It’s easy to forget that cars require regular maintenance. However, without it, you’re likely to wind up broken down and stranded. The first priority is to fully inspect and maintain crucial components, such as the battery, tires, and brakes before heading out onto the road. As well, you need to have car insurance and that always starts by locating cheap auto insurance while ensuring it offers the coverage you need. Have we piqued your interests? Great! There is more ahead, so read on.
Pay Attention to Your Tires
You won’t get very far without your tires, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them. Know what the proper tire pressure is for your tires and check the quality of the tread every month or so. Pick up an inexpensive pressure gauge and learn how to use it, so you can quickly determine if you must stop at a gas station to fill up on air. When your tires aren’t properly inflated, you’re more prone to a blowout, slipping and sliding, and will get worse gas mileage.
Watch Those Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers are inexpensive yet they play a crucial role in your safety. When precipitation is falling, whether it’s ice, snow or rain, you want those wipers to be working in optimal condition. Keep an eye on how your wipers are working. When they start to smudge, scrape or bump, it’s time to clean them off (and see if that helps) or replace them altogether. Also, most cars have rear wipers, don’t neglect it! Seeing out the back window is imperative.
Is Your Car Leaking Fluid?
Leaks are an easy way to discover if there is something wrong with your car. Watery, air condition condensation leaks are nothing to be alarmed by, but if you discover brake fluid, transmission fluid or antifreeze in your driveway or garage where you park your vehicle, you’ll want to head to your mechanic so they can take a look.
Check the Exterior and Interior Lighting
Winter brings less sun and more darkness, meaning vehicle lighting is more important than ever before. You want to be able to clearly see where you are going and what’s around you, and you want drivers to be aware of your presence, as well. Cloudy, dim lights should be replaced or cleaned. Make sure they are pointing straight and the beam is focused forward. Also check the brake lights, turn signals, and tail lights.
Interior lighting is important because you want to be able to see around you inside of the cabin when necessary. Replace any bulbs that aren’t working.
How is the Battery Doing?
The battery is like the heart of the car. If it’s getting old or losing charge, it can easily make the car un-operational or leave you stranded. Consider if the car has been struggling lately – are the power windows lagging when you close and open them? Does your car start immediately or does it take a little time? Check the battery terminals to see if there is corrosion. For an accurate test, visit your mechanic.
Don’t Forget the Fluids
There are 6 essential fluids to check in the car: engine oil, power steering fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and windshield wiper fluid. The engine oil should be a clear amber and reach between the high and low markings on the dip stick. The other fluid reservoirs have marks on them that the fluid should reach. Read through your car manual to familiarize yourself with where all of these parts are located.
Check the Hoses & Belts
You don’t have to be a mechanic to lift the hood and scrutinize the belts and hoses and determine if there are any that are frayed, damaged or look “off.” You might notice a chirp or strange noise accompanying a bad belt or hose. If you see something, take it to your mechanic for a look.
Watch for Warning Lights
Ideally, all you want to see lit up on your dashboard is your speed. However, not every warning light indicates impending doom. This is another good reason to look over your car manual and familiarize yourself with what every light means.
- The Check Engine light is dreaded among all car owners, but might not mean anything dangerous. It could be a bad fitting gas cap or there could be something wrong with the engine.
- The Battery light is another light that causes fear. It could mean a problem with wiring, electronic components or the alternator. Of course, if it’s accompanied with a “whirring” noise and your car won’t start, the battery has died.
- The Oil Pressure light is there to let you know that you either need to add engine oil or something more serious like a leak in the engine.
Maintaining good vehicle health is crucial to keeping you up and running, and away from hefty repair bills.