According to studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of 45,000 vehicle accidents happen every year due to some form of malfunction. Many of these accidents can be traced back to poor car maintenance.
For many car owners, maintaining their vehicles has become almost second nature. However, some still tend to overlook certain auto maintenance tasks that are important. Left ignored, these vital car care tasks may lead to expensive car repairs and even accidents.
In this article, we’ll share four important tasks that you must never forget and should always be part of your maintenance schedule and checklist:
Check the Brake Fluids
Your vehicle’s brake system is its most important safety mechanism. Any issues concerning the brakes can be serious and dangerous. One of the first things you need to check is the current level of the brake fluid.
The brake fluid reservoir should be somewhere in the engine compartment. Most modern cars have a translucent reservoir with a “FULL” marker on the outside. If you see that the brake fluid is below the marker, it’s time to replace the fluid.
Other cars have a metal reservoir with a cap that needs to be removed manually. To check the level, remove the cap and peek inside. There should also be a marked “FULL” sign inside. If it’s below the marker, you should get it flushed.
For specific instructions on locating the reservoir and checking the fluid levels, always read the owner’s manual first.
Check the Power Steering Fluid and Transmission Fluid
Your car’s transmission and power steering system help you drive safely by increasing your control over your car. If they are not working properly, you could lose that control at the worst possible moment. Therefore, it’s important not to ignore these two.
Like all essential car fluids, both power steering and transmission fluids are found in a reservoir. Check the owner’s manual for their exact location. They should also come with a dipstick with markers indicating the minimum and maximum.
Open the reservoir, insert the dipstick, and pull it out after a few seconds. If the level shown in the dipstick is near or below the minimum marker, it’s time to get the fluids changed.
You can also place some of the fluid on a white rag or paper towel to check the quality of the oil. If the fluid looks dark, this is a sign of wear and should be replaced with new ones.
Check the Air Filter
Air filters are probably the most overlooked component of your vehicle. Unfortunately, many vehicle owners simply don’t see them as something vital.
Your car has two major air filters:
- Engine Air Filter: This filter is located in the vehicle's front and helps prevent dust or debris from entering the engine. Dirty or clogged engine air filters can affect the engine's performance and may cause cooling system problems like overheating.
- Cabin Air Filter: This filter helps improve the air quality inside the car. Dirty cabin filters cause bad odor to come out of the car’s AC system. It also causes bacteria and mold buildup, which can trigger allergic reactions to you or a passenger.
The exact location of these filters can vary depending on the make and model of your car, so check the owner’s manual for specific instructions. These filters are generally replaced every 50,000 miles.
Check the Car Battery
If you’re experiencing electronic or lighting problems with your car, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace the battery. Sometimes, you just need to check and clean the battery terminal.
After turning off your car for at least 15 minutes, open the trunk and remove the car battery. Mix a glass of water and a teaspoon of baking soda. Using a bristled brush or an old toothbrush, apply the solution to the battery terminals. This should effectively remove any signs of corrosion.
After scrubbing the terminals, rinse them with clean water and let them dry before placing the battery back. This cleaning task can be done regularly and not just after experiencing any issues.
Check these vehicle maintenance steps the next time you check your car and ensure that no task will be overlooked. Proper maintenance of your vehicle not only keeps you safe on the road but also makes sure your car is in good shape and will serve you longer.
Auto Works of Brandon offers professional and comprehensive vehicle inspection services. If you want to know the current condition of your car, contact us today. Our team will do a thorough checkup and provide advice on how to maintain your car.