With spring break just around the corner, it’s a good time to start thinking about making sure your vehicle is in tip top shape so that you’re travel plans aren’t disrupted. Here are a few tips to keep your vacation from “going south”:
· Remove clutter from your car. Vacuum the carpeting; Windex the windows; wipe the headlights with a soft, damp rag. Wash and wax your vehicle to remove winter salt and grime and protect the finish.
· Cooling system (radiator): flush and refill according to the service manual’s instructions. The level, condition and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. Important — first let the engine cool down before removing the radiator cap.
· Skipping oil changes can greatly reduce your vehicle’s life. Change the oil and oil filter as specified in your owner’s manual. Be sure to properly dispose of used oil. Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended in your service manual.
· Check your tires, including the spare. Let them cool down before checking their pressure. Uneven wear, cupping, vibrations or pulling to one side indicates problems with your tires or suspension system.
· For safety and convenience, inspect all lights and bulbs, and replace any that are burned out.
· Replace worn wiper blades and always have plenty of washer solvent on-hand to combat summer’s dust and insects.
· Read your owner’s manual and follow recommended service schedules for your specific vehicle.
· Check the tightness and condition of belts, clamps, and hoses. Worn, glazed or frayed belts should be replaced, as should bulging, rotten or brittle hoses. Clamps should be tightened.
· Anything that is worn or damaged should be replaced to prevent sudden breakdowns.
· If your air conditioner system is faulty, have it checked. Cooling inefficiency could be the result of a lack of air flow across the condenser. Have your mechanic make sure the electric cooling fan motor near the condenser is coming on. In fan blade models, the fan should turn very fast. Also have your mechanic check the Freon level and pressure. Air conditioners on older vehicles often contain ozone-depleting chemicals that could be released into the air if the system isn’t working properly.
· If your engine is experiencing hard starts, rough idling, or stalling, have it fixed. Often times, the trouble stems from basic things like worn spark plugs, a dirty air filter, or bad ignition wires, but if you’re not mechanically inclined whatsoever, it’s best to go straight to a professional. (Taking care of little things early will likely improve your gasoline mileage and prevent minor problems from becoming expensive repairs later on.
· Don’t neglect your transmission. A manual transmission does not usually experience trouble, except for the clutch, which can be problematic if improperly adjusted or abused. A common problem with automatics is fluid breakdown from overheating. Fluid and filter changes every 24,000 miles can avoid premature transmission failure but few people heed such advice.
If you need a “Spring Cleaning”, just set an appointment today! We’ll be glad to help!