Make Annual Car Maintenance Your New Year’s Resolution
With each New Year, millions of people make promises to improve themselves or accomplish something new. This year, we recommend that you do something for your car.
Annual car maintenance is often neglected. People often feel they don’t need to do anything to their car until it becomes a problem.
Sure, your car runs great now, but when was the last time you inspected your belts and hoses? When was your last transmission flush? How’s your battery?
The little things can be the difference between accomplishing your New Year’s goals and letting another year fly by, decreasing the value of your car and setting you up for a big repair bill down the road.
Don’t wait until there’s an issue. There are plenty of preventative car maintenance checks you can resolve to do right now to keep your vehicle on the road and out of the shop.
Make annual car maintenance a goal for 2015. Both your car and wallet will thank you. Here are five ways to take steps toward better car maintenance in 2015 and beyond:
Get Routine Oil Changes and Check Your Oil Levels
Checking your oil level is one of the easiest preventative car maintenance measures you can take on your own. Checking your oil is probably easier than filling your gas tank. Checking your oil level is especially critical if you have an older vehicle that burns through oil somewhat regularly. For older vehicles, it is advised to check your oil levels every time you fill up on gas, and for newer vehicles, you’re probably safe taking this preventative car maintenance measure once a month.
Follow your owner’s manual for instructions on how often you should be changing your oil. The old adage “every 3,000 miles” doesn't apply to as many newer vehicles, so be sure double-check.
If you are burning through oil to the point where you have to top off regularly, it may be time to get it looked at by a mechanic.
Check your Coolant
Your radiator should be fairly easy to locate under the hood, and contains a fill line indicating your current levels, making it easy to determine whether you need to top-off or not. Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is a critical, inexpensive fluid that prevents your engine from overheating, resulting in a very costly repair.
Coolant should be replaced every 2-3 years, but needs to be checked at least twice a year.
Brake, Power Steering and Transmission Fluid Checks
Proper yearly maintenance on a car means making these three critical fluids a priority in 2015.
Your transmission keeps your gears running smoothly, and can often be checked in the same way you check your engine oil. With transmission fluid, you are looking for quality, not quantity, as transmission fluid should never be running low. Transmission fluid should be red. If it is brown or smells burnt, it’s time to replace it. Check your transmission fluid monthly, and plan on replacing it between every 50,000 to 100,000 miles.
Your power steering fluid should also be part of monthly preventative car maintenance, and it is usually located in an easy-to-find reservoir under the hood of your vehicle. Power steering fluid doesn’t get low often, but is worth checking and topping off when necessary. With many vehicles, you will never have to flush and replace power steering fluid, but it still needs to be checked on a regular basis.
Get your brake fluid inspected every time you get an oil change. If it’s brown, rather than gold, it’s time to replace it. Brake fluid is important because it keeps your brakes working properly, which is just as much about safety on the road as it is about saving money on larger maintenance issues. Brake fluid typically needs to be replaced every two years.
Care More for Your Tires This Year
Your tires are more than just four pieces of rubber. Your tires play huge parts in both fuel efficiency and vehicle handling, and are a crucial part of any annual car maintenance plan.
Check your tire pressure regularly using an inexpensive tire gauge. Consult your owner’s manual or the label inside your driver’s side door for recommended pressure levels. If your tires are low, go to your nearest service station and inflate until they reach their recommended PSI level.
If your tires are constantly low on air, there is likely a bigger problem, and you should get your tires professionally checked.
Check your owner’s manual to determine how often you should get your tires rotated. Some tire manufactures recommend rotation with each oil change, although it may only be necessary every 7,500 miles. Regardless of how often this is done, tire rotation helps your tires from wearing unevenly, leading to poor performance. If you haven’t gotten your tires rotated in a while, get it done next time you go in for an oil change, or do it yourself!
Also, be sure to inspect your spare tire. You can’t change a flat tire if your spare tire is also flat. Check your spare for pressure and loose hardware before hitting the road on a long trip, or, take a look if you haven’t for a while. This should be done at least annually as part of yearly maintenance on a car.
Make a Resolution to Drive Smarter
Preventative car maintenance starts behind the wheel. Bad driving habits can cause your car to age quicker than it should. If you drive your car too hard, it is going to respond in a negative way over time. If you are hard on your brakes, your brakes will wear down much quicker. Make it a point to ease on your brakes, accelerate slower and check your blind spots. Driving differently can have a positive effect on fuel costs and prolong the life of your engine.
Below are five considerations you can have this year to drive smarter for the health of your vehicle.
• Be Gentle
• Let Your Car Warm Up Properly on Cold Days
• Don’t Speed
• Shift Gears Properly
• Drive with Lighter Loads by Keeping Your Trunk Clean of Heavy Equipment
Consider a Service Plan from Dent Wizard
Reward your vehicle for all it has done for you over the past year, with preventative maintenance and a service plan! Dent Wizard’s Ding Shield Service Plans are a great way to care for your vehicle throughout this year, and many years to come.
We offer a basic Ding Shield plan, featuring unlimited Paintless Dent Removal with quick response time and same-day service in most areas, as well as premium plans featuring windshield, bumper and wheel coverage.
Happy New Years from Dent Wizard
Are you planning on making a resolution to take better care of your vehicle this year? What’s your annual car maintenance plan look like? Let us know about it on our Facebook or Twitter pages!
Visit us online at http://www.DentWizard.com to learn more about Dent Wizard and our SMART automotive reconditioning services. Happy New Years, from your friends at Dent Wizard!