Start Your Year Off With Proper Vehicle Maintenance
It’s that wonderful time of year again when change fills the air. We take some deep breaths in with the new and out with the old and we work our way into a new and exciting lifestyle of personal improvement (if you’re feeling skeptical about your commitment, read this blog).
At the Loewy Law Firm Law Firm, we simply wanted to recommend that the first thing you should do this year is get on top of your vehicle maintenance. Not only is this a good investment for prolonging the lifespan of your car, but it’s an investment in prolonging your own life. We’ll discuss why this is important as well as what you ought to check to ensure your car’s utmost safety.
Why You Should Make Your New Years Resolution Vehicle Maintenance
Ask yourself a question: how many miles or hours do you spend in your car each week. Now ask how often you check the condition of your tires, oil level, brakes, hoses, belts, and really any part of your vehicle’s motor. We tend to think that once we buy our cars, we can drive them until they just break down.
However, if you don’t continue to maintain your car, you could end up being late for the job interview, being the cause of a bumper to bumper traffic jam, or end up in a wreck. In fact, poor vehicle maintenance is one of the main causes of car accidents. So whether you know nothing about cars or pride yourself on your car maintaining, here is a checklist to follow that ensures your car’s utmost safety.
- Check Air Pressure—over- or under-inflated tires are perhaps the most important part of your car to watch out for. One, because it’s easy to do, and two, because if improper inflation levels can lead to poor vehicle handling or even blowouts that oftentimes lead to accidents and injuries. Get a tire gauge and check your tire’s pressure once a month.
- Check Tire Tread—if your tires are old, the tread is worn down too much, and you drive on a highway often, then watching the levels of tread left on your vehicle is obviously important for a number of reasons:
- ensures your car’s stability in harsh driving conditions
- prevents tires from blowing out
- tread levels can tell you if you have an alignment problem
- lets you know when it’s time to replace tires
You can tell when you need to replace tires by sticking a penny in the tread with Abe Lincoln’s head down first. If the tread reaches his head, you’re okay. If not, you need new tires.
- Have your tires rotated and balanced—usually you can do this at an all inclusive mechanic. Take your car, get your oil changed, your tires rotated and balanced, and a normal tune up to ensure your car’s safety.
When do you need to replace your brakes? This is probably the biggest question to ask yourself when you are considering what areas of your car need the most maintenance. However, the answer to this question varies with each driver and vehicle. Here’s some questions you can ask yourself:
- How many miles have passed since I last replaced my brakes?
- Do I use my brakes a lot when I drive? (Do you drive through hills, mountains as opposed to flat areas? Rural areas or urban areas?)
- What quality of pads and rotors did I purchase last time I replaced my brakes?
- Do I hear any grinding or scraping when I use my brakes?
- Is there a sponginess or strong vibration when using my brake pedal?
Use these questions to tell the health of your brakes. As far as mileage is concerned, brakes will vary depending on their quality and how you drive routinely. Some brakes last for less than 20,000 miles while others might last for over 80,000. Observe what you can and then, get your car to a mechanic for a thorough inspection if you have any doubts or need replacements.
Your steering wheel maintenance will generally require the expertise of a mechanic. Steering problems commonly lead to accidents and what you can do is follow this checklist:
- Are there vibrations or difficulties turning the steering wheel?
- Is there a looseness or unresponsiveness while using the wheel?
- Does your car wander around while driving?
- Are there any noises while turning the steering wheel?
If the answer is yes to any of these, then you should check your power steering fluid and add more if it’s needed. If problems persist, take your car to have a mechanic look at your steering problems.
Lights, Indicators, Oil Change
If you have just had your car inspected then you don’t need to worry about this step, but it’s always important to make sure your headlights, tail lights, and indicator lights are working properly. Driving at night with improper indicators or lights is often the cause of accidents and injuries.
Also, get your oil changed every three months or 3000 miles. Not only does this prolong the life of your car, you get trained mechanics working on your car who can spot areas that need to be fixed or inspected further.
Start Your Year Off Safe
Take your car to your local mechanic and get your car in tip top shape for the new year. One thing we all need is less anxiety. By making sure your car is working properly you can worry less about your cars function and focus more on what matters. Get the mundane, boring stuff out of the way and get on with your life!
From the Loewy Law Firm to you, Happy New Year and best wishes to your goals in 2014.