Nothing gives drivers peace-of-mind quite like driving in an efficient and safe car. However, a vehicle can only run safely if it is checked often to catch any factors that could cause problems. At Santa Ana Auto Care, we understand that drivers want to keep their car in top condition, so we’ve complied a list of when to check certain areas of your vehicle for issues:
Check These Monthly:
Headlights and Taillights – The lights on your car are essential to safety, as they help other drivers see you when driving in the dark. Take some time to check them monthly to ensure they are bright and are not in need of replacement.
Tire Pressure – Proper tire pressure helps your vehicle drive more efficiently and can actually increase fuel economy. The easiest way to check tire pressure is by purchasing a tire pressure gauge. Simply remove the valve cap from each tire and secure your gauge on the valve stem. Once your gauge provides a reading, compare the number with the manufacturer’s recommended PSI and adjust as needed.
Condition of Interior – If the interior of your vehicle is cluttered, it can cause a distraction while driving. Every month, clean the interior and remove any soda cans or other trash that could roll around your feet as you drive.
Check These Every 3,000 Miles or 3 Months:
Oil and Fuel Filter – To keep your car running smoothly, an oil change is recommended every 3 months, or 3,000 miles. Use your car’s dipstick to easily check the oil level and color to determine if it’s time to bring your car in for a professional oil change. If the oil is a dark color, or the dipstick indicates that the oil level is reaching the minimum level, it’s time to visit your local auto shop.
Automatic Transmission Fluid – As your automatic transmission fluid circulates throughout your vehicle, it can pick up contaminants that can cause your automatic transmission to run below peak performance. An easy way to determine if it’s time for a fluid change is by paying close attention to the automatic transmission on your vehicle. If it’s noisy or shifts roughly, it may be time to bring your vehicle in.
Exhaust – Your vehicle’s exhaust system helps cool down the engine and ensures that harmful gases are not directed into the cabin. Every 3 months or 3,000 miles, give your exhaust system a visual inspect to check for leaks, holes, loose connections, and anything else that looks out-of-the-ordinary.
Check These Every 6,000 Miles or 6 Months:
Wiper Blades – Wiper blades that leave streaks on your windshield can reduce visibility and make it incredibly difficult to see the road ahead of you. The worst time to find out your windshield wipers need replacing is during a rainstorm, when you need them most. Check the condition of your wipers by looking for any cracks in the rubber or dull blades. These problems most likely mean the blades won’t work effectively to remove water and other debris from your windshield.
Spark Plugs – Your car’s spark plus are a crucial component to the motor. They provide the spark that ignites the fuel mixture and air in the cylinders to keep your car moving. An easy way to check for spark plug wear is by writing down your fuel economy. Every 6 months or 6,000 miles, compare your current fuel economy to what you previously wrote down. If there is a major difference, it may mean that you need to have your spark plugs changed by a trusted Houston automotive shop.
Belts & Hoses – Failing belts or hoses can be determinantal – causing problems such as an overheated engine or loss of the electrical charging system. Avoid these issues by inspecting the belts and the hoses for cracks or any brittle areas.
Check These Yearly:
Suspension – A properly functioning suspension can be the difference between avoiding an accident or being involved in one. The suspension keeps the wheels in contact with the road, so you can safely control your car. An easy way to check for suspension problems is by visually assessing if your car is sitting level when parked. If one side of your car sits higher than the other, it may be time to have your suspension looked at by an automotive shop.
Brakes – Braking power can be significantly impacted if there are undiagnosed issues. To ensure you catch any issues before they become severe, have your brake system inspected yearly by a professional auto mechanic. They will be able to alert you of and address any current issues, or anything that may become an issue in the future.
A properly running car not only keeps you safe, it also helps you save money by avoiding the need for costly repairs. Checking for vehicle problems at these intervals is an easy way to ensure your car will run at its best for years to come. To keep your car in top condition, give Santa Ana Auto Care a call at (713) 956-1145. We’re a leading auto shop in Houston, Texas.