Does your car really need checked out every year? Keeping up on your automobile's maintenance may seem complicated, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, learning a few basics and getting on a regular schedule will go a long way towards keeping your car in tip-top shape, and making sure you're not blindsided by major, expensive repairs.
Your Automobile: The Big Picture:
For most major areas of auto maintenance (tires, fluids, brakes, etc.), it's generally recommended that you get something done or at least looked at every three to six months. However, depending on the make and model of your car, as well as the kind of driving you do, these guidelines can vary quite a bit. Crack open your owner's manual and check out the specific recommendations for your vehicle. This could potentially save you a lot of money over the life of your vehicle.
Oil and fluids:
How often do you really need an oil change? Probably not as often as you think. There are several things to consider, including how often you drive, the type of driving you do, and under what conditions. But in general, if your car was manufactured in the last 15 years, you can probably go around 5,000 (or more, in some cases) between oil changes. If you have a car with an electronic service reminder system, go with the flashing light; or check your owner's manual for the best guidance. When you do take in your vehicle, go for the full-service option and have your other fluids checked, too.
How quickly your brakes wear out depends more on how you drive than how much you drive. If your car gets light wear or you don't drive that much, you may be able to go up to 70,000 miles before your brake pads need to be replaced. If you drive regularly in a lot of stop and go traffic, on the other hand, your brakes probably won't last as long. Pay attention to any screeching or grinding noises, increased stopping time, or most obviously an illuminated brake light. Because your tires need to be removed in order for an auto technician to get a good look at the brakes, it makes sense to have your brakes inspected when you get your tires rotated or replaced, at least once a year as long as they feel OK otherwise.
Modern tires are designed to last for approximately 50,000-60,000 miles; but weather, driving conditions, and other factors can reduce the life of your tires, so it's important to be able to recognize when your tires become damaged. Learn how to visually inspect your tire tread to check for wear and tear. If the grooves are strong and deep, your tires probably have some life left; if they're faded or, worse, completely gone, your tires should be replaced right away. An auto technician can also check your tread with a tire gauge, or you can learn to do it yourself with a quarter. In addition, if you notice any wobbling or vibrating while driving, reduce your speed and have your tires checked right away. Tires should also be balanced and rotated every six months, for safety and to preserve the life of the tires for as long as possible.
Belts, batteries and other critical details:
It's also a good idea to regularly replace your air filters, inspect your battery and keep it clean, and have your belts looked at every once in a while, or if you suspect a problem. Tending to these things will keep your car running smoothly and prevent major safety issues down the line.
For any automobile insurance questions, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.