Did you know April is National Car Care Month? Freezing temperatures, potholes, and road salt can create problems for your car. So, after a long, frigid winter, now’s the time to give your car a checkup.
Here are some things you can do to keep your car running safely and efficiently.
1. Inspect your tires.
Everyday driving can be tough on your tires. Potholes and debris can ruin your tires in a blink of an eye. Looking at them regularly can help prevent catastrophic tire failure. Things to look for include cracks, bulges, and objects that may have punctured the tires, such as nails, screws, glass, or stones. If one of these objects punctures the sidewall of your tire, your tire will need to be replaced. Lastly, don’t forget to check your tire pressure. Recommended tire pressures can be found on the driver’s side door frame.
- Underinflated tires cause:
- Deficient performance
- Increased wear
- Tire blowouts
2. Rotate your tires.
Maintaining an even tread pattern will help you get the most out of your tires. In addition, an adequate tread pattern helps push rain and snow outward, which helps maintain traction. Tire rotation isn’t difficult and should be done every 6,000 – 8,000 miles. But keeping track of the intervals at which you should do it is difficult. Here are some ways to help you remember:
- Set your car’s computer. Some cars track this for you. If your car alerts you, schedule an appointment when a message appears.
- Complete with every other oil change. If your oil is changed every 3,000 miles, remember to get your tires rotated with every other one.
- Take it back to the dealership. If you take your car to the dealership for service, they’ll track and rotate your tires at recommended intervals.
- Complete every six months. If you go longer intervals between oil changes, plan to get your tires rotated every six months.
3. Have your brakes inspected.
When your tires are rotated, please have the mechanic look over your brakes. They can examine your brake pads, rotors, linings, and drums and notify you of any issues. You can hopefully avoid unexpected repairs by keeping track of your brakes’ condition.
4. Change your wiper blades.
Depending on where you live, wiper blades may last six to 12 months. Replacing your wiper blades in your garage or driveway on a nice day is key. Unfortunately, many motorists replace them under duress (e.g., when caught in a downpour or snowstorm).
5. Inspect your lights.
Make sure all your lights are working correctly. If some are burned out, replace them immediately. This can help keep you and other motorists safe.
6. Test your battery.
If your battery is over three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested. Many car parts stores will do this as a free service. Being proactive can help prevent you from being stranded.
7. Have the underbody of your car inspected.
Potholes, snow, ice, and salt can cause damage to steering and suspension systems.
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