Keep your vehicle properly maintained
Contrary to some beliefs, today’s vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels. Sophisticated technology has made it seem like vehicles don’t need as many tune-ups and care.
The fact is the way technicians have serviced your car has grown along with the development of vehicles.
Computerized diagnostics can find underlying problems that need to be fixed to keep your car safe on the road.
The Car Care Council has introduced the 21st Century Tune-up which is designed to help re-define and educate motorists as to what a tune-up should consist of on today’s modern vehicles.
Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.
The following systems should be regularly inspected:
Battery: charging and starting
Powertrain control (diagnostic checks)
Make sure your vehicle is ready for every season
General maintenance can prevent your vehicle from breaking down in any harsh weather. Winter and summer month pose different challenges for your car and keeping up with maintenance will help avoid any problems, no matter the weather.
Always be prepared on the road. Carrying emergency gear in your car can help you out of a potentially dangerous situation. Recommended gear includes: gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand, tire chains, and a flashlight.
Put fuel deicer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line and keeping your tank full helps keep moisture from forming.
Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Problems such as hard starts, rough idling and stalling all need to be corrected.
Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your car’s manual. If your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips, it is recommended you change it every 3,000 miles.
Brakes should be inspected as recommended. If you notice pulsations, grabbing or longer stopping distances, bring your car to a garage.
Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Always have extra windshield washer solvent available.
The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically.
The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections, clean all surfaces, and re-tighten all connections.
Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace burned-out bulbs. Periodically clean road grime from all lenses.
Your exhaust system should be examined for leaks by professionals and the trunk and floorboards should be inspected for small holes.
Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping. Check tire pressures once a month. Tires should be checked before any long trip and during harsh weather.
Have the AC system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system.
The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended).