According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 20,175 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the first half of 2022.
Accidents occur for many reasons. It could be distracted drivers, foul weather, or a vehicle that isn’t in good working condition.
While there isn’t much you can do if the weather turns bad, or the driver next to you prefers looking at their smartphone over watching the road, you have control over your vehicle. Proper maintenance reduces the chances of failure, meaning you’ll be safer on the road.
What does proper maintenance look like? It’s really not that hard to keep your car in pristine condition. With a list of maintenance items in hand, you can keep them on your to-do list throughout the year.
What proper maintenance throughout the year looks like
Keeping up with proper maintenance might not be the most exciting thing on your to-do list, but it can keep you safe and help save you money. You should keep these items handy and on your schedule for safety reasons.
Checking oil levels and replacing it regularly
Regular oil changes are necessary to keep a vehicle’s engine lubricated and running smoothly. Oil helps to reduce friction and prevent wear and tear on internal engine parts. Checking the oil level periodically and replacing it when it gets low is an important part of routine maintenance.
Checking tire pressure and filling as necessary
Keeping the tire pressure at the proper level is vital for the safety and handling of the vehicle. Under-inflated tires can cause poor fuel efficiency, uneven tire wear, and decreased traction. Over-inflated tires can cause a rough ride and lead to reduced traction. Checking the tire pressure regularly and filling it as needed will help maintain the optimal tire pressure for the vehicle.
Keeping the battery clean and replacing it as necessary
A dirty battery can cause slow engine cranking, increased engine wear, and decreased fuel efficiency. A corroded battery cable can also cause a vehicle not to start. Cleaning the battery regularly and replacing it if it is more than three years old is an integral part of vehicle maintenance.
Replacing the brake pads on schedule
Brake pads are a crucial component of the braking system, yet they will wear down over time. Replacing the brake pads on schedule will help ensure that the vehicle stops safely and efficiently. Regular brake system inspections are also necessary, as worn brake pads can cause damage to other components of the braking system.
Replacing windshield wipers and replacing the fluid
The windshield washer fluid helps to keep the windshield clear of dirt, bugs, and other debris, which improves visibility and helps to ensure the safety of the vehicle. Replacing the windshield washer fluid regularly and checking the washer nozzles to make sure they are working correctly is an essential part of vehicle maintenance. New windshield wipers will create a streak-free shine every time.
Balancing and rotating tires
Balancing the tires helps to ensure that they wear evenly and provide a smooth ride. Rotating the tires helps to distribute wear evenly among all four tires, which can extend the life of the tires.
Replacing the cabin air filter
The cabin air filter helps keep the vehicle’s air clean and free of dust, pollen, and other allergens. Replacing the cabin air filter regularly helps to ensure that the air inside the car remains clean and fresh.
Keeping the suspension system working well
The suspension system helps to keep the vehicle stable and provides a comfortable ride. Checking and maintaining the suspension system regularly helps to ensure that the vehicle handles well and provides a smooth ride. You can often feel when there’s a problem. Does the car pull to one side? Does it nose-dive when you step on the brakes? Does it bounce easily when you push down on the hood? All are signs it might be time to replace the springs, shocks, and struts.
Checking coolant levels
The coolant helps to keep the engine cool and prevents it from overheating. Checking the antifreeze level regularly and topping it off as needed is essential to vehicle maintenance.
Checking belts, hoses, and spark plugs
Belts, hoses, and spark plugs are essential components of the engine that can affect the vehicle’s performance. Checking them regularly and replacing them if worn or damaged will keep your car safe from more severe problems.
Bringing in the vehicle any time a dashboard light illuminates
Those dashboard lights are there for a reason. Dashboard warning lights indicate an issue with the vehicle that needs to be fixed or repaired. Bringing the vehicle in for service any time a warning light illuminates is critical to ensure that the problem is addressed before it becomes more serious and costly to repair.
Be prepared for auto repairs – set up a line item on your monthly budget
According to AAA, 64 million drivers in America would be unable to pay for an unexpected car repair without going into debt. With the average car repair being $600 or higher, that’s a lot of potential for ignoring minor issues and waiting until they become much bigger problems.
Car repair is a given; it will happen eventually. Considering the average car on the road is almost 12 years old, car repair is inevitable.
One of the easiest ways to prepare for minor issues is to set up a fund and contribute each month. That way, you’ll be prepared the next time your vehicle makes a noise or produces an odor you don’t recognize. You can bring it in quickly and repair it before it grows into something bigger.
How can we help you?
Have a problem with your car? Looking to get started on a proper maintenance schedule?
We can help. Schedule a routine inspection today.
We’ll help keep your car in good operating condition no matter how long you decide to drive your vehicle.