Like most things, your vehicle needs routine maintenance to ensure optimal performance and dependability. April is National Car Care Month. Though it’s not required that drivers are automotive experts, we wanted to cover a few things. These quick tips for basic car care can help keep you on the road and your vehicle in good condition.
One of the easiest things to keep an eye on and replace is the wiper blades. A dirty or obscured windshield can hinder your ability to see the road. Keep safety in mind and your field of vision clear with effective and efficient wiper blades.
Speaking of windshields, be sure to keep washer fluid levels topped off. This is especially helpful in the spring when roads are often wet and dirty. In case you need it, consider keeping a spare gallon of windshield washer fluid in the trunk.
Also, check the oil for level and color on a regular basis. Motor oil keeps the engine’s moving parts lubricated and running smoothly. If the oil level is low, top it off. If you notice the oil is dark and dirty, it may be time to schedule an oil change so you don’t encounter problems down the road.
And monitor the coolant level. Coolant helps keep your car from overheating and helps protect the head gasket, water pump, and pistons and cylinders. We suggest a coolant flush every 40,000 miles or as your vehicle manual recommends.
If your car has trouble starting or won’t start at all, there could be an issue with the battery or spark plugs.
Have the battery tested twice a year to make sure it’s holding a charge and occasionally inspect the terminals for corrosion. A few passes with a wire brush can keep things clean and ensure proper battery function.
Changing spark plugs can be a simple fix and may be the underlying issue if you notice the car has:
You can always take your vehicle to a trusted auto service shop to determine the cause and find a solution.
Just as your home air conditioner requires regular upkeep, so does your car’s cooling system. The air filter protects that system and prevents dirt, dust particles, and other pollutants from blowing through the vents. Check and change the air filter every 12,000 miles to keep the AC functioning properly.
The belts and hoses under the hood move the parts and fluids to keep your vehicle operating. Give them a quick look now and again for signs of wear, such as cracks, fraying, or swelling. Keeping belts and hoses in check will help ward off potential damage to essential engine parts.
Timing and serpentine belts should be replaced every 60,000–100,000 miles. Replace hoses about every four years or sooner if you notice visible wear.
Do you notice a squealing noise when you apply the brakes? The brake pads might be worn down and should be replaced. Delaying this fix could be more costly over time, as the rotors can become damaged, warp, or break. Or the entire braking system can overheat and fail.
Keep your vehicle’s tires properly inflated to improve things like handling, responsiveness, and fuel economy. About once a month, check and verify the air pressure in each tire. And don’t forget to check the spare, too; you never know when you might need it.
When you have the oil changed, ask your automotive specialist to rotate the tires as well. This can help provide more balanced wear and extend the life of your tires.
Your vehicle is a complex machine. With so many moving and important parts, keeping track of them all can be a trick. That’s why we’re here to help.
In honor of National Car Care Month, Jeff’s Auto Service is happy to provide these quick tips for basic car care as well as more extensive repair solutions should you need them. We know how much you depend on your car and want to get you back on the road quickly and safely. If you have questions about your car’s maintenance or want to schedule an appointment, contact us today.