For the average person, an automobile represents a large investment. Next to your house, it’s the one thing that you put out a lot of money for each month, and you rely on every single day of your life. It’s important to have safe, reliable transportation available to you when you need it most, whether its on a hot summer day, or the coldest winter morning on record.
Regular maintenance ensures three things:
- It ensures you have safe transportation for your family – and for your family friends when the are along for the ride.
- In ensures you have reliable transportation that is there when you need it and doesn’t leave you stranded at the most inopportune times.
- In ensures the longevity of your car, to make sure you get a superior product for as long as you choose to own your car.
Maintenance schedules can vary depending on the make and age of your car. Older cars will need more extensive maintenance to avoid problems; newer cars need the basics to maintain their efficiency. But in all cases, there are basics that can be handled on a routine basis.
Start at the bottom – your tires are the most important item to help your car run efficiently. Tires should be checked regularly to ensure they are properly filled. Too much or too little air can cause patterns in the tires, making them wear out quicker and potentially putting your safety at risk. Also rotate tires on a regular basis – manufacturers recommend around 5,000 miles – and maintain a pattern in the process. Typically the two front tires will be switched to the back, switching the tires that go to the back from left to right. Maintain this pattern throughout the life of your tires.
Oil changes should occur at the same frequency of tire rotation, or around every 5,000 miles or so. Constant improvements are being made to engine oil technology, making some engines to farther before maintenance is needed. Make sure you check with your vehicle guidelines to determine the best schedule for your car.
Do you have windshield wipers in both the front and back of your vehicle? Sitting out in all kinds of weather – heat and cold – can wear out your windshield wipers quickly. Likewise in our ever-changing road conditions, you may use windshield washer fluid at higher levels as we change from season to season. Keep an extra gallon at hand either in your garage, or in your car itself.
The older your car gets, the more “problems” may show up unexpectedly. Never assume your vehicle is in top shape if you don’t have a reliable mechanic working with you on a regular basis. If you’ll be traveling longer distances than normal – a road trip to see family in another state, or a ski weekend with the girls – bring it in for a checkup first. It can help you avoid unexpected and more costly problems at the least opportune times.