Springtime in the Rockies means the days start getting longer, and we find more things to do outdoors.
Of course, the weather is more unpredictable than ever. March is traditionally the snowiest month of the year, with wild temperature swings that can make it feel like summer and winter all on the same day.
But on one of those warm afternoons, it’s a good idea to give your car a little TLC. It can ensure it drives well throughout the year, cleaning it up from all that winter dumped on it, and getting it ready for the sunnier days that will soon be upon us.
There’s another good reason to spend a little time with your car – the investment. Car’s today are one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make. A recent study by AAA found that the average person now spends $773.50 a month on their vehicles, the highest amount since AAA began tracking car expenses.
A lot of that comes from the leasing or payment costs, as well as insurance. But the report also states that the average maintenance and repair costs climbed to 8.94 cents per mile, a figure that is up almost 9 percent over last year. This is due to caring for vehicles that are growing in complexity, having systems that require a lot of care to keep them functioning correctly.
One of the best things about newer vehicles, however, is they warn you of potential problems long before they occur. If you see a light turn on your dashboard, hear a funny noise, smell something unusual, or feel your car pulling or bouncing, it’s your car’s way of telling you it needs a little TLC.
Basic maintenance goes beyond filling up the car with gas, and scheduling an oil change on a regular basis. It also means taking care of every system in your car, replacing parts as necessary to avoid bigger problems down the road. If you build a routine into your schedule, checking fluids and maintaining parts regularly, you’re less likely to be caught off guard with problems. It’s the best way to avoid extensive repairs and a loss of value over time.
And the best part about it, it doesn’t take much to keep your vehicle well maintained. If you work with a trustworthy mechanic (like Express Car Care), you’ll ensure your car is ready for every season of the year, no matter what Denver’s weather looks like each day.
Our regular repair and maintenance tips include:
Check all nine fluids and use exceptional products
What’s the difference between McDonalds and Morton’s steakhouse? Both provide food. Both are places you can bring the family. Yet they both offer distinctly different products and experiences.
The same concept applies to the fluids you put into your vehicle. You can go with the lowest grade, least expensive products available, cutting corners where you can. But what will that do to your driving experience?
It starts with fluids you use every day, like gas, motor oil, and windshield washer fluid. It also includes fluids you don’t change out regularly, but still need to monitor throughout the life of your vehicle:
- Transmission fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Differential fluid
- Brake fluid
- Air conditioning refrigerant
Be sure each is replaced in a timely manner using high quality products.
Check and replace filters
Depending on your car’s make and model, you can have as many as four filters in your car: the cabin filter, oil filter, fuel filter, and air filter.
The cabin filter, also known as the air conditioning intake filter, keeps your inside air compartment clean whether you use your air conditioner or not. It helps filter out things like dust, pollen, and other pollutants in the air you breathe.
The oil filter will help keep debris out of the oil supply while the engine is running.
The fuel filter works to keep dirt, grime, and water out of your engine.
The air filter is designed to clean the air that is filtered into your car’s engine. Dirty air means an engine that won’t be able to operate a peak performance.
These are all easy to find and easy to replace. Some will even come with a full service oil change if you use the right mechanic.
Check belts and hoses
Over time, hoses need to be checked for leaks, brittleness, or cracks. Belts can stretch and loosen with use. They can also crack and break, damaging other parts and systems around them. This should be a simple process, one your mechanic can check in moments. It’s much more efficient (and cost effective) to replace small parts as they wear out rather than waiting for the damage they can produce.
Check the brake system each year
One of your most important systems is your brake system. It consists of several different parts including brake pads, rotors, calipers, brake fluid, and your wheels. If something happens to any one part, it can impact your car’s ability to stop. A mechanic will start with the brake pads and ensure they still have enough wear on them to keep you safe. They will also evaluate the entire braking system, repairing and maintaining any part that could be a potential hazard.
Your tires are a part of your braking system. Be sure to check the pressure on all of your tires, including your spare, at least once per month. Extreme weather conditions can impact air; check tire pressure to ensure they are properly filled to avoid blowouts and other potential problems. Check with your owner’s manual to find the proper pressure levels for your vehicle.
You should also check the tread for uneven wear, cuts or bruises along the tires and sidewalls, and potential hazards stuck into the tread. If you have a question, most reputable mechanics will take a look at your tires to ensure they are safe to drive on. Replace with the proper size and type when they show wear
You should also have your car aligned every year, to improve tire performance and handling as well as increase fuel efficiency.
Do you schedule repair and maintenance for your vehicles?
Your car goes through a lot each day. Reliability isn’t something you should take for granted; by scheduling regular repair and maintenance visits with a reliable mechanic, you’re ensuring your vehicle will be there when you need it.
Check with your manufacturer’s guidelines, and talk with one of our mechanics. Together, we’ll ensure your car is at peak performance level and ready to go whenever you are.