In a perfect world, our vehicles would operate
at peak performance with little oversight or care required by motorists. But as
it is, our vehicles require a lot of regular attention to
things like tires, brakes, fluids, filters, and other aspects in order to
remain a safe vessel on which we can depend for everyday transportation.
It can be easy to take your vehicle for
granted; you may think if it starts and runs, what else is there to do? But
there are a lot of moving parts that work together to make your vehicle run,
and in order to maintain your vehicle’s longevity and decrease the chance of
breakdowns or accidents, there are certain maintenance tasks you have to do on a regular
basis. Continue reading to learn about different maintenance tips that you
should know as a vehicle owner.
and Rotate Your Tires
One of the most common issues motorists face
on the roads is having a flat tire. Flat tires can be caused by a
number of things, some of which cannot be avoided, but you can put yourself in
a position where they are less likely to occur by paying regular attention to
your tires. Regular tire check-ups with your dealership or mechanic are the
best option, but that may not always be possible.
On a frequent basis before driving your
vehicle, have a walk around to look at your tires. When evaluating your tires,
the first thing you can check is tire pressure. It can be obvious to see when a
tire pressure is low but consider using a tire pressure gauge if you are unsure
where they stand. Many car manufacturers recommend a pressure of 32 to 35 psi.
The next thing you can check is your tire tread. Take a penny and place it with
Abraham Lincoln’s head facing downwards in your tire tread. If the top of
Lincoln’s head disappears in the tread, your tires have more than 2/32 of an
inch of tread left and you don’t need to replace them. But if Lincoln’s head is
still visible, it means your tread is worn beyond a safe level: it’s time for
some new tires.
When you drive, your tires’ tread will wear over time
from the friction on the ground. You should rotate your tires about every 5,000
miles – which for some people is about how often they get an oil change – to
promote consistent wear. It’s important that all four of your tires have
consistent wear to maintain traction on the road. Consider having your tire
rotation done at the same time as your oil change so that you don’t forget.
Engine oil is like the bloodline of your
vehicle. It keeps your engine lubricated despite all the closely grinding parts
and heat that is created as a by-product of getting your vehicle to move and
keeping it moving.
Without oil, your engine will eventually fail.
It’s a good idea to keep regularly scheduled appointments with your dealership or mechanic to perform your oil
changes, but you can keep an eye on it at home if you know how to check your
To check your oil, make sure your engine is
off before opening the hood of your vehicle and looking for the dipstick. Pull
the dipstick out, wipe it clean of any oil, and look at the end for a line
indicating what your oil level should be. Reinsert the dipstick and pull it out
again to see your oil level; if it is below the notch, it’s time for some new
oil. The color you want your engine oil to be is an amber, or close to yellow.
If it’s a dark color and gritty to the touch, it may be time for an oil change.
It may seem harmless to procrastinate your oil
changes a little bit but understand that the health of your vehicle’s motor –
and thus, your vehicle’s ability to function – is at stake. Staying on top of
oil changes is one of the most fundamental maintenance steps a vehicle owner should take.
In addition to engine oil, there are other
fluids that play important roles in the functioning of your vehicle and must be
maintained accordingly. Transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid,
engine coolant, and windshield washer fluid all play integral parts in getting
and keeping your vehicle moving safely.
The location of these fluids under the hood
depends on the vehicle, so get to know the ins and outs of your vehicle
including the locations of these reservoirs so that you can keep an eye on them
and be prepared in a pinch.
Transmission fluid is used in vehicles with
both automatic and manual transmissions. This fluid is changed in intervals and
can last anywhere between 30,000 and 100,000 miles, depending on the kind of
fluid and transmission. Transmission fluid is needed for any transmission to
Brake fluid, as its name suggests, is
imperative to the functionality of your brakes. Brake fluid is used to amplify
the effect of your foot depressing the brake, which allows you to stop. Brake
fluid should be clear and plentiful in your reservoir. It’s usually changed
about every three years.
Power steering fluid, like brake fluid, is
used to amplify the effect of the vehicle’s steering. Without power steering
fluid, turning a vehicle’s wheel can be very difficult as the weight of the
vehicle pins your wheels to the ground. This fluid should be bright red and is
changed about every two years.
Engine coolant, or antifreeze, is used to
regulate the temperature of your vehicle. In colder times, engine coolant
prevents fluids from freezing, which could cause damage. In warmer times and
while the engine is running, coolant prevents overheating. Engine coolant is
usually changed about every two years.
Windshield washer fluid may not seem as
pressing to keep up on as the previously mentioned fluids, but having it in
your vehicle at all times is necessary to maintain a clear view of the road
ahead. Keep an eye on your washer fluid level and replenish it as necessary.
Your Car Insurance
Another thing to add to your checklist is to
regularly review your car insurance policy. There are several
recurring tasks when it comes to owning a vehicle, and it can be easy to forget
some of the less hands-on duties while trying to keep up with them all. Reviewing
your car insurance can help you ensure your coverage is up to date and save you
money and a headache if you have to make a claim.
New York State requires certain auto insurance
coverages, such as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Bodily Injury Liability,
Property Damage Liability, and Statutory Uninsured Motorist coverage, and
depending on your vehicle and personal circumstances, you may wish to purchase additional
Communicate with your agent and
research available coverages so that you can make sure the
policies you purchase are appropriate for your situation.
Are you looking to add certain coverage to
your vehicle? Contact an agent by clicking the button below today!