THE MOST IMPORTANT CAR SAFETY FEATURE IS…YOU!
Why? If you do not look after your car, it doesn’t matter the number of car safety features installed, they will not be functioning properly when you need them.
Imagine: It’s after dark and you have to pull off to the side of the road in an unfamiliar place because your car just stopped running. Well… you’ve become a statistic: every year, there are about thirty million calls to the AAA from people stuck on a roadway.
While the number one cause of car accidents is driver error, poorly maintained vehicles make a huge contribution to the national yearly road toll too. Vehicles that receive no or insufficient servicing are breakdowns waiting to happen.
To keep your car in perfect shape, regular preventive maintenance is the best thing you can do as a car owner. Although there is no strict definition of preventive maintenance, here are some tips that can guide you on preventive maintenance for your vehicle.
Mechanics and car owners who have spent a lot on car repairs would advise all car owners never to ignore preventive maintenance. Little things like checking your tire pressure, changing your oil and getting regular inspections and work done on a car will save you thousands of dollars spent on unnecessary car repairs.
First, Go Through Your Owner’s Manual
Some car owners do not read their manual after buying their cars. This is very wrong. The same way you read the manual for any complicated new appliance is the same way you should read the manual of your car. Using the wrong oil or the wrong type of fuel could void your warranty and cause severe damage that would even be more expensive than doing the right thing in the first place.
Preventive Maintenance for Every Vehicle
These are the basics of preventive maintenance. Knowing your car, what to look out, and actually doing something about the warning signs you get will help will save you a lot in the future.
- INSPECT your tires each time you get into it
This may sound pretty simple, but it goes a long way in keeping your car running properly. Daily tire checks are very important and there are some simple things you need to inspect your tires for such as air pressure, uneven wear or something sticking in your tire like a nail or screw. In addition to a tire safety check, keeping the proper air pressure will also save you gas and get you better mileage. You should make sure the tires have enough tread by looking for wear indicators on the tire treads.
In addition to tires, Also, check your lights and make sure they are working fine.
- INSPECT your lights, wipers and turn signals
While headlights, brake lights and turn signals can last years, the do burn out or can get a short circuit. Get in the habit of checking all the lights around your car at least every couple months. When it rains, be sure to take note of how well your wipers are doing. If they are streaking, smearing or ‘chattering’ it is time for a replacement wiper blade inserts. Make a note on your phone or stick a post-it note on your dash because you probably won’t remember until the next rainstorm. It is always a good idea to have your wiper blades changed before winter and before summer.
- CHECK your fluid levels
Fluids like coolant, power steering, antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid should be checked regularly. Most of them have dipsticks or gauges which you can use to check their current levels. You could add more if they are low or change the fluid if needs be. Also, check for leaks as leaks of any kind should never be ignored!
- CHECK your serpentine and timing belts
The serpentine belt should be replaced after approximately 40,000 miles and the timing belt should be replaced approximately every 60,000 miles or when it shows signs of wear. Your mechanic should inspect those belts regularly and replace them when necessary. If you ignore warning signs on belts and those belts fail, your car will break down and the damage could be significant depending on the belt that broke and the car you drive.
- MAKE SURE your oil is checked and changed regularly.
Whether you check your oil level using the dipstick or if your car has an electronic gauges to that monitors the oil level, it is important to check the oil level periodically – especially if your oil has a tendency to ‘run low’ or burn. Consult your owners manual to learn the recommended interval for your vehicle.
- CHECK your battery and clean the contacts when necessary.
Most modern batteries require very little maintenance. But you should know where it is and ensure that there’s no mineral buildup on the contacts and that it is not leaking
- REPLACE your cabin air filter.
Your cabin air filter keeps out dust, debris and helps reduce allergens in your car’s passenger compartment. If you tend to drive in heavy traffic frequently, travel long distances or live in an area where there is a lot of dust, you may need to change your air filter more frequently than those who drive shorter distances with no traffic.
- GET your tires rotated and balanced, and your alignment checked.
Tires should be rotated and balanced regularly. This ensures that your car drives smoothly and that your tires wear evenly and last as long as possible. Wheel alignment should also not be ignored as it is equally important. If you are fighting to keep your car straight, know it is a poor alignment which can cause tire issues and an uncomfortable drive.
- ASK for professional help when needed
All these are just little things that every vehicle needs. We have talked about a lot of work here that’s important to get done, and some of it is work that you can do yourself, but some things are really better left to a professional.
If you are you unsure about the right preventive maintenance steps to take, then let the trusted service advisors at Fox River Tire & Auto help you with your preventive maintenance? Our technicians can inspect your car, recommend the best possible steps to take based on your vehicle and your driving needs and provide the right repairs to keep your car on the road as long as possible. All at a competitive and fair price.
Have any questions about the preventive maintenance for your car?
Call (630) 584-0655 or click here to SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT at a time that is convenient for you.