Whether you are planning a family road trip for the summer or gearing up to get through the winter, taking good care of your car is essential.
Regular maintenance, systems checks, oil changes and monitoring the tires are just a few things responsible car owners can do to ensure that their vehicles are in their best condition around town or on the interstate. And, keeping your car in good condition can improve its overall performance and increase the likelihood of safety for you and your family.
To help your vehicle better serve you – for longer – consider these car care tips throughout the year:
- Check the oil and change the oil filters regularly. Use the type of oil recommended by the manufacturer and be sure to change it at regular intervals (i.e., 3,000 or 7,000 miles).
- Be sure fluid levels are accurate. Measure fluid levels like power steering, transmission and power steering regularly and refill them when they are low.
- Analyze the battery terminals and cables when you take a peek under the hood and clean them if needed to prevent corrosion. Check for calcified acid around the edges or excess acid deposit on the terminals.
- Check your tires – add air if the tire pressure is low, monitor wear and tear on the tread and be sure you have a spare that is road-trip ready in a pinch. Be sure to get your wheels aligned, too. Years of driving along bumpy roads can knock a car’s suspension out of balance, causing more wear on the vehicle.
- Check the air filter to protect your engine from dust and debris. Remove the air filter from the air box to monitor intake and replace it when needed. A clean filter helps improve overall fuel economy and keeps the engine clear from damage.
- Believe it or not, washing your car regularly can help with the overall appearance of the vehicle – and could help save money on an exterior paint job down the road.
- Keep your ignition system in good condition by servicing spark plugs and cables that are worn or old. These old parts can contribute to issues like misfiring cylinders, poor fuel economy and loss of power.
- Check on your car’s cooling system, ensuring that the engine is well lubed. Double check the coolant and maintenance hoses to avoid major problems.
- Drive smarter, not harder. Good driving habits save fuel and extend the life of your car. Be mindful of fast starts and stops to prevent negative effects on the engines, brakes and tires among other things.
- Find a good repair shop and allow them to service your vehicle regularly. A good mechanic who gets to know your vehicle can help you take better care of it long term.