Anyone who has had to put their car in the shop for any length of time knows how important our vehicles are to our daily lives. Staying aware and on top of a few maintenance tasks can go a long way towards preventing trouble that could leave you sidelined. Here are a handful of tips to help you keep your car out of the repair shop, keep you safe, and prolong the life of your car.
Listen to Your Car
Do your brakes squeak? Some brake pads are manufactured with a metal indicator that is designed to rub against your rotor when the pad is worn out. If you notice a high-pitched squeal, it’s probably time to get your brakes looked at. Another sign of wear is that it takes longer for you to stop your vehicle. Also, if your steering wheel shakes like a leaf on a tree when you hit the brakes, it may mean you need new rotors (rotors are what the brake pads rub against to stop your car).
Mind Your Gauges and Indicators
If you pay attention to any of them, it’s probably your fuel gauge. Everyone knows that “E” stands for ‘empty.’ What you may not know is that allowing your car to get too low on fuel can be bad for the fuel pump. Gasoline actually acts as a coolant for the fuel pump so running low on gas can cause the fuel pump to heat up. This may potentially damage or ruin the pump.
Many cars have a low oil pressure light indicator, sometimes shaped like an old-school oil can. It can indicate that you are low on oil or you have a problem with the oil pump. Don’t ignore it!
Your temperature gauge tells you the temperature of your coolant. If you see this gauge start to rise, pull over immediately. Overheating can be very destructive to an engine. Consider getting your car looked at immediately if this occurs.
Check Your Lights
Check all of your lights one by one: Headlights, hi-beams, turn signals, and running lights. Turn them on one-by-one and get out of the car to check and see if they are working. To check brake lights and reverse lights, you’ll need a friend to tell you whether they are working. This will keep you safer and prevent collisions.
Check Your Hoses and Belts
Do a visual check of your hoses and belts. Hoses coming from the radiator carry the coolant that prevents your engine from overheating. Are they leaking? Cracked? They should feel firm and look healthy. Your belts should look healthy too, with no cracks or other flaws.
Replace Your Windshield Wipers
This is an easy one to put off until it’s too late. You don’t want to be on the interstate, sandwiched between two unsympathetic 18-wheelers during a torrential downpour, when you realize you need new wipers. This is an easy fix and it does much in the way of keeping you and other drivers safe.