Spring recently arrived, which means warmer weather and more hours of daylight. The non-profit Car Care Council recommends the following steps to make sure your vehicle is safe and properly maintained, so you don’t experience a breakdown, or that basic preventative maintenance doesn’t turn into costly repairs.
- Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades, so you can see clearly when driving at night and during spring showers.
- Check your tires, including tire pressure and tread. Underinflated tires reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy and uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
- Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause the engine to lose power.
- Check hoses and belts, and replace them if they become loose, cracked, brittle, frayed or show signs of excessive wear. They are critical to the proper functioning of your electrical, air conditioning, power steering and cooling systems. Why risk having an inexpensive belt cause a breakdown during a shift.
- Check your brake system. Outside of the obvious safety issues, a small problem can pretty rapidly turn into an expensive nightmare.
- Make sure your battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
You should also check to see if there is a defect or recall on your vehicle at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website: nhtsa.gov/recalls. You will need your VIN number. Watch a step-by-step video on how to locate your VIN and find out more about how recalls work.