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Drive Your Way to Better Fuel Economy this Summer with Pep Boys


PHILADELPHIA, June 29 -- With a busy summer travel season ahead, The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack , the nation's leading automotive aftermarket retail and service chain, offers families information on how to prepare for safe summer travel and how to improve fuel efficiency when prices at the pump are high.

"Pep Boys recommends that motorists seek preventive maintenance inspections and services to make sure their vehicle's mechanical, electrical and brake systems are able to perform optimally in hot summer driving conditions," said Joe Cirelli, senior vice president of service at Pep Boys. "In addition to preventive maintenance services, there are several simple things that motorists can do to improve fuel efficiency, including ensuring that their tires are properly inflated and that their air filters are clean."

An estimated 32 million motorists hit the road during Memorial Day weekend alone, and heavy Independence Day travel is also expected. However, an ill- prepared vehicle, or one that is not fuel efficient, could stall road trip plans.

  Here are five easy steps to maximize gas mileage this summer:

  Step 1: Check Your Tire Pressure

Under- or over-inflation of tires can lead to decreased fuel mileage, as well as shorten the life of the tires. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports that properly inflated tires can improve gas mileage up to 3.3 percent, saving up to 10 cents a gallon. Consumers should consult their owner's manuals for the recommended tire pressure and check their tires monthly with a good quality tire pressure gauge. Also check the tread for uneven or irregular wear and cuts or bruises along the sidewalls. It only takes five minutes.

Step 2: Change Your Air Filter

Dirty air filters can cause engines to run at less than peak efficiency. Regular visual checks of the air filter can show if it needs replacing, and the owner's manual will suggest appropriate replacement intervals -- usually every 12,000 miles. The DOE reports that replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving up to 32 cents a gallon.

Step 3: Change Your Oil

For maximum engine life, change your oil and filter every three months or 3,000 miles or as directed in your owner's manual. Use the correct oil viscosity because high viscosity oils have greater resistance to an engine's moving parts, which uses more gas. According to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), motorists can increase fuel efficiency by up to 2 percent, saving 2 cents a gallon, by using the proper grade of motor oil.

Step 4: Clean Your Fuel System

The biggest waste of gas is an inefficient engine, commonly shown to the driver through an illuminated check engine light. Often, repair or replacement of malfunctioning components such as mass airflow sensors, oxygen sensors and others will frequently restore fuel efficiency. A properly operating ignition and emissions system can improve gas mileage by up to 40 percent, saving 80 cents a gallon, according to the DEP.

Step 5: Get a Tune Up

A properly tuned engine can increase fuel efficiency from 4 percent to 20 percent, saving 26 cents a gallon, notes the DEP. As part of a modern day tune-up, the following systems should be inspected to improve performance and maintain the reliability of a vehicle:

  * battery, charging and starting
  * engine mechanical
  * powertrain control
  * fuel
  * ignition
  * emissions

Fuel Factoid: According to the Car Care Council, a vehicle's spark plugs 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 regularly.

About Pep Boys

Pep Boys has 593 stores and over 6,000 service bays in 36 states and Puerto Rico. Along with its vehicle repair and maintenance capabilities, the Company also serves the commercial auto parts delivery market and is one of the leading sellers of replacement tires in the United States. Customers can find the nearest location by calling 1-800-PEP-BOYS or by visiting