Showing posts with label Vehicle Maintenance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vehicle Maintenance. Show all posts

The Importance of Not Topping Off Your Gas Tank


When it comes to car maintenance and fueling practices, there are many misconceptions that continue to persist, despite being proven false. Just as some still believe in warming up their cars in the morning before driving, there is another persistent myth - topping off your gas tank. In this article, we aim to shed light on the reasons why you should avoid this practice and why it is essential for the health of your vehicle, your safety, and the environment.

What Is Topping Off Your Gas Tank?

Topping off your gas tank refers to the act of continuing to squeeze the trigger after the gas pump has automatically stopped pumping. Another common topping-off maneuver is to slowly pull the nozzle out just enough to reset the trigger. Whether it's to get that last drop of gas or round up to the nearest dollar, this practice is not a wise one. You might have noticed that gas pump handles have a rubber collar to cover the gas tank opening while you're filling up; this collar is a safety feature designed to prevent gas vapors from escaping - the very thing we allow when we top off our gas tanks.

Why Is It a Bad Idea?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), topping off your gas tank not only fails to save you money but also poses various hazards. It can harm your car, endanger people, contribute to environmental pollution, and even lead to fires. Gasoline vapors can result in health risks and air pollution, and overfilling the tank can cause the gas to overflow, polluting groundwater and posing a hazard to wildlife.

A remarkable example from Consumer Reports highlights the detrimental effects of topping off. Gasoline tends to expand by about 1% for every 15-degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature. Considering that temperature variations of 30 degrees or more can occur in a single day in many regions, this can lead to a significant expansion of fuel, potentially more than a quart. Such expansion can force fuel into the charcoal canister that absorbs vapors, rendering it inoperative and creating a potential hazard.

The Consequences of Topping Off

Topping off your gas tank may result in immediate consequences, such as spilled gas, irritating vapors, and other safety hazards. However, the problems don't stop once you drive away from the pump. When you refuel your vehicle, a charcoal canister collects gas vapors to reduce hydrocarbon emissions. Modern vehicles employ a closed-circuit system that prevents these vapors from escaping, utilizing them to create more fuel. If you top off your gas tank, even once, the vapor filter can be damaged. Without proper filtration, your car will emit hazardous vapors, and the engine's performance and fuel economy can suffer, leading to costly repairs.

The Check Engine Light Connection

It's not uncommon for the check engine light to come on after refueling. This can often be attributed to either an untightened gas cap or topping off the gas tank. An overfilled tank can cover the vapor intake hole, causing fuel to be drawn into the charcoal filter. When the emissions filter becomes saturated with fuel, the check engine light stays on, and it's crucial to address this issue promptly to prevent further damage.

Breaking the Topping Off Habit

Are you ready to kick the topping-off habit and put an end to this urban legend? For many drivers, simply understanding the risks involved can be motivation enough. However, if you find it challenging to break the habit, you might consider investing in a car with exceptional fuel economy or a hybrid vehicle. With such vehicles, you'll find yourself needing to refuel less frequently, reducing the temptation to top off your gas tank.

In conclusion, topping off your gas tank is a practice that should be avoided for various compelling reasons. Not only does it pose risks to your vehicle's health and your own safety, but it also has detrimental effects on the environment. So, next time you fill up your tank, remember that it's best to resist the urge to top off and prioritize the well-being of your car, yourself, and our planet.

Understanding the Importance of Spark Plug Maintenance for Optimal Engine Performance


In the realm of internal combustion engines, the role of spark plugs is paramount. They are the initiators of the combustion process, orchestrating the delicate interplay between spark, fuel, and compression. At Drive Auto in Leachville, Arkansas, we recognize the pivotal role of spark plugs in an engine's ability to start and run seamlessly. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of spark plug maintenance, deciphering their impact on engine performance and longevity.

The Triumvirate of Power: Spark, Fuel, and Compression

The symphony of engine operation is orchestrated by the trio of spark, fuel, and compression. These three elements, when harmoniously synchronized, enable an engine to roar to life. Understanding that these are the foundational elements of engine function is essential for any car owner.

The Crucial Role of Maintenance

Maintenance is the cornerstone of a well-functioning vehicle, and spark plugs are no exception. These small yet mighty components require regular attention to ensure optimal engine performance. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, coupled with the type of spark plug used, a replacement interval of every 20,000 to 40,000 miles is recommended. Your vehicle's maintenance schedule, a guide found in your owner's manual, serves as your roadmap to keeping your spark plugs in prime condition.

The Perils of Ignoring a Dead Spark Plug

The repercussions of driving with a dead spark plug are not to be taken lightly. A non-firing cylinder leads to the accumulation of excess fuel, causing a cascade of issues. The engine's lubrication system, designed to protect vital components, is compromised as fuel washes away essential engine oil. This accelerated wear on pistons and rings, exacerbated by dilution of engine oil, can lead to costly repairs.

Decoding the Blackened Spark Plug

A spark plug donned in black unveils a story of combustion imbalance. It signals an air/fuel ratio skewed towards richness or an influx of oil into the cylinder. Drive Auto's experts discern these symptoms as potential red flags, warranting a closer examination of engine health.

