Tips to Maintain a Healthy Car

According to recent studies, 5 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities are clearly caused by automobile maintenance neglect.

Now, that’s the extreme that can happen when you don’t properly maintain your vehicle, but there are plenty of benefits to be gained in addition to not being killed … by following some simple and inexpensive preventive checks.   The following will greatly extend the life of the vehicle, ensure safer operation and even benefit the environment: Always consult your owner’s manual for individual service schedules because maintenance requirements vary by manufacturer, but a good rule of thumb is to have your oil and oil filter changed every 3,000 miles.  This is also a good interval to have your mechanic to examine the various systems of your car to make sure there are no problems developing. Have all fluids checked, including brake, power steering, transmission/transaxle, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze. These fluids play a large role in the safety and performance of the vehicle. Check tire inflation. Under-inflated tires can result in a loss of fuel efficiency. This is the least expensive form of preventive and safety maintenance. Keep your engine tuned. A fouled spark plug or plugged/restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent. Have the chassis lubricated frequently. This step extends the life of the moving components of the vehicle’s suspension system. Check battery cables and posts for corrosion and clean as needed. The battery fluid also should be checked and filled if low. Have the lighting system checked frequently, including headlights, turn signals, and brake and taillights. Check windshield washer blades for cracks, tears and windshield contact. There’s nothing worse than getting caught in a rain or snow storm and not being able to see because your blades are streaking. Inspect engine belts regularly. Worn belts will affect the engine performance and a broken belt could cause severe damage. Look for cracks and missing sections or segments. Have the air filtration system checked frequently. The air filter should be checked every other oil change for clogging or damage. This system ensures that the vehicle is performing at its peak condition.

To Be Checked Every 3,000 Miles:

Automatic Transmission Fluid Check level with engine running and transmission in park. If low, add type of ATF specified in owners’ manual and/or on dipstick. For best results change every two years or 24,000 milesBattery and Cables Battery should be securely mounted. Battery connections should be clean, tight and corrosion-free. Belts Check for looseness, cracks or glazing. Replace V-belts every four years/36,000 miles. Replace serpentine belts every four years/50,000 miles, or sooner if needed. Replace belt per interval specified in owner’s manual. Typically, this is at 60,000 miles. Not replacing the belt as required could cause a breakdown or serious engine damage Brakes and Brake Fluid For best results, have the entire brake system – including brake linings – inspected at every other oil change. Cabin Air Filter Replace annually, more often in areas with heavy airborne contaminants (i.e. the Front Range in the winter due to all the sand they put down on the roads)    

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John's Auto Care is an auto repair shop in Boulder, CO. Our mechanics treat every repair like it's our own car.

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