October is Car Care Month, and basic car maintenance will go far with improving the safety and dependability of your vehicle. Whether you do it yourself, or schedule a visit to a trusted professional technician, RK Collision Repair Center recommends the following maintenance checks to help make sure your car is operating at its best—before winter weather arrives!
Battery. Make sure the battery is clean and free from corrosion, and that cable connections are tight. You can even have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician, or replace the battery entirely, if necessary.
Tires. Check your tire tread to make sure you do not have bulges or bald spots; replace any tire that has significant tread wear. Uneven tire wear can indicate alignment, wheel balance, or suspension problems that must be addressed to prevent further tire damage. Ensure your tires are properly inflated. (Recommended tire pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker located on the driver’s side door.)
Brakes. Brakes should be checked annually by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order. This includes the brake linings, rotors, and drums, which can also easily be inspected at each oil change.
Oil. The levels on your oil should be checked regularly. However, if you have not gotten your oil changed recently, this is an appropriate time to get it changed.
Fluid Levels. In addition to engine oil, check other fluids including power steering, brake and transmission, windshield washer, and antifreeze/coolant. Make sure that all fluids are at or above the minimum safe levels.
Belts and Hoses. Inspect all belts and hoses to ensure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose, or showing signs of excessive wear. Inspect the cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks, or loose clamps. Tip: squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or have an excessively spongy feeling.
Headlights and Wipers. It is important to see and be seen. Check to verify that all exterior and interior lights work, headlights are properly aimed, and wiper blades are working properly. Replace any faulty bulbs or worn wiper blades. Remember to check taillights, brake lights, turn signals, headlights, emergency flasher, and back-up lights.
Car care is preventative maintenance that can help avoid the headaches of a costly breakdown, and many repairs can be avoided by just taking a little time to visit your favorite service provider. Taking care of your car will help it go farther with fewer issues, and will also save you money in the long-run!
Rick has been in the collision repair business for 40 plus years. Has worked in all aspects of the industry from an Insurance Claims Manager to Body Shop Manger for a large Kansas City dealership.