Your car is one of the largest investments you’re likely to make. What do you know about it? Whether you bought your car new or used, you should get to know it a little better. You don’t have to be an expert, but by knowing the basic characteristics of your car, you can save on maintenance costs, prevent breakdowns, and help your vehicle last thousands of miles longer. Make sure you know these five things about your car.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure to memorize your vehicle’s make, the exact model, and the year of manufacture. Mixing up the year is the most common mistake car owners make. This simple error could lead to big mistakes, such as ordering the wrong part or using incorrect fluids. The design and construction of car models often change significantly from year to year, so double check your owner’s manual to make sure you know when your vehicle was manufactured.
The VIN is like your car’s fingerprint. It identifies your car’s make, model, trim, manufacturing date and place, engine size, and various features, making it useful when you need to order parts.
Your car’s VIN stays with it throughout its lifespan to tell you what it’s been through. Look up the VIN online to find out your car’s history, which may include accident reports, title problems, recalls and defects, theft reports, and more. Always look up the VIN of a used car before you buy it.
There’s no need to memorize this 17-digit number – just know where to find it. One place to look is inside the driver’s side door where the dashboard and door meet. You can also check your vehicle registration card, which you must renew yearly in the state of Colorado.
Different cars have varying maintenance schedules, which you should follow to maximize performance and longevity. You can find your car’s recommended maintenance schedule – including how often you should change the oil – by checking the owner’s manual.
Properly filled tires offer several benefits, including improved gas mileage and reduced wear and tear to help your tires last longer. Are your tires filled to the recommended pressure? Check them every time you fill up your gas tank to make sure.
Usually, the ideal tire pressure is between 30 and 35 psi (pounds per square inch). To find out what the manufacturer recommends, check your owner’s manual or the sticker in the driver’s door jamb. If you don’t locate the recommendation in either of these places, check on the trunk lid, in the console, or on the fuel door. Take good care of your tires and they may just last over 50,000 miles!
When you start your car, several lights illuminate briefly and then turn off. If one or more remains lit as you begin driving, you should know whether to be alarmed or not.
In general, if you see a red dashboard warning light, it means you should take your car to a mechanic immediately. Yellow lights mean you should have the problem checked out soon, but it’s not a dire emergency. Green or blue lights mean a particular function is activated. When in doubt, check your owner’s manual for a specific guide about what dashboard warning lights mean.
Understanding the key aspects of your car is the first step to feeling more in control. When you’re familiar with the above five things about your car, you can feel confident when you come to Scott’s Fort Collins Auto for your next oil change, tune-up, or other automotive services. Just remember – we’ll never talk over your head or make you feel silly if you don’t know something about your car.
Schedule your next appointment online or call us at (970) 682-4202 to let us know when you’ll be stopping by!