SIMPLE STEPS TO AVOID NASTY SURPRISES
The old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is certainly true when it comes to car care. A little time spent on preventative maintenance is well worth the effort. Make sure to check all of the following this Fall season if you haven’t already.
Fluids you should regularly check:
Check the lever and wipe the dipstick with a clean cloth. If the oil looks like “gunk” or “sludge,” it is time for an oil change.
Power Steering Fluid
Check the level. Add if necessary.
Check the level. Add new fluid if necessary.
[MANUAL TRANSMISSION NOTE: A manual transmission should have the fluid checked while on a hoist or above a pit, by a professional.]
For an automatic transmission: Has your vehicle been hesitating it shift gears? This is often a sign that the transmission is telling you it needs more fluid. You might need the owner’s manual to help you locate the automatic transmission dipstick.
Let the vehicle run until the engine is warm to the touch. Leave it running while you check the transmission fluid. Pull the dipstick between your thumb and first finger. The transmission fluid should be clear pinkish. If it looks contaminated in any way, have it checked by a professional mechanic.
The transmission fluid should just reach the FULL mark on the dipstick. Be careful not to overfill.
Windshield Washer Reservoir
It is ideal to fill the reservoir with solvent specifically designed for windshield washers. Plain water may freeze when winter temperatures drop low.
Belts and hoses:
Make sure all belts and hoses are properly fitted. Check for leaks, cracking or signs of wear.
Clean and tighten connections. Felt anti-corrosion washers should be fitted on the battery terminals to help prevent corrosive accumulation. If you are having problems with starting, take the battery off the vehicle, have it charged, then wait at least one hour before checking it. It may be possible for the battery to take a charge, but be unable to hold the charge.
You should have your breaks checked by a professional technician.
Check the exhaust for signs of leakage and corrosion. Make sure muffler supports are in good shape.
Heating and Air Conditioning:
In southern states, some people remove and discard of the radiator thermostat. This means that, on a cold winter morning, the engine heats slowly. Since many heaters draw heat from the engine, dress warmly. Have your car checked by a professional if you are having issues with your car either heating or cooling.
Check your headlights, tail lights, brake lights and back up lights. Clean them to improve brightness.
It might be worth the time and cost to have a professional check the steering, suspension, springs, shocks, tie-rods and related parts once a year.
Check your tire pressure often, look for signs of uneven wears, and check tread depth. You can do this by inserting a penny into the tread groove with Lincoln’s head facing you and going “head first” into the groove. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it is time to replace your tires.
Replace worn wiper blades as weather changes can cause extra weather and tear to their quality.