5 Simple Car Care Tips
April is Car Care Month and after a brutal winter, your cars deserve a little TLC. Taking a few steps now can save you heaps of money down the line and give you a sense of pride when you’re cruising around in a shiny, well-maintained car.
Inspect your tires
§ Cold weather commonly reduces tire pressure, so it’s best to keep an eye on how inflated your tires are in chilly months. The proper tire pressure is located on a placard inside the driver’s door jamb or you can consult your owner’s manual. (Don’t forget to check the spare!)
§ How deep is the tread? A simple way to check proper tread depth is by sticking a penny in the tire’s groove with Lincoln’s head down. If you can see all of the President’s head, it’s time to replace them.
§ If you notice the tread is smoother on one side than the other or the tread is pulling away from the rest of the tire, it’s time for an alignment. Alignments are vital to long-term auto repair savings. The average wheel alignment costs less than $100; the average price of one new tire is around $120. A bad alignment can ruin an otherwise perfectly good tire and voids the warranty offered by most tire shops, not to mention that driving on tires in poor condition is incredibly dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 23,464 crashes a year are tire related, with 49% resulting in rollovers.
Take a peek under the hood
The best way to keep your car out of the shop is by making sure your fluids are at the proper levels. Low or high levels of engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid or antifreeze can cause significant damage to your car. Here is a complete guide on how to check the five most important fluids in your vehicle.
While you’re under the hood checking your fluids, take a look around at the belts and hoses. Some wear and tear is normal, but if any hoses or belts look like they might cause you problems in the near future, ask the opinion of a professional. Also, take a look at your air filter. A dirty filter can affect your engine’s performance.
Lastly, glace at your battery – is there any corrosion on the connections? The corrosion can be removed by mixing baking soda and water, then scrubbing the battery and cables with an old toothbrush. Be sure to rinse all the parts with water before reconnecting them.
Flip on the windshield wipers
No one wants to be stuck in April showers with worn windshield wipers. Unfortunately, wipers aren’t something we think about replacing until it’s too late. Check to make sure your wipers aren’t skipping, streaking, splitting or squeaking. If they are, grab a new set at the auto parts store.
Turn on the lights
If you’ve ever received a ticket for a burnt out tail light, you know that making sure your lights are working can save you time and money. Have a friend walk around the car while you test out each light one-by-one – headlights (high and low beams), fog lights, turn signals in the front and back, reverse lights, brake lights and the license plate light.
Clean it up
Most of us clean our cars simply because we can only go so long driving around in filth. What you may not consider is that keeping your car clean can actually save your wallet. Leaving salt and dirt on your car will act like sandpaper slowly rubbing off the paint. The chemicals in tree sap and bird droppings will deteriorate the paint job even faster. Chipping or cracking paint not only lessen the resale value of your car, it can lead to a rusting frame which can actually weaken your car’s body. So run it through a car wash, park it in the shade when possible, wax it about every six months and clean out the interior every once in a while. (A lighter car means better gas mileage!)
Following these tips can extend the time between your visits to the auto repair shop, but unfortunately things sometimes still break. When that happens, visit our certified repair technicians and mechanics at Safford of Warrenton. Our MOPAR provides quick, convenient, quality service for your Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge or Ram (as well as other manufacturer models) vehicle and well as maintenance care such as oil changes and brake inspection.