The 5 Top Car Maintenance Checks to Keep You Safe On the Road
The passage of a car along the highways and byways of life can be a graceful and pampered journey, or it can be a rough and tumble trek that travels far off the beaten track. Either way, the useful life of many critical parts, fluids, and mechanical systems will eventually expire, and car repair services will be needed.
Here are the top 5 issues to watch for as the miles add up. Avoiding trouble in these key areas will help to keep your car in safe operating condition, and extend the life of your automotive investment.
1. Battery, spark plugs, wires, and ignition coils
Reliable starting is an absolute must. Batteries and other ignition components last for a long time, and nowadays they are generally maintenance-free, so it’s easy to forget about them… until something goes wrong.
At the first sign of hard-starting behavior, including rough idle after start-up, get these components checked and serviced if necessary. Even a worst-case repair scenario (where everything has to be replaced) works out to about the cost of 2 or 3 monthly payments on a new car, which will buy you another long run of maintenance-free and worry-free performance.
2. Get It In Gear
The transmission system, including the clutch components in a manual transmission, connects the engine power to the drive wheels, and completes the drivetrain of the vehicle. Slow, rough or clunky gear changes indicate the need for immediate transmission service.
To prevent such problems, most car owners can easily check and top up their own transmission fluid levels by following the simple procedure outlined in the owner’s manual. If problems develop, a transmission flush, fluid and filter replacement will usually do the trick. Regular inspection and service is key to preventing major transmission repair expenses.
3. Smooth Out the Rough Spots
Shock absorbers and suspension components affect both the comfort and the safe operation of the vehicle. Using your full body weight, bounce up and down on the bumper at each corner of the car. It should rebound once and then stop. If it moves up and down a couple of extra little bounces, it means your shocks likely need to be replaced.
Failure to upgrade these critical chassis components puts the vehicle at risk of losing control from any severe road bumps, potholes, or cornering pressures. Related suspension and linkage components should be inspected at the same time, and serviced as necessary.
4. Where the Rubber Hits the Road
Tires and brakes are relatively easy to inspect and they tend to wear out in a predictable way. Inspect for wear levels and rotate tires every 6 months, and inspect brakes while the rims are off the hubs. It goes without saying, but let’s say it anyway: you need these components to be working properly in order to stay safe on the road.
5. See and Be Seen
Ensure that all lights are working properly, and that wiper blades are in good condition. These regular maintenance items usually can be replaced by most car owners, by following the manufacturer’s instructions in the owner’s manual. It’s also the kind of small service extra that can be added to a work order for regular oil change service, with very little impact on the final bill.
The single most important step you can take for extending the life of your car, and for ensuring your own piece of mind, is finding an automotive repair service you trust. Don’t wait until you need major work done to establish that solid relationship.
Come in and check out the commitment to customer service and quality workmanship that makes McKinney Motor Company a favorite automotive service provider among Albuquerque car owners. Give us a call at (505) 298-6734 to book your next oil change or a free ASE-certified safety inspection today.