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The 411 on Regular Vehicle MaintenancePosted On May 8, 2017
Sunshine and warmer temperatures have arrived, so pursuits like camping and long weekend get-aways can’t be far behind? Be prepared for all your driving adventures with a vehicle that’s regularly maintained. (Nothing will ruin your plans more than a breakdown/issue en route to your destination – especially if it’s a remote one!)
Whether you purchase a new or pre-owned vehicle, it’s crucial to keep scheduled service appointments. Regular care and maintenance cost a lot less than major engine repair, a tow truck and more. To assure your vehicle runs reliably, at peak efficiency and has a long happy life, here are some regular actions to consider:
Oil and filter changes are an essential component of responsible car care. Your engine is one of the most valuable (aka expensive) parts of your vehicle and demands clean oil running through it for top performance. Proper lubrication reduces wear and friction, carries heat away from other fundamental parts and allows your engine to run at cooler levels. Oil changes also help prevent rust and corrosion while providing a smooth running and quieter engine. Replacing the oil filter further removes impurities and contaminants from your engine.
Such impurities build-up over time, which is why manufacturers and technicians typically recommend changing your filter at each oil change appointment.
INSPECT YOUR TIRES
Just think: the entire weight of your vehicle is supported by four individual tires. Road wear and debris inevitably take a toll and tires eventually lose tread and/or pressure, increasing accident risks. Think safety. Check your tires. Does your vehicle have the right tires for the season? Remember, once spring driving arrives, it’s time to change from winter tires to summer/all season versions. Regular tire-checks allow your service department to assess tire wear and issues such as low pressure, which can affect your vehicle’s ability to stop.
Low tire pressure can also change the shape of your tires – they are ‘flatter’ to the ground – causing them to wear prematurely. Tire pressure that’s too high makes your tires rigid and ‘disconnected’ from the road and can have an equally damaging effect. Ensuring optimal air pressure will give you a smoother and safer ride while greatly extending tire life and increasing fuel economy.
Finally, each of your vehicle’s tires wear at different rates, depending on the vehicle drive-train. Rotating tires as recommended by your owner’s manual is just one more effective precaution.
Slowing down and coming to a complete stop is an essential safe driving practice. Today’s vehicles have programs and features that help signal wear, but it’s still crucial to have a technician thoroughly check your brakes and identify any necessary repairs.
An annual visit to your service department for a brake inspection will determine the condition of the hydraulic system and all operating hardware – essential to maintaining ‘healthy’ brakes. Parts like rotors, pads, and shoes endure constant wear (friction occurs every time you apply your brakes) and therefore require regular monitoring.
In addition to these fundamental services, you can also ensure safe driving by asking your technician to inspect the following:
– Wiper blades – replace if worn
– Coolant levels – keep filled to prevent engine wear
– Battery – they typically last 3-5 years
– Spark plugs – replace old ones
If these key vehicle parts are checked regularly and maintained properly, your vehicle will provide peace-of-mind driving and you’ll be ready for all the driving adventures ahead. Have fun. Take the scenic route … and enjoy the ride!