10 Nuts and Bolts of ‘Nat’l Car Care Month’

A car is one of the most worthwhile investments you can make, because it gets you to-and-fro on a daily basis. With April being National Car Care Month, why not ensure your vehicle gets the maintenance it deserves to run at peak performance during the summer months, as you make your way to the beach? Follow these ten tips and your car will go the extra mile.

10 Things on the ‘To Do List’

1. Two properly functioning items are needed during inclement weather, lighting and windshield wiper blades. Check and double-check that all exterior lighting is working as it should, so you can both see and be seen while behind the wheel. And, replace tattered wiper blades, again, seeing clearly is crucial, especially when it comes to your safety. Environmental elements such as rain, sleet, snow and precipitation all can warrant the use of adequately working wiper blades.

Check the fluid levels in your vehicle.
Check the fluid levels in your vehicle.

2. Checking the fluid levels in your vehicle is probably the easiest thing on your ‘To Do List.’ What fluids should I check? Engine oil, brake and transmission fluid, power steering fluid, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant all need to be at the proper levels or topped off.

3. It’s difficult to know when hoses and belts need to be changed, short of breaking-down on the side of the road somewhere. But, by going the extra mile to inspect them and make sure they are not loose, brittle, cracked, frayed or showing signs of excessive wear and tear, you can continue rolling to your destination without any added interruptions.

4. Having a tire blowout is no fun, especially if you are traveling at top speed. To prevent this from happening, inspect your tires, including tire pressure and treads. Look for uneven wear, which indicates the need for a wheel alignment. Check, too, for bald spots and bulges, which can mean they need replacing.

5. Cars can’t quite possibly run without a battery to do the trick. Inspect your battery and replace it if needed. Bear in mind that reputable companies such as Auto Zone or Pep Boys will check your battery free of charge and notify you of any recommendations. Overall, batteries should be tight, clean and free of corrosion.

6. We don’t hear much about these car components, but you should inspect the steering and suspension system annually. According to CarCare.org, this includes shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.

7. The brake system is one of the most vital systems on a vehicle. Having properly functioning brakes can mean the difference of life and death; stopping and accelerating as needed is the name of the game. The brake system also should be checked annually, with brake linings and drums inspected during each routine oil change.

8. Keeping your car in tune helps it run a lot smoother. It is suggested that one schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy. This also will help it produce the lowest level of emissions; a plus for both you and the environment.

Companies such as Auto Zone or Pep Boys will check your battery free of charge.
Companies such as Auto Zone or Pep Boys will check your battery free of charge.

9. Depending on the temperature, we want to be warm when it’s cold and cold when it’s hot. In order to freely do this, check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system, otherwise known as HVAC. What is the HVAC responsible for? Your car’s HVAC system is responsible for proper heating and cooling performance. It also is vital for safety’s sake, such as with defrosting.

10. Nobody wants to discover leaks within their vehicle. So, inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers (if there is an unusual noise). Of note, exhaust leaks can potentially be dangerous and should be paid particular attention and corrected as soon as possible.

A Mile a Minute

The aforementioned may seem like a laundry list of items to look into. However, by inspecting your vehicle, now, rather than later, you will save time, money and the unnecessary hassle; things everybody wants to avoid.

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-Kimberly Williams

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