Your to-do list is probably already a mile long. You want to check some things off before you continue tacking on more tasks. This is an understandable feeling, but if you put off car care chores, you could be faced with an expensive emergency repair. Here are the top five most overlooked car maintenance tips according to Car Care Plus that you should move to the top of your to-do list.
- Pressure: Good tires are the most critical aspect of preventing an accident, especially in wet or icy conditions. Check the pressure at least once a month. A convenient time is while you’re filling the gas tank. That way, you’re at a station where you can easily top off the air in your tires if needed.
- Tread: Then, check the tread depth. An easy tip from Goodyear is to insert a penny into a tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires. Wheel alignment and balancing services from Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair extend the life of your tires.
- Windshield washer fluid: You may not realize your windshield washer fluid is low until your vision is compromised. Never let it get to that. Check the fluid level often and refill it whenever you’re checking other fluid levels. Keep a spare bottle in the trunk so you can refill on the go.
- Engine oil: Without enough oil, your engine wears rapidly and could even seize up. Check your oil level with the dip stick. First, pull it out and wipe it clean with a paper towel. Dip it in the slot and back out again. The oil level should be between the two pinholes, L and H, or MIN and MAX markings. If the oil is below the minimum level, top it off with the proper oil recommended by the manufacturer. Finally, get an oil change at Scott’s based on recommendations in your owner’s manual (probably somewhere between every 3,000 and 10,000 miles).
- Brake fluid: Inadequate brake fluid could cause your brakes to fail. Every time you get the oil changed, have your brake fluid levels checked as well. If you need brake repair, we also offer this service.
- Coolant: Also called antifreeze, this liquid prevents the engine from overheating. Check the level at every oil change to ensure you don’t have a leak. Keep a spare bottle in the trunk in case you spring an unexpected leak so you can calm an overheated engine and make it to Scott’s for a cooling system repair.
Battery Cables, Clamps and Terminals
Power from the battery can’t flow if the cables, clamps and terminals become loose or corroded. This means you’re stuck with a car that won’t start. Come by Scott’s to have your battery checked for free any time. If a problem is developing, you can either nip it in the bud or get a new battery at a convenient time instead of during an emergency situation.
Engine Air Filter
The filter is designed to catch dirt and debris and keep it from getting into the engine. Over time, the filter becomes clogged and reduces airflow, which impedes performance and fuel efficiency. Check the filter during an oil change every six months or 5,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Improper tension can cause a timing belt to snap. This is not good news since, as CarBuying.com explains, a snapped timing belt in some engine configurations could cause valve, cylinder head or camshaft damage. It’s best to prevent a disaster before it strikes by choosing Scott’s to change the timing belt every four to five years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first.