Price versus value: when is it worth the upgrade? - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Price versus value: when is it worth the upgrade?

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(ARA) - 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?

That's a question that stumps a lot of people when confronted with the wide range of prices for seemingly comparable products. 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. In fact, if you paid 40 cents a gallon extra to purchase super premium gas as opposed to regular, that would cost you an additional $320 a year (assuming 12,000 miles driven and 15 miles per gallon).

The bottom line: Don't use a higher octane rating than recommended by the car's 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 such as Royal Purple 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.

The bottom line: Upgrade to a high-performance synthetic motor oil for extended oil drains and improved fuel economy.

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.

The bottom line: Rainy and snowy climates justify spending a few dollars more for premium wiper 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 from manufacturers such as K&N, Royal Purple and others allow for extended oil drain intervals. For example, Royal Purple uses a proprietary long-life, micro-glass media that provides protection for 12,000 miles. It also provides an increased level of protection due to the density of the filtration. You can find out more at

The bottom line: Upgrade to a premium oil filter if you plan to extend oil drain intervals or if you operate your vehicle in extreme conditions such as dusty environments or cold weather climates.

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