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February 13, 2014

Essential Maintenance On Your Auto

Tips to Keep Your Auto in Optimum Condition

Buying a vehicle is a major purchase, so you want to take good care of it. Too often, people put off general maintenance, which can lead to major problems later. The best way to protect your investment and keep your car running smoothly is to perform the following essential maintenance on your auto.

Brakes
Keep an eye on your brake fluid level and the condition of your brake pads. At least every two years or 24,000 miles, you want to have a professional check your brake fluid and your brake pads.

Tires
Tread depth and patterns of wear are both important to monitor. An easy trick to determine tread depth is to stick a penny upside down in the groove. If you see the top of the president’s head, it is time to replace the tires. Tires usually have a life of six to ten years. Wear patterns can give insight on inflation. If the center treads are worn, your tires are overinflated. If the treads on the edges are worn, your tires are under inflated. Tire inflation also affects fuel economy, so it is very important to monitor! If your tires are worn on one side, you need a wheel alignment. If your tires have sporadic bald spots, you need shocks or to have your wheels balanced. Also, you want to get your tires rotated every 5,000 miles.

Battery
Batteries generally need to be replaced every 48 to 60 months. It is always better to replace a battery before it goes out. Cold weather is extremely hard on a battery. If your battery is not at an adequate level, your car might not start.

Spark Plugs
Maintaining your spark plugs leads to better gas mileage. Depending on the vehicle, you will need to replace your spark plugs and wires every 30,000 to 100,000 miles. This service is called a tune-up.

Engine Oil
Your car’s oil should be checked monthly to make sure there is enough and it is not dirty or smells like gasoline. Because oil can appear dirty a few days after an oil change, you want to keep a record of the number of miles you have traveled since your last oil change. You want to get an oil change every 1000 to 7500 miles. The age of your car, type of oil used and operating conditions are all factors in determining how many miles you should go between oil changes. Over the long term, if you do not get regular tune-ups and oil changes, you can adversely affect the life of your engine.

Warning Lights
The dashboard warning lights are important indicators of vehicle condition. If you see any warning lights come on, you want to take your car in for service as soon as possible. This will avoid a small problem becoming a large hassle.

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