Overlooked Yet Important Tips For Car Maintenance
Did you know that how you take care of your car says a lot about you? Overlooked maintenance can age your car’s appearance and performance over time. The list below can extend the life of your car, plus give you a sense of pride five or ten years down the road. As a dad, keeping your car well-maintained is part of making sure your kids are safe wherever they go.
First, let’s take a look at the obvious:
The oil change: Changing your oil regularly keeps dirt and metals out of your engine. Dirt and metal add heat and friction - both of which shorten your engine’s life - in addition to hurting your car’s fuel economy. Most manufacturers recommend oil changes every 3,000 - 5,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual or call your local dealer for your car’s ideal oil change interval.
Tire maintenance: Two important areas that should always be checked are air pressure and tire rotation. Maintaining proper air pressure will keep the heat down inside of your tires and reduce the risk of tire failure (commonly referred to as a blowout) and rotating your tires regularly ensures your tire treads wear evenly. Doing both of these things will help you be more likely to reach the tire manufacturer’s stated tread life. Plus, this is not only a fuel economy and tire life issue; it’s a safety issue!
When’s the best time to perform tire maintenance, you ask? If you’re changing your oil as recommended, you should have the tire pressure checked every time you bring your car in for an oil change, and plan ahead to rotate your tires on every other oil change visit.
The not so obvious:
Transmission Service: Did you know that without a transmission you’re not going anywhere? A car can run on bad tires - it can even run if the engine has missed a few oil changes (not recommended) - but a car is stopped in its tracks if the transmission goes south on you. The transmission does the work of pushing all of the engine’s power down to the ground through the car’s wheels.
One would think that a part as important as the transmission would be an obvious thing to service, but it’s not, and here’s why. Some transmissions don’t require service until 40,000 or 60,000 miles from new (making it easy to forget!) and some cars may not require transmission service at all. (Refer to your owner’s manual or call your dealer for assistance.)
In addition, depending on your driving habits, this important service interval may not accrue in three or more years, and longer if you drive less. Also, if you bought your car used and don’t have service records, you have no way of knowing if the transmission serviced was performed. So keep in mind, if you’re driving a higher mileage car (100,000 plus) your transmission should have been serviced two or more times by then.
Proper maintenance of your transmission ensures smooth shifts, improved fuel economy and helps ensure the original transmission lasts the life of your car.
Other Notable Service Issues:
- Replace headlight blubs for high and low beams
- Replace headlight lenses that are discolored or foggy
- Replace windshields that have cracks or are pitted from high mileage
- Get four-wheel alignment to ensure your car tracks straight for dry and wet conditions
- Replace shocks or struts to ensure proper ride height for safety and comfort
Many thanks to Bryan Steward, Automotive Solutions Specialist of BrocSport Engineering, for sharing the expert advice above. Contact Bryan at BryanS@brocsport.com.