April National Car Care Month Maintenance Tips
April is National Car Care Month, so now's the time to spend a little time and money on some simple maintenance jobs, and it will save you big money and hassle all year.
Check your tires: Even if your car has a tire-pressure monitor, it is a good idea to check your tire pressure once a month. Under-inflated tires, even a few pounds that won’t trigger your dashboard monitor, will cause premature wear and harm fuel economy.
Check wiper blades: Look for fraying on your blades. Even if you don’t see fraying, change the blades anyway if it has been a year since your last new set. The time for blades to fail is when they are in use–when it’s raining. So, head that problem off before it happens. If a wiper blade fails when you need it, it can scratch your windshield, bringing a big unexpected bill.
Wash your car top to bottom: If you live in a state that salts the roads after a snow, or have driven through one, go to a car wash where they wash the under-carriage of the car. Get all that road salt off your valuable bits and parts that can get prematurely corroded if you don’t take care of it.
Check all fluids: You can have your mechanic or oil-change shop do this for you, but it’s good to know how and when to check the fluids yourself. Checking oil is routine. For the most accurate read, check it while the engine is idle and cold. You should also check the transmission fluid (it should be full and red in color, and it gets checked when the engine is running). Check coolant, making sure it is up to the “full-line.” Check the brake fluid reservoir in your engine compartment, making sure it is full and golden in color. Make sure your power-steering fluid reservoir is full.
Check brakes: Good brake pads can save your life. If you hear a metal scraping sound when you brake, you probably need new pads. Oftentimes, you can inspect them through the wheel covers. If the pads look like they are less than ¼ inch, replace them. If you aren’t sure, have them inspected by your mechanic or dealer. If you let them go too long, you will wear your rotors and they will either have to be turned or replaced. And that’s a much bigger bill.