While we may not have experienced winter like many other parts of the world, we still embrace the spring. Spring also brings a sense of renewal and is the perfect time to blow out the old and create freshness. That’s why April is ideal for National Car Care Month! There are things you can do every month of the year to take care of your car, but life can get in the way, and the more mundane of life’s chores can easily be set aside. Just remember, it’s never too late to start doing routine care and preventative maintenance to extend the life of your vehicle and give you peace of mind.
When you are ready to start a routine for your car, the best place to begin is to read your owner’s manual! It sits hidden away in your glovebox covered with receipts or tissues or other items we shove in there when we are making room for someone to sit in the passenger's seat next to us. It’s easy to forget that the manual has all the necessary information you need to get started when you need to know such things as ‘how much air pressure do my tires need?’ or ‘what kind of oil do I need to put in my engine?’. Experienced car lovers know this is a great first step towards building a maintenance schedule that’s best for you and your vehicle. The manual can also ensure that any work you do won’t void your warranty.
AAA has outlined some self-inspections you can do on to help keep your vehicle running safely and at optimal levels. Starting with these suggestions is an excellent start to loving your car this month and helps put you in partnership with your professional auto mechanic too. When you work together, you can get so much more out of your car!
The following are some examples of self-inspections you can easily do in your own garage or driveway:
Check your lights: Make sure all your lights are in working order! When you do, it will help keep you safe and provide peace of mind that you won’t get pulled over for a light being out. Don’t forget to check the inside bulbs too. You don’t want to be fumbling around looking for something in a dark place.
Check your tires: Check the air pressure, treads, and sidewalls too. Watching for any change in your tires and treads is an excellent way to help keep you safe on the road. Pick up an inexpensive pressure gauge and keep it in your glovebox (in the front so you don’t lose it!) As far as the treads go, use the penny trick and if you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires! The sidewalls you’ll check for wear and possible damage.
Check your fluids: Making sure your fluids (coolant, antifreeze, power steering, and your wiper fluid) are filled to the correct level will save you from unpleasant surprises! Pull out your owner’s manual if you can’t find where to look. Some fluids are easy to change on your own and others are more complicated. You can look up how-to videos or bring your vehicle into your favorite auto care facility.
Check your oil: Even though this is also a fluid, this is the most important one to check. It’s also pretty easy. Take a look at your dipstick to check the oil’s color and level. Your vehicle’s manual will be the best way to determine how often you should be changing your oil, but you should check it often!
What preventative maintenance are you going to build into your routine this April to celebrate Car Care Month?
There are many resources available online that can help you determine what sort of routine, preventative maintenance you can be doing to prolong the health of your car. Please check out Car Care Council, a nonprofit dedicated to educating motorists about regular maintenance and repair. There you can find guides for ‘Do It Yourself’ maintenance and more. When you need help with your car’s maintenance, or something more serious, please reach out to the pros at Larry’s Independent Service. We are here for you!