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5 Essential Auto Repair Maintenance Tips for Long-Term Vehicle Health

 

Any vehicle change should be investigated immediately, whether it’s the check engine light or strange sounds or smells. Future costly repairs could result from ignoring these warning indicators. Squeaking brakes must be addressed immediately; low fluid levels require an immediate refill. Even the serpentine belt, which keeps everything running smoothly, should be visually inspected for cracks and wear.

Schedule an Inspection

Catching issues early on is the key to avoiding expensive repairs later on. If that check engine light turns on or your car starts making an unfamiliar rattle, schedule a health inspection immediately. An oil change is necessary, but a full inspection should also be conducted. A technician from a Vancouver car shop can find a leak or worn belt before it becomes a bigger problem.

In addition, you should also have your wiper blades inspected seasonally and replaced when needed. Worn wiper blades are a safety hazard and can decrease your driving visibility. Your technician can also inspect your vehicle’s rubber serpentine belt, which powers devices like the alternator and power steering pump, and ensure all hoses are intact and not leaking.

Change Your Oil

If you skip your oil changes, your engine will overheat and experience excessive wear and tear. Clean oil lubricates the machine and reduces friction, helping the components last longer. Your owner’s manual should indicate how often to change your oil and recommend the fluid type for your vehicle. You can check your oil level on a dipstick, and some cars also have built-in service minder sensors that alert you when it’s time for an oil change. When your car vibrates or shakes, it’s a sign of an issue with one or more components. Nipping these problems in the bud helps you avoid more costly repairs. Regularly inspecting your windshield wipers and tires is also a good idea.

Check Your Tires

The tires are another vehicle part that often needs to be addressed. It can cause the tire to deteriorate, leading to flat tires or unnecessarily replacing them and decreasing gas mileage and overall comfort. Regularly monitoring your tires is the best way to keep them in good condition. It means checking for signs of low tread, checking the air pressure in them, and rotating them regularly. If you notice uneven wear, it could mean they are under-inflated or need to be rotated, or the wheel’s alignment needs adjusting. The DOT (Department of Transportation) number on the sidewall can help you determine when your tires need to be replaced. The penny test is another helpful tool. Place a penny inside your tire’s tread; if you can see Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.

Check Your Brakes

Your brake pads and discs can wear down over time, especially if you’re driving in traffic often or tend to slam on the brakes. It’s essential to know how your braking system functions and have it checked out when something feels off. When you hit the brakes, a squealing noise or a slight vibration are usually early warning signs that your brake pads are getting worn down, but if you hear a growling sound when braking, it’s likely time to replace them. You can also look at your brake pad thickness by examining the wheels, and if they are noticeably thinner than a quarter of an inch, it’s time to change them. A brake fluid flush is a great idea at this point, as well.

Check Your Lights

Your car’s lights are vital for visibility and safety, especially in the dark. Burned-out headlights put you at risk on the road and can also cause you to get pulled over for a traffic violation. Regularly checking your headlights will ensure that they still provide a sufficient illumination level. You should inspect your light bulbs, fuses, and wiring at least once a month and replace them as needed. It’s a good idea to perform this inspection while the car is parked on a level surface and with the engine off. Also, ensure the tires are correctly inflated, as this can significantly increase fuel efficiency and help you save money on gas.

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