To some of us, a car is our baby; we put work into it on the weekends, regularly wash and vacuum it and make sure that people take their shoes off before getting in. To others, it is simply a way for us to get from point “A” to point “B.” But whether your car is your pride and joy or just a mode of transportation, these are maintenance items every car owner should be aware of:
Maintaining Your Tires
Similar to the tread on the bottom of your shoes, a tire’s tread is what keeps your cars on the road and going in the direction you want. You should check your tires once a month to make sure that they aren’t worn down to the point where they don’t get any traction with the road.
If a tire’s pressure is under-inflated, it could cause damage or even a flat tire. It also takes more gas to power a deflated tire. Check your car’s tire pressure once a month and use the car manual to determine the necessary amount of pressure to inflate the tires to.
Tire rotation, balance and alignments are three techniques to evenly distribute wear and potentially expand your tire’s life. They’re usually preformed around the same time as an oil change, or refer to the car’s owner manual for more guidelines.
Check Your Oil
Monitor your oil level regularly to see if you need more oil or should change it. Start by positioning your car on a flat surface and ensure the engine is off. Remove the dip stick and check that the oil marking falls somewhere between the appropriate markings. If it is below, add more oil. The color is also an indicator for a change. If the color is transparent, your oil is newer. If the oil is black, that indicates it is dirty and should be serviced. Check your owner’s manual to find out how often you should check your oil and mark your calendars.
Break Check Signs
It’s important to know the signs to look for, or listen for, regarding your breaks. Schedule a regular checkup if you find yourself sitting in traffic on your day to day commute or if you tend to drive a lot. It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment if you experience any of the following signs while using your breaks:
- Smelling an unpleasant odor
- Vibrations in the steering wheel
- Pulling to one side
- Slower break reaction time
Under the Hood
It’s a good idea to pop the hood and gaze over your engine once a month. You don’t have to be a trained auto mechanic notice a once white air filter is now brown or that a hose or belt has a tear in it. Just taking a peak under the hood regularly can help prevent potential damage.
Raise the Shields
Finally, make sure that your windshield is crystal clear by regularly cleaning both the inside and outside pane of glass. Windshield wipers should be changed once in the fall and once in the spring, unless otherwise damaged. Bends in the wipers or tears in the rubber could obstruct the driver’s sight.
To learn even more ways to service your vehicle, think about training with Tidewater Tech to become an automotive technician.