Top 10 Basic Maintenance Procedures
As we wrap up this springu2019s u201cCar Care Awarenessu201d theme, the last topic covers the top 10 basic maintenance procedures that go a long way toward the safety and dependability of your vehicle, plus it helps avoid costly repairs down the road.
1. Check All Fluids: Check the engine oil, filters, power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. Oil should be checked at every fill-up and changed at factory recommended intervals. Your vehicleu2019s filters, including those for the transmission, fuel system and interior ventilation, need regular inspection and replacement.
2. Check Hoses & Belts: Inspect hoses at each oil change and replace them when leaking, brittle, cracked, rusted, swollen or restricted. Check V-belts and serpentine belts for looseness and condition, and replace them when cracked, frayed, glazed or showing signs of excessive wear. Typically replace the timing belt between 60,000 and 90,000 miles to avoid a breakdown or serious engine damage.
3. Check Battery: Check that the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free. The battery should be securely mounted. If it is 3 or more years old, test and replace the battery if necessary.
4. Check Brake System: Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
5. Inspect Exhaust System: Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual nose.
6. Schedule a Tune-Up: A tune-up will help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
7. Check Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning (HVAC) System: Proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting.
8. Inspect Steering & Suspension System: Inspect the steering and suspension system annually including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
9. Check Tires: Check tire pressure and tread, including the spare, at least once a month. Check the tread for uneven or irregular wear and cuts and bruises along the sidewalls. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Check your vehicleu2019s alignment at least annually to reduce tire wear and improve fuel economy and handling. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots. Have your tires rotated and balanced every other oil change - 6,000-10,000 miles u2013 or unless you notice a vibration problem in between intervals.
10. Check Wipers & Lighting: Test exterior and interior lights and have bulbs that are not working checked immediately. Replace windshield wiper blades every 6 months or when cracked, cut, torn, streaking or chattering for optimum wiping performance and safety.