You rely on your car to keep you and your loved ones safe as you travel day to day. Carelessness towards (or not even knowing) the health of your car can cause a snowball effect that leads to a multitude of expensive problems down the road- and NO ONE wants to be that broke down minivan stranded on the side of I-15 in the middle of a snowstorm with 3 grumpy kids in the backseat, or the shiny sports car that’s lost most of its value due to poor maintenance.
Here’s how often you should be prioritizing health checks of your car and make sure everything is in order. Following this schedule will allow you to catch any potential problems early on before they become major headache-inducing issues down the road. It’s best if these regular inspections are done by professionals who can examine everything with a critical, trained eye.
Once a month, make sure to check your oil levels. Add oil, coolant, and antifreeze. If any levels are low, top them off or swing by and we’ll be happy to do it – most times at no charge. While you’re at it, make sure to check for any potential leaks by backing up from your normal parking spot and scanning for drips. Do a quick scan of your hoses and note any that appear to be bulging at the ends, soft or make a brittle ‘crunch” sound when you squeeze them. Examine your belts. They may need to be replaced if they look work, frayed, or glazed. Check your tire pressure and add air if too low (check your car’s recommended pressure on the sticker printed on the door, 32-35psi is normal for most cars). Also inspect your tires for damage, bulges, poor tread, or uneven wear. This may be a sign that it’s time to replace them. Finally, do a quick examination of your air filter by holding it up to the light and see if you can see light through it. If you can’t, replace it!
Every 3 Months
Typically your oil and oil filter needs to be changed every 3,000 miles (usually ~ 3 months) or as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Check your windshield washer fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid, adding extra if levels are low (if they are really low,get that checked out right away!). Examine your battery terminals and cables, cleaning them if any corrosion is spotted. Lastly, do a quick check of all your lights to ensure that all lights (including turn signals) are working properly. Have a friend or family member step on the brake pedal with the headlights on to make sure your brake lights work – we can’t believe the number of cars we see running around with only 1 brake light working!
Every 6 Months
These bi-annual checks are really critical to preventing any long-term damage. Look at your wiper blades and replace if they appear in any way worn, brittle, or smeary. Test your horn and make sure it works properly. Inspect your brakes for any unusual wear and tear. Check your spare tire to ensure it’s still fully inflated. Take a look at your exhaust system, keeping a close eye out for rust, damage, or loose parts. Finally, inspect your shocks for oil seepage or wear.
Following this schedule on a routine basis will enable your car to stay in the best shape possible. Doing monthly, quarterly, and bi-annual “check-ups” may help to prevent major issues from sneaking up on you and the least opportune moment while simultaneously keeping the resale value of your car at its highest. As always, we can help perform these critical maintenance checks for you at your convenience at our shop.
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