Weekly auto rail, with tips on how to keep your engine performing at its best, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.

Tip of the Week

Your car is one of your largest investments, and by taking extra steps to keep your engine in top condition, you can help extend the life of your vehicle. Danny Lawrence, the assistant chief engine builder and trackside engine department manager for Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines and the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, has a lot of experience working with engines in the shop and at home, and has some tips.


"Keeping track of what you are doing for your engine helps you stay on top of maintaining your vehicle," says Lawrence. "Antifreeze, oil changes, changing the air filter; these are key elements of proper vehicle maintenance."


He also notes the importance of using a high-quality fuel.


"Using a gasoline that contains a cleaning system to help remove gunky build-up on critical engine parts, such as Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines, can make a big difference," Lawrence says.


-- ARA


The List


Sales fell for most auto companies in September. Here’s a look at the changes in sales from the same period in 2008:


Hyundai: +27 percent


Ford: -5.1 percent


Nissan: -7 percent


Toyota: -13 percent


Honda: -20 percent


Chrysler: -42 percent


General Motors: -45 percent


Did You Know


If you own a Tesla Roadster electric car, don’t worry about going to the mechanic – they’ll come to you. If you live far away from a dealership, you might not like the house calls: Tesla is charging a minimum of $100 per trip, based on miles away from the dealer. 


Car Q&A


Question: I am interested in the 2010 Ford Taurus and would like your opinion.


Answer: I recently spent a week in the 2010 Taurus SEL. Ford has done a spectacular job on this vehicle, from the upscale leather massaging seats with colored stitching to the steering hub controls. All controls are easy to reach and use. Fit and finish was good along with great style. Even the alloy rims had a great design. Open the hood and there is plenty of room for service. Driving the car over bumps, to my surprise, no front end noise or bump steer. The engine and transmission have ample power and are very smooth. If this is the direction the new Ford is going, keep you eyes on a great car company.


-- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist


GateHouse News Service