As we close out 2021 and head into 2022, it is around the time that people make New Year’s Resolutions. If this is you, you may want to consider adding routine car maintenance into your resolutions for the new year. Car maintenance is crucial to keeping your car in good working order. Here is when you should take your car maintenance and what you should look for during that time.
Once a month, you should be checking your oil and coolant levels, tire pressure and tread depth, and your headlights, turn signals, and brake lights. By checking all of these roughly every thirty days, you will have the knowledge that your car is safe. Additionally, if you find something out of order, you can take it in as soon as possible.
Oil and Coolant Levels
To check your oil and coolant levels, you’ll want to open the hood of your car and look at both the oil and coolant levels while your engine is cool. Your driver’s manual will be able to tell you where to find them, how to check them, and how to replace them.
Tire Pressure and Tread Depth
Checking your tire pressure and tread depth is essential to ensuring that your driving is safe and fuel-efficient. Checking the pressure of your tires is relatively easy with a tire pressure gauge. Buying a tire pressure gauge is relatively cheap, or you can check your pressure at a gas station. Your owner’s manual will be able to tell you how much air pressure you should have in your tires. To check your tread depth, you can use the penny method.
Headlights, Turn Signals, and Brake Lights
To stay safe on the road, you’ll need to make sure that all of your lights are operational. To check your lights, park on a flat surface and turn your lights on. Then, walk around your car to ensure that your lights are working as they should. You’ll also want to engage your turn signals to see if they’re working correctly. While you’re parked, you should grab a friend or family member and have them stand behind the car while you brake to ensure that your brake lights are working correctly.
Every 3 to 6 Months
Every three months, you will need to check your oil and oil filter and rotate your tires. Checking these will help slow down wear and tear on your vehicle to ensure that you don’t have to take your car in very often. Then, around every six months, you will want to take your vehicle in to get waxed so that the paint stays in good shape.
Oil & Filter
The oil in your car has a lot of purposes: it acts as a sealant against debris, prevents engine corrosion, reduces wear and tear, lubricates moving parts, and cools the engine. That’s why it is essential to make sure that your oil is clean. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, you may need to change the oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles. However, newer cars can go anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 miles without an oil change. The best way to guarantee the health of your oil and oil filter is to consult your owner’s manual and to check with a professional.
Yes, your tires do rotate every time you drive. However, rotating your tires in the maintenance world means putting your tires in a different position on your car. Rotating them helps to extend the life of your tires because it can balance out the wear and tear on the tread of your tires. The rotation will also prevent extra noise and vibration from coming through to the cabin of your car.
You should get your car washed regularly, and every six months, you should take your vehicle to get waxed. While this isn’t necessary to the way your car runs, it will help you later down the road if you decide to sell your vehicle for any reason. Waxing your car will keep it shiny, preserve the paint, and reduce the chance of rust.
Once a Year or Seasonally
These are some types of maintenance that you can do once a year or if the temperatures around you change drastically. You should be changing your windshield wipers every year and checking your battery performance and coolant levels if winters are freezing. While we may have a warmer winter this year, it is still healthy to check these items when the weather dips below freezing.
Change Windshield Wipers
The effectiveness of windshield wipers decreases throughout the year, so you will need to replace them annually or if you notice that they are no longer effective. It may be time to check your windshield wipers if you hear a squeaking sound when you use them or if they don’t do a good job of keeping your windshield clear when in use. Changing them is relatively easy, and you can find the parts at any automotive shop.
Your car’s battery is what allows your vehicle to start and drive. Extreme temperatures can affect the electrical current required, so you should check your battery’s performance before inclement weather and throughout the season. If you are not familiar with car batteries, this may not be easy to check. It may be best to check with an automotive professional.
During the colder months, you will need to ensure that your antifreeze levels are where they should be. Checking your antifreeze is crucial because it will keep your radiator and other parts of your engine from freezing. In general, you can use a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. Still, we recommend that you check your owner’s manual or with a professional.
Recommendations by Vehicle Manufacturer
Sometimes, maintenance doesn’t fall on a strict schedule. That’s why it is essential to regularly check your owner’s manual to ensure that your car is running as it should. If you find that your manual doesn’t contain all the information you need, you can check with the manufacturer of your vehicle.
This fluid is similar to how oil affects the engine, except it keeps the transmission’s moving parts working correctly. No matter the type of transmission you drive, you should have your transmission fluid checked or changed according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
This part of your car ignites the gas and air mixture to make your car move. If your spark plugs aren’t functioning correctly, your engine’s power will decrease, and it won’t run at its optimal capacity. Check your owner’s manual to see how often your vehicle manufacturer recommends you replace them.
Exchanged Coolant Fluid
Your car’s radiator is what keeps your engine from overheating. For your radiator to function, you need coolant fluid. You will want to flush or exchange the coolant fluid regularly to ensure there isn’t a buildup of contaminants. Checking in will also ensure that your radiator is working properly. Your manual should have how often you should exchange your coolant.
Shocks and Struts
This part of your car controls the impact of your vehicle as you cross speed bumps, potholes, or any other bump in the road. At about every 50,000 miles, you should take your car in to have your shocks and struts checked by a professional. Changing your shocks and struts will maintain the smoothness of your drive and prevent any loss of control.
Maintenance is Essential
Keeping your car in good working order is key to ensuring that your drive is safe and efficient. If you’d like more information on how to maintain your vehicle, you can find more information from your vehicle’s manufacturer.
It’s also vital to keep an eye out for any vehicle recalls from your car’s manufacturer. However, if you are injured in a car crash due to any failures of your car, make sure to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the car accident attorneys at Greathouse Trial Law are here to help. We want to partner with you on your claim and negotiate with your insurance company to get a settlement that will meet your needs.
Contact us today at (678) 310-2827 or complete our online form for your free case evaluation. Our personal injury law firm aims to serve the great people of Atlanta and to give a voice to the voiceless.
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