Our next car needs to guzzle less gas. We've begun the research, but it's tedious to run through every single carmaker's website and find the mpg for each car. Is there any easier way to compile this information?
The easiest and most efficient way to come up with your first-pass list is to go to Fueleconomy.gov. On the homepage, you will see the gateway to do a "power search." You can make the search parameter "miles per gallon" and you can type in the number you want to achieve. For example, if you say you want 25 mpg or better, you will be presented with a list of dozens of cars, from the Kia Rio Eco to the Volkswagen Golf.
Naturally, before you buy, you'll want to also consider such things as purchase price and reliability. But at least this will provide you an easy starting point.
After how many miles should you replace windshield wiper blades?
It's not really a matter of miles, but months. Wiper blades degrade with time, and they degrade faster if you live in harsh-climate areas, including those that are extremely hot or dry, not just in those areas where there's a lot of rain, ice and snow.
Most blades will last in most climate conditions for six months or so before they show the telltale signs of petering out. For example, they're merely smearing the grime across the window instead of creating clear, sharp visibility; they leave streaks; or they chatter excessively across the glass.
I'm a proponent of heavy-duty wiper blades. Even though they cost about twice as much as regular blades ($20 to $30, as opposed to $8 to $15), they tend to last longer - about a year, even where I live, in the Rocky Mountains, where they have to work pretty hard in the winter and where the conditions, at 6,500 feet above sea level, are quite arid.
I hate finding myself in bad weather conditions at the failing point of a set of blades, so I buy the best and monitor carefully for the first small sign they're beginning to wear out.
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