Summer’s heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance…Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too!
Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.
A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner’s manual for location and replacement interval
The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drive-ability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they’re cold before driving for any distance. Don’t forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there’s uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
Batteries can fail any time of year. 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; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly.Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
Carry some basic tools — ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight.
Source: National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
Are you hoping that your car lasts forever? While this may not be possible, there are steps you can take to prolong its life. By doing so, you will find yourself saving a lot of money along the way.
Here are five tips to make your car last longer:
1. Change your car’s oil and filter on a regular basis. This is discussed time and time again, however, some continually overlook the importance. Read your owner’s manual for more information on how often you should do this, and then stick to the schedule no matter what.
2. Keep an eye on your tires. Did you know that over or under-inflated tires can have an impact on many parts of your car? On top of this, it can impact the actual tires as well as your gas mileage.
3. Visit a mechanic on a regular basis. Just because you don’t see something on the surface doesn’t mean there is nothing wrong with your car. A well qualified mechanic can pinpoint potential problems before they turn into serious and costly repairs.
4. Be observant. When was the last time you gave your car a good “once over?” You don’t have to spend hours on end inspecting your car, but it never hurts to take a few minutes to walk around your car and see if anything sticks outs.
5. Keep your car clean. Believe it or not, regularly washing and waxing your vehicle will increase its lifespan. No matter if you do it yourself or drive through a carwash, you are getting the same benefit.
By following these five tips, you will find it much easier to extend the life of your vehicle. And that is what you want, right?