With October being Car Care Month, AAA is reminding drivers about the importance of properly maintaining their vehicles.
“Learning how to handle common maintenance issues is beneficial to anyone who gets behind the wheel,” said John Nielsen, managing director of AAA automotive engineering and repair. “Proper maintenance can extend the life of your vehicle and help prevent costly repairs.”
Below are four car care practices that AAA recommends on a regular basis:
1. Check the Air and Wear of Your Tires
According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, 83% of Americans do not know how to properly inflate their tires. The pressure on all tires — including the spare — should be checked monthly, with a quality gauge when the tires are cold. Proper pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker most often located on the driver-side door jamb.
Do not use the pressure stamped on the sidewall of the tire. Note that the pressure levels on some cars are different for the front and rear tires.
2. Ensure Your Car Battery is Properly Charged
Extreme temperatures break down car batteries internally and can accelerate the rate of corrosion on battery terminals, leading to insufficient electrical power and the risk of being stranded without warning.
At every oil change, check the battery cables and ensure they are securely attached to the terminals. Clean the terminals if there are signs of corrosion. Disconnecting the cables to clean the hidden areas where they contact the battery terminals is the best way to remove external corrosion.
Most car batteries have a three- to five-year service life, depending on local climate and vehicle usage patterns.
3. Keep Those Wipers Working
Inspect the wiper blades monthly. Check to see if they are worn, cracked or rigid with age. Damaged wiper blades won’t adequately remove debris, compromising the driver’s vision and safety.
The life of a rubber insert is typically six to 12 months depending on its exposure to heat, dirt, sunlight, acid rain and ozone. Streaking and chattering are common clues that the rubber is breaking down and a replacement is needed.
4. Work with a Local Repair Shop You Trust
Every car requires routine maintenance and repair. The best time to find a mechanic or auto repair shop is before you need one. Start by asking friends and family for recommendations of repair shops and mechanics.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, take your vehicle to your top candidate shop for routine maintenance. While there, talk with the employees, take a look at the facility and consider the following questions: Does the facility have up-to-date equipment? Were you offered a written estimate? Does the shop offer a nationwide warranty on parts and labor?