5 Basic Ways to Take Care of Your Car
As a woman in the automotive business, I find it so important to empower other women to know the basics of car care. With the winter months upon us and the days getting shorter, I felt the need to pass on just a few tips to keep you safe on the road and potentially keep you from having a mechanical breakdown of any kind.
1. Tire Pressure Checks
I will start with tire pressure. Growing up, my father preached the importance of tire safety to me. “Tires are the first thing to touch the ground”, he would tell me as he walked me around my car forcing me to check the tread and tire pressure. While he taught me the importance of checking my tires, he never really explained why, other than the obvious fact that they do wear with every single rotation on the car. Tires naturally lose 1-2 pounds of pressure per square inch per month. Low tire pressure can cause uneven tire wear and will lessen the life of your tire.
2. Brake Inspection
Next on the list would have to be brakes. I mean, we all need to be able to stop! Brake linings are a friction material so they do wear with every brake application. Just to be safe, if you have not had a brake inspection in the past 6 months to a year, call and schedule an appointment with your service provider. Depending on your driving conditions, you should consider having an annual brake inspection. Better safe than sorry.
3. Fluid Checks
Along with having your brakes inspected, it would be a great time to have all your vehicles fluids inspected. Transmission fluid, engine coolant/antifreeze, power steering fluid, brake fluid and engine oil can all be impacted by weather changes. Dirty fluids or deteriorating fluids can spell trouble, especially during the winter. Most repair shops will perform these inspections for you during your routine 5,000 mile or annual service (whichever comes first).
4. Battery Tests
Last, but surely not least, your battery. Cold weather, just like excessive heat, can zap the energy from your battery. Your engine needs the battery to be a full cold cranking amps each time you start your vehicle. Don’t be fooled, sometimes a weak battery can just give up without any warning signs so it’s a good idea to have it tested too.
5. Emergency Kit
With all of that said, even with the best intentions to avoid any mechanical breakdown, it may still happen. I always say, “Cars are like toddlers, you never know if they are going to cooperate or not.” For those moments when my car may decide to have a temper tantrum, I like to keep a kit in the trunk for safety. A simple kit to keep with you would consist of:
- Bottle of water
- Non-perishable food
- First aid kit with any needed medication
- Battery pack with cables (they have some great small jump starters available)
- Extra clothes
And don’t forget, roadside assistance! Many insurance companies provide this service but there are repair facilities that also provide Roadside Assistance with their services. Taking a little extra time to give your care come TLC will keep you safe on the road and keep your car running much longer.