Vehicle Tips For Every Season

 
















You know you should be taking better care of your car, but you don't know where to begin. And, frankly, you wish your vehicle would take care of itself! Fortunately, there are several simple things that you can do to save yourself time, money, and frustration.

Take a look at these tips to make sure you are at least covering the basics, and that you can make it to and from your destinations without trouble.


Check Under the Hood


Honestly, there is a lot going on under the hood of your vehicle. Aside from not knowing where to find the hood latch (never done that?), the first glance can be somewhat overwhelming. All of the various parts sometimes look like a tangle to the untrained eye. Not to worry! Today's vehicles usually have the basics clearly marked, making it easy to check fluid levels and so forth.

The first thing every driver should do is pay attention to the engine oil level and its cleanliness. Additionally, it is important to check the transmission fluid levels, belts, brake and power steering fluid levels, and antifreeze/coolant levels. Look for anything that appears to be loose, wiring that’s worn or exposed, and for anything that's warped.


When checking fluid levels, it's important to look to see where the minimum and maximum level lines are. Make sure your fluid levels are in between these two lines. Also, check for leaks in any containers and make sure nothing is wearing or worn out. If certain areas appear abnormally wet or coated, it is worth a closer look - or possibly a phone call.


In addition, pay close attention to your car's battery and be aware of its age. Every five years or so, you should have the battery replaced.


Change the Oil


Oil is a critical component - your vehicle needs it! Running out of oil will cause your engine to fail. You should check the oil levels of your vehicle regularly. While you may be able to drive further, it is recommended that most vehicles have the oil and oil filter changed about every 2,000-3,000 miles - certainly have the oil changed before you reach 5,000 miles. That oil is going to get dirty and thick, increasing the wear and tear that results within the engine itself. 


Check the Exterior


You should check your tire pressure with a gauge at least once a week. Also, you should check the condition of your tires and, if needed, have them rotated or purchase new tires if yours are worn out. 


Check to make sure your headlights and taillights are working. This is, of course, a safety thing first. However, it could also save you the expense or embarrassment of getting pulled over for missing a brake light. One great way to check your lights is when you are running your vehicle through the car wash. Once those wash doors close, check if your car’s reflection is visible on the doors - front and back. If it is, you can use them to check turn signals, brake lights, high/low beams, and flashers. Don't wash your car at the auto-wash? Kids sometimes like to help with checking the lights at home.


Ensure that nothing is leaking under your vehicle. If you have your own parking space at work, or a regular spot at home - perhaps in the garage, it is a good idea check if your vehicle is leaving small (or large??) puddles everywhere. Keep in mind that a certain amount of condensation can be natural, like when you are running the A/C all summer or when you leave the car running in the -30F temps to warm it up - expect to see a few drips. However, if you are seeing puddles of bright green, red, or anything oil, you might need to look a bit closer!


Check the paint on your car and look for chips and the beginning of any rust. In regions that experience snow, ice, and freezing rain, salt is often used to help keep roads clear, safe, and driveable. The bad news is that this salt will accelerate corrosion on your vehicle. So, if you have chips, it can lead to rust. Fenders and wheel wells are a good place to look, since these areas receive more than their share of the road grime!


Wrapping It Up


Use these tips to develop some simple habits, and keeping your vehicle on the road & running optimally will be a breeze! Additionally, vehicle maintenance is not only imperative to making sure your vehicle stays in quality condition but, more importantly, it is a matter of safety. 




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