ad collaborative // Keeping your car in good condition will go a long way in reducing your driving risks. Getting your oil changed means that you won’t have to worry about an accident caused by your car seizing up in traffic. And, maintaining proper tire pressure ensures that you aren’t risking a blow out and possible collision.
Obtaining affordable car insurance that fits your lifestyle is also a great step toward lowering driving risks and saving money!
Weather impacts vehicles, just as the seasons do. Extreme temperatures and precipitation take their toll on tires, wiper blades, the engine, and more. It’s equally as important to stay on top of maintenance in the summer as it is in the winter, and you should aim to make a visual check of the vehicle each time you go out.
When you think about it, vehicle lights are a huge factor in keeping you safe both during the day and night. Blinkers, brake lights, and headlights on during rainfall are all essential. Get into the habit of checking all of your lights, interior and exterior, to be certain they haven’t blown and need replacing. Even a broken blinker bulb will create a hazard for you and other drivers. Ask a friend or family member to help you test all of the lights.
A slow leak in a tire may be hard to spot, and you definitely don’t want to find yourself with a flat right before you leave for work. Use a tire pressure gauge regularly to check that the tires are properly inflated. Get to know where your local air pump is, and keep a healthy stock of quarters in the car to feed it (if required).
Tire tread is also an issue. Worn tread will increase the possibility of skidding and hydroplaning, as well as making tires more susceptible to blowouts. Do the penny test to make sure the ribs are deep enough to grip the road properly.
Not much will stop you in your tracks more than a dead battery. Your car might give you some signs that the battery is failing before it actually does. These symptoms include a clicking sound when you turn the key, dim headlights, backfiring, and needing to press the gas pedal to start the car. Ask your mechanic to check the battery voltage and to make sure the terminals are clean.
Belts & Hoses
A car is a complex array of moving belts and hoses that keep it chugging along. If a hose comes lose or a belt breaks, you could easily find yourself on the side of the road waiting for assistance. You can make a visual check for cracks in belts. Regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance is also a great idea, so you have a general idea when the various belts and hoses should be replaced.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the windshield wipers. Visibility is a key component to safe driving, and if a wiper is cracked or broken, you’ll want to replace it immediately. Avoid using your wipers to clear the windshield of snow and ice, as they aren’t durable enough for that. And, since they are exposed to the elements, they crack and become brittle over time, so make regular visual checks.
When people think about the fluid in their car, they often think only of the oil. While oil is (obviously) ultra-important, it isn’t the only fluid that can and should be checked. If you’re not sure, reference the vehicle’s user manual, and learn how to check the antifreeze, transmission, and brake fluid. Get into the habit of visually inspecting the area where you park your car for leaks and stains.
Check Engine Light
The dreaded of all dashboard lights, the check engine light can be something relatively simple like a loose fuel cap or terribly painful, like the death of the engine. Either way, it’s difficult to self-diagnose, so take it to your mechanic as soon as you can. Putting it off will only add stress to your life (and your car) and could end up being unnecessarily costly.
It would be wonderful if brake pads lasted forever but the truth is, every time you brake they wear down just a little bit. Keep in mind when they were last replaced, and listen to them (turn the music off) to be sure you don’t hear squealing or, even worse, grinding.
Safe driving is twofold. It consists of knowing the rules of the road and following them, and keeping your car in good working condition. Regularly checking your vehicle for the various signs of wear and tear will keep your costs low and your stress at a minimum.