Good reasons to keep your auto maintained:
- runs longer,
- lower repair costs,
- lower gas costs
- safety while you drive
- and many others
1. Drive with care everyday
Drive with care every day and your car will reward you with longer intervals without repair.
- Avoid driving at high speeds and accelerating quickly, especially when it’s very hot or very cold outside. Such driving behavior will result in more frequent repairs.
- Extend the life of your tires with careful driving. Observe posted speed limits. Avoid fast starts, stops, and turns. Avoid potholes and objects on the road. Don’t run over curbs or hit the tire against the curb when parking. And, of course, don’t burn rubber.
- When turning your steering wheel, don’t hold it in an extreme right or left position for more than a few seconds. Doing so can damage the power-steering pump.
- Consolidate your short driving trips. Most of the wear and tear — as well as the pollution your car generates — takes place in the first few minutes of driving. Doing several errands at once, during low traffic hours if possible, will keep your engine happier longer.
2. Buy gas at reputable service stations
Ask whether the gas you buy is filtered at the pump and if the station has a policy about changing the pump filters regularly. If you get a song and dance, find another gas station. Some stations don’t have pump filters, making you more vulnerable to dirty gasoline. Other stations may not mix alcohol and fuel properly — or worse, water down their product. Find a station you trust and stick to it.
3. Lighten up your key chain
Do you have many keys and other items on your keychain? This actually happened to me. I had a wallet on my keychain which was way too heavy for the ignition. The weight, combined with bouncing while you drive, can wear out the tumblers inside the ignition and eventually lead to ignition switch failure. To add years of service to your ignition switch, purchase a lightweight key chain that allows you to separate your ignition key from the others. Drive with only the ignition key in your ignition. If your ignition key “sticks” when you try to turn on the car, it’s a warning that your ignition switch is about to fail. Replace it before you get stranded.
4. Tires - Maintain proper inflation, check for uneven wear, check tread for safety, rotate
Under-inflated tires create excessive heat and stress that can lead to tire failure. Check for uneven wear often. Uneven wear may indicate the need for a wheel realignment. It can also mean improperly operating brakes or shocks, a bent wheel, internal tire damage, or worn bushings. Check tread for safety. Most states require tires to be replaced when they have worn down to 1/16-inch (1.5 mm) of remaining tire depth. Tires sold in North America are required to have “wear bars” molded into them to make it easy to see when tire replacement is legally required. Stick an American quarter between the treads in several places. If part of Washington’s head is always covered, you have enough tread to drive in the rain. Rotate your tires. Rotating your tires helps to distribute tire wear evenly and ensures that you’ll get the maximum road life out of them. Your owner’s manual should specify both rotation period and pattern. If not, rotate your tires every 6,000 to 7,500 miles (9,700 to 12,000 km) — your tire dealer should know the correct pattern of tire rotation. When outside temperatures drop or soar, tires tend to lose pressure. A drop of 10 degrees F (6 degrees C), in fact, will decrease a tire’s air pressure by 1 or 2 pounds.Tires can lose even more air in hot weather. Under-inflated tires can result in accelerated wear and poor driving performance and could be a safety issue. If you live in a place where temperatures vary a lot, check your tire pressure often and add air as needed.
5. Maintain your car’s battery
Check your battery regularly to extend its life and avoid the hassle of being stranded with a dead battery.
- Begin with the simple: keeping your battery clean. A dirty case can actually cause current to drain. Wipe with a damp rag. Use a mild detergent if necessary.
- Next, clean the battery posts or terminals. Loosen and remove the negative cable (black or minus sign) first, then the red positive cable. Use a brass wire battery brush dipped in a paste made from a few tablespoons of baking soda and a little water.
- Inspect the battery case for damage, such as cracks or bulges — signs that a battery needs to be replaced.
- Reinstall the cables, positive first, and coat the terminals and clamps with a thin coating of grease to prevent new corrosion.
- Some batteries need water
6. Keep your cool
Check the coolant-antifreeze level weekly that shows on the translucent coolant-antifreeze overflow tank. If low, fill to the maximum fill mark on the tank with a 50-50 solution of coolant-antifreeze and water. Some coolant manufacturers now sell premixed coolant and water for the motorist who wants a quick and easy way to top off. Coolant-antifreeze eventually degrades and becomes contaminated. Flush it from your cooling system as recommended in your manual (typically every two years; every five years for newer coolants). Failing to do so can damage your radiator, clog your heater core, and cause the thermostat and water pump to fail.
7. Check power-steering fluid
Check the power-steering fluid once a month with the car warmed up. If the level is low, have the hoses and pump inspected for leaks. In addition to making your car difficult to steer, low power-steering fluid will damage the power-steering pump. Be sure to use the powersteering fluid recommended for you car.
8. Change oil frequently
Your dad knew that frequent oil changes were key to keeping his Buick on the road another year. And while owner’s manuals for today’s cars recommend increasing long intervals between oil changes, the fact remains — frequent changes flush abrasive dirt and metal particles out of the engine, prolonging its life. Most owner’s manuals recommend a more frequent interval for “severe conditions.” To maximize the life of your engine, follow the severe intervals recommendations, especially if drive regularly in stop-and-go traffic.
9. Heavier is not always better
Use the oil viscosity grade that’s recommended in your owner’s manual for the temperature range you expect
for the coming season. Lighter grades (lower viscosity, such as SAE 5W-30), often specified for today’s smaller car engines, will deliver easier starts and better engine protection in winter and improved gas mileage throughout the year, thanks to less internal engine friction. Do not use a heavy grade of oil in cold winter climes or you will risk damage to your engine.
10. Maintain your transmission
Change automatic transmission fluid and filter after the first 5,000 miles (8,000 km) and after every 25,000 miles (40,000 km) or two years thereafter, or as recommended in your owner’s manual. If you use your vehicle for towing, change the fluid and filter every year. For manual transmissions, change the lubricant (motor oil or gear oil, depending on the car) after the first 5,000 miles and after every 50,000 (80,000 km) thereafter. Use synthetic motor oil or gear lube for longer transmission life unless the manufacturer recommends otherwise.
Choose a good car insurer
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, disaster inevitably strikes — typically in the form of an accident. Make sure that your car will be repaired to the best possible standard by finding an insurer that will pay for parts from the original manufacturer and guarantee the repairs it authorizes.
Suzanne Brown Insurance Agency offers up to 40 carriers as an independent insurance agency. We offer instant quotes at our website www.SuzanneBrownAgency.com