Oil-covered spark plugs are harbingers of deeper maladies within the engine. This predicament can be attributed to several underlying issues, ranging from faulty gaskets to more severe internal engine component fractures. Recognizing these potential culprits – such as valve cover gaskets, head gaskets, valve guide seals, spark plug tube o-rings, worn piston rings, cracked pistons, and damaged heads – is pivotal.

Deferring Maintenance: A Risky Gamble

At Drive Auto in Leachville, Arkansas, we advocate for proactive maintenance to avert catastrophic failures down the road. Neglecting spark plug maintenance and other essential upkeep can transform into a costly repair ordeal. It's prudent to explore all avenues, including the option to sell your vehicle.


As we conclude this exploration into the world of spark plug maintenance, we extend our commitment at Drive Auto in Leachville, Arkansas, to empowering vehicle owners with knowledge. A well-maintained spark plug is emblematic of a thriving engine, and our team stands ready to guide you on this journey. Prioritizing spark plug health translates to enhanced engine performance, prolonged vehicle life, and a smoother ride – all aspects that define our dedication to exceptional automotive care. Contact Drive Auto today to embark on a voyage towards engine excellence.

How to Keep Your Used Car Running Well


Owning a well-maintained used car isn't just about having a mode of transportation; it's an investment in reliable mobility. As we delve into the key aspects of maintaining a used car for optimal performance, you'll discover that a little attention goes a long way in extending the life and value of your vehicle.

Regular Maintenance

Following your car manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule is like giving your car a personalized healthcare plan. This routine care involves basic yet crucial tasks like oil changes, fluid checks, and filter replacements. By sticking to this schedule, you're not only ensuring smooth operation but also preventing potential costly repairs that can sneak up on you.

Monitor Fluid Levels

Your car's performance dances to the tune of its fluids: oil, coolant, brake fluid, and more. These unsung heroes play pivotal roles in keeping your car running smoothly. Regularly checking and topping up fluid levels is a simple task that can save you from unnecessary headaches. Remember, using the right type of fluids ensures your car's systems work harmoniously.

Tire Care and Rotation

Tires are your car's shoes, and like a well-fitted pair, they need attention. Proper tire maintenance isn't just about safety – though that's paramount – it's also about fuel efficiency. Regularly checking tire pressure and ensuring it's within recommended limits keeps your ride stable and efficient. Additionally, rotating your tires and maintaining proper alignment promotes even wear and a longer tire lifespan.

Brake System Inspection

Brakes are the unsung heroes of safety. Regularly inspecting your brake components is like ensuring your safety net is intact. Visual inspections can reveal signs of wear, tear, or potential issues. If you notice any abnormalities or changes in braking performance, it's wise to seek professional help. Your safety and that of others on the road depend on it.

Battery Maintenance

Your car's battery is its electrical heartbeat. Ensuring a healthy battery is key to smooth starts and uninterrupted electrical functions. Cleaning battery terminals and connections might seem like a small chore, but it can prevent big problems. Extreme temperatures can play havoc on your battery's lifespan, so proper care is essential for longevity.

Effective Driving Habits

Your driving habits are like the conductor's baton in an orchestra – they set the tone. Smooth acceleration, controlled braking, and avoiding sudden maneuvers might seem like small practices, but they contribute significantly to your car's longevity. Using the right gear and avoiding excessive idling not only saves fuel but also reduce wear and tear on your vehicle's components.

Proper Storage and Shelter

While your car is built to weather the elements, prolonged exposure to harsh weather can take a toll. Imagine it as your car's skin – it needs protection too. A garage or a car cover can shield your vehicle from the sun's scorching rays, rain's caress, and snow's chill. For those periods of long-term storage, such as during a vacation or seasonal hibernation, a few precautions can ensure your car awakens in prime condition.

Addressing Issues Promptly

Minor issues in life tend to escalate if neglected, and the same applies to your car. That seemingly harmless squeak or minor vibration might be indicative of a larger underlying problem. Promptly addressing these concerns not only saves you from bigger and costlier repairs but also keeps you safe on the road. Regular visits to a mechanic can unveil hidden issues before they wreak havoc.

DIY vs. Professional Maintenance

There's a time for DIY and a time for professional expertise. While changing air filters and bulbs might fall under the do-it-yourself category, more complex issues demand skilled hands. Knowing when to seek professional help is essential. Think of it as seeking a specialist's care when a minor ailment turns into something more serious – the sooner, the better.


Maintaining a used car isn't just about aesthetics; it's about prolonging its life and your investment. Following these steps ensures that your car stays roadworthy, safe, and efficient for the long haul. The regular maintenance, fluid checks, and attentive driving all contribute to a harmonious and economical relationship with your vehicle. As you embark on this journey of vehicle care, remember, a well-loved car rewards you with years of faithful service while saving you money and granting you peace of mind. So, create a personalized maintenance plan that aligns with your car's needs and your driving habits – your car will thank you with miles of joyful journeys.