Fixing Little Issues Before They’re Big Issues
Owning a vehicle can be one of the most useful choices a person can make, but it can also be one of the most expensive and technical if you don’t take care of it. Like most things, a little bit of regular preventative maintenance can go a long way in preventing a lot of little problems that lead to major damage, costly repairs, and a short-lived vehicle.
So, what do cars require as far as maintenance? Of course, they all need their brakes checked, oil changed, tires rotated, and dash lights checked out. But there are other systems that need love and care too! Not every vehicle is the same, and some may require a little more love than others. The more basic your vehicle, the less you need to worry about. As cars grow complex, their maintenance schedules are changing with them. Check your owner’s manual for information that is more specific to your car.
Check Under the Hood
Every three months, or about as often as you get an oil change, take a look under the hood of your vehicle. There are some small signs you can look for as parts of your vehicle wear out so that you can replace them when they need it, and not when they’ve broken and caused damage to other systems too.
● Is your automatic transmission fluid at the correct level? If not, it’s time to top it off.
● Look at your battery. Are your battery connectors corroded? Are the cables damaged? Battery damage can be dangerous, and a malfunctioning battery can cause other problems within electrical systems in your vehicle.
● Run your hand along the belts. Are there cracks or tears in the belts? Cracked belts are more likely to snap, especially with dramatic changes in temperature.
● Pull out your engine air filter. Can you see light through it, or is it dirty and ready to be replaced?
Examine the Exhaust System
This one is a little harder to do on your own, and you might be able to tell there is an issue from the sound your car makes easier than you can from looking at it.
● Is your exhaust system really loud? It might sound louder when you press the gas pedal than at any other time, signaling that there is a hole, and it’s time to have it repaired.
● Do you see any holes in your exhaust system?
● Is your exhaust pipe leaking? If so, you may have a problem with your catalytic converter, which is one piece that helps to convert harmful gases into less harmful ones before releasing them into the environment, so it can be harmful to you and others if it’s malfunctioning.