We’ve made it through the worst of the winter, and as days get longer and gas prices continue to stay relatively low, many of us will be logging more miles on our cars.
“Taking a few minutes now to care for your car can save you lots of time and expense down the road,” said Randy Wright, Cottman President.
April is National Car Care Month and the experts at Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care offer some simple car maintenance tips to keep your car running smoothly and safely during spring and summer seasons ahead.
Car Maintenance Advice
- First, check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission fluids, and anti-freeze/coolant. While you’re under the hood, take a look at hoses and belts. While checking to be sure they’re not loose, inspect them closely for signs of cracks, fraying or brittleness.
- Check the battery to be sure connections are tight and watch for signs of corrosion on the connections. If your battery is more than two years old, have a pro do a load test to be sure it’s holding a charge.
- Inspect all your tires, watching for uneven tread wear, which indicates the need for a wheel alignment. Look for bumps or bubbles on the tire walls. Also, check tire pressure to be sure it is at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.
- Check windshield wipers and blades to be sure they clear the window evenly. Refill the washer fluid and keep spare fluid in the car.
- Check all lights including rear and brake lights to be sure all bulbs are working. Wash grime and dust off all the lights to maximize visibility.
- Many car owners can do the steps listed above for themselves, but the following safety checks usually require a professional service technician.
- Check the brake system. This should include inspecting brake linings, rotors and drums. Inspect the exhaust system, checking for leaks, loose or broken hangars and supports. A leak in the exhaust system should be repaired immediately, to prevent carbon monoxide from the engine from getting into the passenger cabin, where it can be deadly. Check to be sure the air conditioning is functioning properly.
- The steering and suspension systems should also be checked.
Preventative Vehicle Maintenance
Springtime is a good time to schedule an overall tune-up to be sure the engine is running smoothly and efficiently. A poorly tuned engine can use more gas and puts more pollutants into the air.
Cottman suggests drivers check their owners manual to see what specific steps are recommended for spring care for their make or model car.