Happy New Year!
As we begin a new year, it’s time for that annual exercise of making New Year’s resolutions. From losing weight and eating better to exercising more and quitting bad habits, New Year’s resolutions can be hard to keep. This year, take it easy on yourself and make some resolutions that help keep your car running at its best.
Keep your car looking good – inside and out. Wash the outside of your car on a regular basis to avoid a buildup of dirt that not only looks unsightly but can lead to rust and corrosion. For those living in snowy climates, regular trips through the car wash takes on increased importance. Corrosive salt on the roads ends up all over your vehicle, especially the undercarriage where it can corrode important parts. When washing, be sure to target the undercarriage and wheel wells.
Periodically clean the inside of your car. Pick up food wrappers and other garbage off the floor. If you spill that morning coffee, be sure to clean the upholstery immediately to prevent staining. Clean interior surfaces like the steering wheel, dashboard, console and handles to eliminate the growth of unhealthy bacteria.
Your windshield wipers are key to you maintaining a clear view of the road during inclement weather. Don’t wait until it starts raining to check the state of your windshield wipers; this is the absolute worst time to discover that they aren’t working properly. Be sure to inspect your wiper blades – both front and rear – for signs of damage including splitting and ripping and performance problems like streaking and smearing.
If you find that any of your blades are damaged or performing poorly, replace it immediately. If one of the front wipers has issues, consider replacing both at the same time. When selecting a replacement wiper blade, be sure to consult your owner’s manual or a reference guide to ensure that you’re getting the proper blade for your vehicle.
Your vehicle relies on a variety of fluids to keep it running smoothly. Get in the habit of checking your car’s oil and antifreeze (coolant) levels periodically. To check the oil, remove the dipstick and examine the level. If it is running low, top it off. When your engine is cool, carefully remove the radiator cap to check the antifreeze level. If it needs a top off, use a 50/50 mix of distilled water and coolant.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on the windshield wiper fluid. There is nothing worse than having a dirty windshield with no washer fluid to clean it off. Also keep tabs on the transmission, brake and power steering fluids. Check your owner’s manual for the specifications for all of these.
Staying current on routine maintenance not only extends the life of your vehicle but can cut down on costly repairs down the road. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended service schedule for your vehicle.
Whether you go to your mechanic or do it yourself, changing your car’s oil and oil filter and replacing the engine air filter and cabin air filter is imperative to the health of your vehicle. Oil lubricates the engine and absorbs heat while the oil filter removes dirt and contaminants from the motor oil, preventing the particles from reaching your vehicle’s engine where they could cause damage. The engine air filter keeps your engine from clogging up with dirt, dust and debris while the cabin air filter keeps dirt, pollen and bacteria from entering your car’s HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) system.
Like a computer on wheels, your vehicle has the ability to tell you when something is wrong – if you’re looking for it. Be on the lookout for any signs that your vehicle is experiencing issues. Check out your dashboard occasionally to see if any warning lights are illuminated.
Resist the temptation to ignore warning lights. Be especially aware of warning lights that could indicate a serious problem, such as the check engine light, brake light and temperature light.
The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.