle of doing it and it compelled me to give them a great review. All my service work will from now on be going to Rons!!


-Reid B.

I have been going to Ron's for over five years. I have found their service to be excellent and they never do anything that is not necessary. They are honest and do a great job. I would recommend them to anyone in my family or any of my friends. Rons Repair rocks!


-Jody S.

Ron and the crew have always been there for our family when our vehicles need attention, at times with short notice even. Great communication, honesty, and good pricing.


-Cassandra Z.

They like dogs, I like dogs. I like a working car, they make that happen above and beyond. And I even got a flower when my car was all done. What lady doesn't love that?


-Teana W.

Great service and friendly staff. Not to mention there are DOGS!!


-MN Y.

Great, (and honest), service at an awesome price! Mike and the boys at Ron's will take of you and all of your vehicles! They fit me into the schedule on short notice and have a loaner for me to use while they work. Thanks Mike!


-Wade W.

I walked in overwhelmed from a crash on the highway, from out of town and another 2 hours away from home. They looked at the car and made sure it was drivable until I could get it home for the night. He got me chocolate and water to calm my nerves and made sure I was ok to drive before I left. Would recommend his shop to anyone, wheather you’re just driving through or a local.


-Ashley R.
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