Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Care for Your Vehicle Year Round

With every season change, it is common to perform different maintenance checks  to keep your house running well. You clean and store away your patio furniture in the fall. You check the fireplace to make sure it runs for cold winter nights. You spring clean and declutter your home to start anew in the spring. What steps can you take to take care of your vehicle so it runs just as well as your home year round? Stay on top of general and seasonal maintenance with the following tips:

General Care
Perform regularly scheduled maintenance and lubrication checks using the manufacturer's recommended care. No single step will help your engine last year-round more than regular oil and filter changes. Change out and refill all other fluids that are necessary with the recommended type and viscosity. Flush the cooling system and change coolant once a year to prevent corrosion and residue from building up. To keep the exterior surface of your car in good shape, wash it regularly and apply a coat of wax every six months. Inspect and clean your tires, brakes, and wheel bearings to prevent any potential damage. To protect the interior, keep your car free of excess trash and dust.  Considering keeping a trash bag and quick wipes to clean spills immediately. Wipe and vacuum down your seats and mats to keep your car clean and smelling nice. For specific part-by-part care, check out the Car Bible.

Seasonal Care
If you live in an area with extreme seasonal differences like the Midwest, you understand that both summer and winter can wreak havoc on your vehicle. As a car owner, you understand that your car needs different care depending on the season.

For spring and summer care, start by fixing all the damage the winter season has done to your car. Get a detailed car wash and wax to prevent rust and body damage. This will loosen any gunk that has accumulated on your car throughout the winter, both cleaning the underside of your car and possibly revealing any potential problems that escaped your attention through the season. If you have seasonal tire sets, switch back to your summer set for better fuel efficiency and a smoother journey.
To prepare for the deep heat of summer, service your air conditioning and perform a coolant check to protect your engine from heat. Remember, heat can do as much damage to a battery as frigid temps can. Check for signs that your battery needs to be looked over, like a bulging or cracked battery case or corrosion buildup on wire connections. Lastly, change your air filter. No doubt it has clogged up with various leaf and plant debris, dirt, sludge, and road salt. A dirty air filter will diminish the productivity of your car and lower your fuel efficiency by as much as 10%.

For autumn and winter months, you want to prepare your vehicle to handle snow, ice, and extreme temperatures. The quality of your tires and battery are especially essential this season. Switch to your winter tire set for better traction and check to see that your battery is up to quality. Check that your heating system and oil filter are running smoothly and that all of your fluid levels are sufficient. Especially important, check your brake system, shocks, and struts, and replace them sooner rather than later because you certainly don’t want to be stranded in a snowbank.

Much of your yearly and seasonal car maintenance is to keep your car running well for whatever trip or journey you choose to embark on, but regular car maintenance and care can prevent dangerous accidents and save you thousands of dollars in damage repair. Nothing will let you enjoy a last-minute road trip more than being able to set off in a beautiful, well-maintained car.