Weekly auto rail, with tips on premium car products, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.

Tip of the Week

In today's economy, people want to know how they can keep their vehicles on the road for longer periods of time. Frequent maintenance will keep your car in good health, ensuring you get the most out of all those expensive-to-replace parts, according to the Car Care Council. When does it make sense to upgrade to a premium automotive product? Here are a few tips on common automotive product categories to help you make informed decisions.

- Gasoline: Engines are designed to use a particular grade/octane of gasoline. While some auto manufacturers specify using a high-octane gasoline, some consumers purchase the higher-octane gasoline based on the assumption that it's better for the car. However, there is no benefit in using a higher octane than recommended by the manufacturer.

- Motor oil: Lubrication technology has seen significant improvements over the years. The longer oil life of high-performance synthetic motor oil allows for extended oil drains, saving time and money, and reducing the impact on the environment. Additionally, some high-performance synthetic oils have been reported to improve mileage as much as 3 percent or more. Three percent may not seem like a substantial amount, but it can result in hundreds of dollars in savings over the course of a year.

- Wiper blades: Where you live is the critical factor in determining the value of upgrading to a premium wiper. There is a noticeable performance difference in low-cost wiper blades versus those specifically designed for rainy and snowy climates. Premium wiper blades are considerably sturdier and more durable than low priced blades.

- Oil filters: Inexpensive filters are typically made with the 3,000-mile interval in mind. These filters often use low-quality paper media for filtration and deteriorate rapidly after 3,000 miles. The new generation of high-performance premium oil filters allow for extended oil drain intervals.

- ARA

The List

According to Forbes, here are the top cars to trade in now:

1. Jeep Wrangler
2. Mini Cooper
3. Toyota Tacoma
4. Mercedes-Benz G-Class
5. Honda CR-V
6. Toyota 4Runner

Did You Know

According to analyst company Polk, Americans now keep their vehicles an average of 10.8 years, the highest average since the company began tracking usage.

Car Q&A

Q: I own a couple of older cars with over 100,000 miles and both burn oil. Neither leaks oil. My question is, would you recommend the use of high mileage oil in my two cars?

A: Yes, I would recommend the use of high mileage oil in your cars and others that fall into this category. High mileage oil has a different additive package than conventional oil blends. High mileage oil will not leak as much and as fast as regular oil and will not burn as fast either. What are the down sides of high mileage oil? Nothing that I have seen over the last four years.

- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service