As spring rolls into summer, people start to plan vacations, road trips, or just a casual Sunday drive. In honor of National Car Month, we have compiled important facts you should know about the fundamentals of what your car needs.
- Read your owner’s manual. The manual will tell you basic information about your car: the optimal time to change your oil, what type to use, how much air should you put in your tires, etc. Don’t rely on generic advice about car maintenance. Your unique car has unique needs. The more informed your are about those needs, the less likely you will be taken advantage by a so-called expert.
- Do a visual inspection. As you are kicking those tires, look at the tire tread. Are the tires wearing evenly? Do the treads look worn? Get a cheap tire pressure gauge and check the air. If the treads are beginning to wear unevenly, schedule a routine tire rotation. Do all of your lights work? Make sure to check all of them: headlights, brights, tail lights, front and back signal lights, and hazards. Crank up your car and listen. Listen for odd sounds inside the car as well as outside your vehicle.
- Check your fluids. While most people know how to check their engine oil, you should also check other fluids in your vehicle. No matter the time of year, you should check the engine oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and even windshield wiper fluid. If you are unfamiliar how to do this, refer to your owner’s manual. Just being able to check these fluids will help you extend your car’s life.
- Inspect your filters. Replacing the cabin air filter is actually easy. The engine air filter can be harder to find. However, if you want to leave these jobs to your trusty mechanic, just being able to notice when these filters need to be replaced will help keep your car running more efficiently.
- Check your battery and spark plugs. You should invest in a battery tester and jumper cables. These tools will keep you from being stranded on the side of the road. Use a wire brush to get rid of build-up on the battery connections. Look at the spark plugs. Too much build-up or worn out spark plugs can cause your car to breakdown.
- Know a reliable mechanic. Find someone you can trust to give you honest advice and reliable service. Before things go wrong, build a working relationship with a mechanic. Someone who knows you and your car will be able to prevent major breakdowns and extend the life of your vehicle.