For a lot of us, as long as we put our key in the ignition and the car turns over, we assume our vehicle is running just fine. Keeping the gas tank full and getting a 3000-mile oil change are top of mind concerns, but there are plenty of other regular maintenance checks to keep up with to make sure your vehicle is running in top condition. Here are a few things to keep an eye on, and an Idea of how often to check them.
Lights – A broken taillight can mean a ticket and makes stop-and-go traffic that much more hazardous.
Tire Inflation and Condition – Underinflated tires and tires with poor tread can decrease fuel economy and make for bad handling, especially in poor weather conditions
Windshield Washer Fluid – Bottles run about $4, which is a small price to pay for good visibility behind the wheel.
Check Every 3 Months/3,000 Miles
Engine Oil – This is the one most people remember, and your engine thanks you. Keep it up to maintain its health and increase its longevity.
Automatic Transmission Fluid – With an automatic transmission, shifting gears is out of sight, out of mind. Keep it that way by checking on your Automatic Transmission Fluid levels.
Engine Air Filter – Imagine trying to go for a run with bad asthma – that’s your engine with a clogged air filter.
Power Steering Fluid – Being able to work your steering wheel tends to be a pretty important part of driving. Keep your power steering fluid levels in check and keep making u-turns with ease.
Check Every 6 Months/6,000 Miles
Chassis Lubrication – Minimize wear in the frame of your vehicle and keep mountings for suspension springs, shocks or struts and steering arms in top condition.
Wiper Blades – You don’t want to wait until you’re in bad weather to find out yours need to be replaced.
Belts – Without belts, the battery won’t get charged and none of the electrical accessory components in the car will work. Keep an eye out for cracks and wear, and if you hear squealing under the hood: It’s time for a replacement.
Check every 12 Months/ 12,000 miles
Cabin Air Filter – The cabin air filter catches dust, pollen and more to make sure that the AC and heat pumping into your vehicle are as clean as can be.
Coolant (Antifreeze) – Keep your engine from overheating and yourself off the side of the road with a quick check and refill of coolant.
Steering, Suspension & Alignment – Help eliminate premature tire wear, keep your ride running properly and save yourself the hassle of full part replacements by keeping an eye on these three components.
This may sound like quite a bit to keep up with, but there are helpful apps like Road Trip and Car Maintenance Reminder to help you keep track of what you need to get done and when. Plus, a lot of these are simple checks with simple fixes you can do yourself. The important thing is to make sure that they get done. Hectic schedules and cost are common reasons regular maintenance falls by the wayside. Just keep in mind: Your hectic schedule would be much more difficult to keep up with without a functioning car, and preventative care costs are still a lot cheaper than major maintenance skipping it might cause. An oil change is a bargain compared to a new engine. Keeping up with the little things will keep you safer behind the wheel. Of course, accidents still happen, and no matter what, Caliber is here to restore the rhythm of your life.