Taking Care of Your Car So It Can Take Care of You
I’m that guy who buys a car and drives it 300,000 miles. When people come to my shop and trust their car with me, my goal is to make that car last at least 200,000 miles — that’s a minimum!
Twice a year, in April and October, the Car Care Council brings awareness to regular car maintenance and care. Fall brings falling leaves, temperatures, and snow. Regular, year-round maintenance is important for your vehicle, just like your body. You need to visit the doctor on a regular basis, sometimes just for a check-up, to be proactive and prevent any health issues. Cars are the same way. So, in fall, it is
important to service your vehicle to get that tuneup done and prepare your car for the new season.
Check your vehicle’s fluids.
Just like our bodies, cars need their fluids to be clean, up to date, and within the right amount and concentration to run properly. Be sure to check your oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and power steering fluid. If you find that your oil needs to be changed or your vehicle is running low on brake fluid, get your car into the shop! In cooler winter months, antifreeze is a good idea to keep your
vehicle from freezing over.
Test out your battery.
In hot summer months, the heat can drain your car battery. Check to see if your battery is charging and discharging correctly and that there is no corrosion anywhere on it. It is also wise to ensure that all of the battery’s connections are secured tightly. The last thing you want is for your battery to die on you when it’s chilly outside.
Check your belts and hoses.
Your belts and hoses are kind of like the tendons and ligaments in our bodies. They hold everything together and help things work as a team underneath the hood. Check for any leaks and inspect the belts and hoses for any signs of wear and tear. If you find something that looks a little old and worn, replacing it before it causes any problems is your best bet.
Don’t forget your tires.
Whether you are in the summer or the winter, having reliable and safe tires is essential. You need to have adequate tread on your tires for traction to avoid any safety hazards. Examine your tires for any bumps or bald spots. Signs of uneven wear typically point to requiring a wheel alignment in the near future. You should also check your tire pressure on a regular basis. Keep in mind that in cold climates, tire pressure can drop anywhere from 1–2 pounds per square inch for every 10 degrees in temperature.
Check those brakes.
Just as important as the engine is your car’s braking system. We rely heavily on our brakes, especially in the cold months. If your brakes
are squeaking, or your pads are wearing thin, it may be time for some TLC. Be sure to have your brakes inspected by a professional,
as brakes save lives!
Test your lights and windshield wipers.
Lights and windshield wipers are essential for dark or rainy driving conditions because you want to be able to see and be seen. Check
that both your interior and exterior lights are functioning properly and that your wiper blades are not rubbing or leaving streaks. Visibility while driving is paramount for the safety of yourself and others on the road.
By taking proper care of your vehicle, you are prolonging its reliability. Your car is a piece of mechanical equipment, and things will need to be replaced and tuned up over time. A vehicle is the second most expensive item most people own next to a house. We get in our cars every day and trust them with our lives. Do right by your car and yourself and keep up with the maintenance!
- Randy Bunn