It’s the time of year again when the big tax refund checks are in the mail. With the average tax refund expected to be nearly $3,000, you might be thinking about splurging on something special. However, being practical with some of your refund might be a better choice, like preventative vehicle maintenance.
Car owners can actually save more money in auto repairs in the long run by routinely spending small amounts on preventative maintenance, including a thorough annual vehicle inspection. Following the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual is like insurance. By spending a small amount on auto care more regularly, you protect yourself from larger expenses later on.
With proper care, the typical vehicle should deliver at least 200,000 miles of safe, dependable performance. The most common routine maintenance procedures and repairs include checking the oil, filters and fluids, belts and hoses, brakes, tires and the HVAC system. The non-profit Car Care Council also recommends an annual tune-up and wheel alignment.
Routine car care will also help keep your vehicle running dependably and improve its fuel economy, so you can avoid unexpected car trouble and save more money at the pump.
Check the Headlights, Backlights, and Signals Don’t wait until you are on the road with headlights, backlights, or signals that don’t work to do something. Before your holiday road trip, take a look at all the lights and make sure they are working normally. It is also a wise idea to have someone help you see if any lights need replacement. Do this examination a few days before your trip so you’re not rushing at the last minute, but if you still have enough time (and it is recommended), take a look at the lights again the day of your trip.
Inspect the Tire Pressure Along with examining your headlights, backlights, and signals, you should inspect the tire pressure. A few days before your road trip, take a look if you see a flat tire or a tire that seems to be heading in that direction. If you have a flat tire, get it replaced fast. However, if you just have low tire pressure, then you have plenty of time to get it repaired; though, be sure to do so within a day or two and not at the last second before your trip. You can even go to one of the many gas stations out there that fill the air pressure for free. Then, check the tire pressure again right before you leave for your trip (as in the morning of). Many new cars have an awesome feature that tells drivers whether the car has low tire pressure, but even so, it doesn’t hurt to check for yourself. It’ll help you have a safe drive.
Keep Windshield and Windshield Wipers Clean This car care tip will come in very handy on your road trip. Car owners use windshield wipers not just to clear the glass from rain but to also clean the glass from fog and dirt. Most glares drivers experience while on the road occur due to a dirty windshield, and it is during those moments that drivers use their windshield wipers to wipe the dirt out of their view. Yet, if the wiper blades are themselves dirty, then it’s impossible to thoroughly clean the glass. As a result, be sure to have a clean windshield and clean wiper blades before your road trip. If the wipers are old and starting to make screeching noises, be sure to replace them.
Regularly Refill on Windshield Washer Fluid Another similar car care tip is to always refill on windshield washer fluid, especially before your holiday road trip, as you might need it when you’re in need of washing a dirty glass while you’re off to your destination.