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Monday, February 26, 2018

Tips for Maintaining Your Vehicle

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Whether you buy a new or used car, maintaining your vehicle is an essential part of keeping your car running smoothly and preventing costly repairs down the road. There are some basic things you can do as part of routine maintenance that will keep you car running at it's best. First, you can check the manual for your vehicle and find out the recommended maintenance schedule. If you don't have a physical copy, most manuals can be found online. 

Under The Hood

The heartbeat of the vehicle is under the hood so of course you want to keep it healthy. This is where all the fluids that run through the vehicle's systems are filled. The oil is one of the first one we think of when we think of maintenance. Car technology had come a long way and so has the types of oil. It is important to know the recommended frequency of oil changes as well as the type of oil to use to get the best performance. The frequency could range between 5,000 - 15,000 miles. 

Along with an oil change, you should change the oil filter. The transmission, coolant, brake, differential, and window washer fluids are the other things that need to be checked regularly and topped off when needed. Also check the hoses and belts for leaks, wear, cracks and splits.
Look the battery over and check for corrosion and loose or worn cables.

The ignition system includes wires and plugs that should be inspected to make sure they are in good condition. 

Tires and Brakes

It's pretty common to have tires rotated at the same time as the oil change. Rotating helps the tires wear more evenly. Watch for uneven wear patterns that could indicate an alignment problem. Check the tread depth to ensure you are getting good traction in wet and dry conditions. Check the air pressure in the tires and keep them inflated to the proper PSI to maintain the performance and safety.  Periodically look the tires over to make sure you haven't run over something that caused damage or punctured them.

Along with the brake fluid, the brakes themselves experience incredible friction and wear. The pads, rotors, shoes and drums are all subject to that punishment. If you hear squeaks, squealing or grinding sounds when you apply the brakes, you are past due for new brakes. Ideally you want to change them before they get to that point. It's difficult to put an amount of time or a mileage on the brakes, but if you notice that it takes longer to come to a full stop or you have to push the pedal further before you feel the the force of the brake being applied, you probably need new brakes. On average if it's been two years or more since the brakes were put on, you probably need new ones.

Around The Car

Other important things to check are the windshield wiper blades and all the lights. The wiper blades are exposed to the elements and can get dry and brittle. The wiper arms need to be able to move freely. There are lights at all four corners of a car and they all need to function properly. The headlights should have high and low beam settings and be adjusted so you can see the road at night or in inclement weather without blinding oncoming drivers. Both tail lights should be solidly lit and the blinkers at the front and back of the car should blink. If there are issues with any of the lights and they don't work as they should, other drivers can't see you or know your intentions and it could impact your safety as well as theirs.

Whether you perform the maintenance yourself or have someone do it for you, these are some of the main systems that require periodic attention in order for your car to keep getting you where you want and need to go and to do it safely. You can find lots of good information about car maintenance as well as search for new and used cars over on Cars.com


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, but the opinions expressed are my own. 

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