Your car doesn't ask for much. It's always there for you, getting you where you need to go. A little extra care in the form of an oil change, tune-up and basic service can be a great gift for the one who keeps you going.
“Don't let your car break your heart by neglecting to take care of it,” advised Rich White, executive director of the nonprofit Car Car Council. “Being car care aware can add years of useful life to your relationship with your vehicle and keep you from being stranded because of an unexpected breakdown.”
The Council recommends a little tender loving auto care.
Schedule a tune-up annually to optimize your car's performance. A well-tuned engine delivers the best balance of power and fuel economy and produces the lowest level of emissions.
Change the oil and filter per the owner's manual. