Archive for September, 2012
Everybody dreads getting a huge bill from the mechanic for something that has gone wrong with their car. Big expenditures can be avoidable if you’re smart about your routine vehicle maintenance, even when your car seems to be running smoothly. Attention to the basics can save a lot of money in the long run and maximize your peace of mind behind the wheel. Here are five tips for ensuring a long life for your car and minimal bill from your mechanic.
1. Check your oil. Oil is one of the most important components under the hood of your vehicle, a multitask all-star that lubricates, cleans, protects, and cools your engine. Over time, your engine’s seals can deteriorate with age, allowing oil to seep out and preventing it from doing its important jobs. At least 2-3 times between oil changes, check your oil level. If you notice a rapid drop, report the problem to your mechanic to fix the issue before serious engine damage occurs.
2. Check your tire pressure. Your tires are the sole contact between the car and the road and are essential for handling and safety. A very simple procedure for maintaining these important components is checking your tire pressure approximately every thousand miles. Correctly inflated tires cannot only mean a safer ride but they also contribute to better fuel economy. Don’t forget to rotate your tires regularly and replace tires whose treads are worn out.
3. Check your brakes. Ask your mechanic to check your brakes every time your car is in the shop for a regular oil change. If you notice any squealing noise, pedal softness, or pedal vibration while braking, have the problem tended to immediately. Not only is it essential for safety, attention to your brake pad health can prevent larger repair costs to your rotors.
4. Mind your transmission. Transmission problems can be some of the mostly costly repairs on a vehicle. If you notice anything out of the ordinary with your transmission, be sure to get the problem addressed right away. It may just save you from becoming stranded on the side of the road, and small problems should be nipped in the bud before they become big (and expensive) problems. Signs to look out for include clunky shifts, an increasing reluctance to downshift, and gear slipping.
5. Perform manufacturer recommended maintenance. Following the maintenance schedule in your vehicle’s owner’s manual prolongs the life of all the parts that make your car function. Small investments on a routine basis will save you big bucks down the road.