Part 1: Preventative Maintenance: It’s free … and goes a long way.
By Arthur Irwin
Spending 20 minutes a month checking a few things on your car will help you from being stranded some day or night with the car broken down. Start a maintenance record for all the cars you own.
A complete maintenance record should include:
- mileage at time of inspection
- what was inspected
- detailed notes on what was found and any repairs that were performed (receipts are a good to hold on too)
Key items to inspect:
Fluids: This is an easy one. Check all the levels of all systems fluids: engine oil, engine coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid too… if you can’t see you can’t drive. (Do all of these when the car is not HOT)
Hoses and Belts : It’s a good idea to wiggle the hoses. Look for anything frayed and check the serpentine belt and other accessory drive belts for a dry or cracked appearance. If you see anything questionable get it checked my professional or replace on your own.
Battery : This is sometimes gets overlooked. Make sure the cables are tight and there is not any corrosion build up on the terminals. Any corrosion that is found is an easy fix, sprinkle a little baking soda on, grab an old toothbrush, dip in water and scrub.
Filters: Check your air filter, and the often overlooked cabin air filter. This is usually under the hood most can be found behind glove box or underside of the passenger side dash. In all the cars I have bought it is the one thing I replace every time. It is usually packed with dirt and debris.
Wipers: A quick once over to make sure they are in good shape. Don’t forget about the rear one if your car has one. You can clean the rubber with some rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. It will help them last longer.
Tire Pressure: And lastly, check your tire pressures. For a couple dollars you can get a digital gauge at the parts store. Manufacturer correct tire pressure will help them last longer, ensure safety and fuel economy.
If you cannot locate certain items your owner’s manual will help. If you do not have one a quick internet search will most certainly point you in the right direction.
Be Safe – Happy Motoring !