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September 2015
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Car Care: Back to School Maintenance
Routine maintenance will help your vehicle run smoothly for the entire school year

Whether youíre ferrying a brood to preschool or sending an older child off to college this fall, itís a great time of year to check out your vehicle. The last thing you need in the middle of the term is the distraction of car trouble. While you take the time to check off the school supply list, here are a few items to ensure your vehicle can keep up with you.

Check the lights: It doesnít take more than a few minutes to walk around the car in the driveway and make sure everything that lights up or blinks does what it should. Itís not uncommon for position lamps or directional indicators to have blown bulbs without the driver noticing. Donít forget to check the headlamps, taillamps and brake lamps. Get a helper to make it go faster.

Check the tires: This is another inspection thatís pretty quick. Start with the visuals. Are there obvious nicks or cuts in the sidewall or the tread? Any signs of impact? Look at the tread itself. Is there good tread depth? Is tread evenly worn? If wear isnít even, it means there could be an alignment problem that can be both costly and dangerous. Get yourself a tire pressure gauge and make sure tires are inflated to the level the manufacturer recommends. All cars have a conspicuously located sticker, often on a door jamb or under the fuel filler cap, with recommended tire pressure. Check your ownerís manual if you canít find it. Finding anything lodged in the tire or obvious bubbles in the sidewall should send you immediately to get repair.

Check the fluids: Coolant, oil, transmission fluid. These are the lifeblood of your car. Make sure you check them properly and fill as needed. Winter will be here sooner than you think, so donít forget to top off the windshield washer fluid and put a spare bottle in the car, along with an ice scraper and snow brush. If you donít want to maintain fluids yourself, your dealerís service department can make sure everything is as it should be. It can also be convenient to roll this whole exercise into an oil and filter change.

Replace the wiper blades: Most people canít tell you the last time they replaced their windshield wiper blades. These little strips of rubber are crucial pieces of safety equipment when it rains, sleets and snows. If you donít know when the last time you changed them was, or if they are leaving streaks or making annoying noises as they wipe, itís time to change them. Reduced visibility due to defective equipment is a totally preventable hazard.

Other checks: The back-to-school season may coincide with your vehicleís service schedule. Roll it all together into a single visit, and make sure your vehicle has attention paid to all these areas and whatever else your manufacturer recommends. Going in for an oil change, check of the brakes, suspension, and steering components, and a general once-over is a good way to make sure you and your passengers stay safe. 

If you have any questions, or you simply prefer the experts here at the dealership to perform the work, stop by today.

This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


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