It’s back-to-school time! Right now, parents and students everywhere are busily buying school supplies and new clothes, attending parent-teacher events, heading off to college or planning after-school activities. During this busy season of the year, it can be easy to overlook the importance of caring for your car. Yet your vehicle is essential for good travel to and from school, activities and more. Don’t risk your family’s safe travels! Use our handy checklist of ways to safety-proof your back-to-school ride.
1. Oil Change
One of the best ways to ensure the health of your car is to have the oil changed regularly, which keeps your engine parts lubricated and prevents overheating or the buildup of gunk, which can damage your engine. Check your maintenance records to see when you had your last oil change. Remember, oil should be changed every 3,000 to 6,000 miles, or every 3 months, depending on the conditions in which you typically drive.
2. Windshield Wiper Replacement
Windshield wipers and fluid are simple to care for, yet they often get overlooked. Functioning wipers keep your windshield clear of rain, snow and debris, making it easier to see the road in poor weather. Back-to-school season is a good time to replace your wipers and top off the windshield wiper fluid reservoir. You will know wipers need replacement when they don’t clear your windshield of water easily, leave lots of streaks or smears, show signs of dry rot or have nicks in the rubber.
3. Tire Rotation and Wheel Alignment
Proper care of your tires will give you a comfortable, safe ride on the roads, enhancing handling and prolonging the life of your tires. You can check tread wear easily by examining your tires for damage. Insert a penny into the tread grooves on all four tires — if any part of Abe Lincoln’s head is obscured, you have enough tread. If not, it’s time for new tires. Also, remember to set the tire pressure as recommended in your owner’s manual. And if you haven’t had a tire rotation recently, have it done now. The mechanics will align your wheels too.
4. Headlights and Brake Lights
Periodically, you should inspect your car’s front and rear lights, which help you see better as you drive and also help other drivers see you. Turn on your headlights to be sure all the bulbs, front and back, are working. Don’t forget to test blinkers and hazard lights too.
5. Battery and Electrical Systems
The ups and downs of weather temperatures during summer and fall can wreak havoc with your car’s battery. At every oil change, have your battery tested. Inspect the cable connections and clear any areas of corrosion or dirt that may have collected on or near the battery.
6. Belts, Hoses and Filters
For your car to function at its best, all engine parts must be in good working order. And that includes the many belts and hoses in your engine, as well as oil and air filters. All of these parts should be inspected regularly to look for wear and tear. If belts or hoses look worn or are loose, they should be repaired or replaced. The oil filter should be replaced whenever you have an oil change. And air filters should be replaced on a regular basis too.
7. Fluids, Leaks and Other Issues
In addition to oil, your car’s engine has a variety of other fluids that help its moving parts stay in good shape. All fluid levels should be checked at every oil change. If the fluids are dirty or low, it may be time to change them. Fluid leaks, indicated by wet spots or stains under your car after it has been parked for a while, should be repaired. And if you have any warning lights illuminated on your dashboard, this is the time to have them checked out.
The Garage Auto Repair Is Here to Help You!
Whether you’re in need of urgent car repairs, or it’s simply time for your car to have a tune-up or oil change, the friendly team at The Garage is ready to assist you. We offer a full range of services that will get your vehicle in excellent shape for safe driving just in time for back-to-school activities, or at any other time of the year that you may need us. Contact us today at (918) 806-2709, or schedule an appointment online.