Times are tougher and guys are holding on to their cars longer. Which means performing preventative maintenance to keep it running problem free as long as possible. Let someone else put your mechanic's kids through college.
And keeping your ride in top shape means not only less money spent on repairs, it means better efficiency and less money spent on gas. Saving you money in the long run. So NAPA Auto Parts and AAA partnered on a study to uncover the most common preventive maintenance problems. Stuff you should be doing yourself on a regular basis to keep your baby running smoothly.
And with your car about to take a beating from extreme winter weather, now is the best time to give her some preventive love. Here are the top five areas NAPA and AAA recommend you stay on top of:
Most often ignored are dirty air filters, the red-headed step child of preventive maintenance. Changing the air filter when your owner’s manual recommends, will keep clean air flowing to the engine for improved engine efficiency, which gets you improved fuel mileage and engine power.
Low Tire Pressure
Tires, like balloons, don't hold air forever. Check your tire pressure at least once a month to make sure tires are not under or over-inflated. (Look in your owner's manual, or in the driver's door well, for recommended levels.) Low pressure in the tires can increase wear and fuel consumption. Having too much pressure can reduce traction, important for keeping it between the ditches while driving in winter. Keeping tires properly aligned will also help ensure longer tire life and improve fuel economy.
Worn Wiper Blades
Rigid, cracked or torn wiper blades can greatly reduce visibility when driving in rain and snow, and greatly increase your chance of smacking into something. Which is a helluva lot more expensive to fix than buying a pair of blades. Check and replace once a year, sooner if you see streaking.
Low or Old Engine Oil
Old and dirty oil reduces engine protection and increases engine wear, while low oil levels can lead to overheating. If the oil level drops too low, lubrication will be lost (we all know how painful that can be), and severe engine damage can result. Regular oil changes (based on the schedule suggested in the owner’s manual) will add longevity to the engine.
Old Transmission Fluid
Nothing is worse than an old, rough tranny. (Ask Eddie Murphy or Dave Navarro
.) Changing automatic transmission fluid at the recommended intervals will keep your ride shifting smoothly and extend the life of the transmission. Going to a technician with a transmission flusher will help save you from the large expense of a new tranny.
Other common problem areas found during the AAA clinics included checking your antifreeze (for a minimum of -25 Fahrenheit), engine coolant, washer fluid, tire tread (for a minimum depth 3/32") and brake fluid.
Stay on top of these areas and you'll keep your ride on the road and out of your mechanic's hands. For more info, head to www.NAPAAutoCare.com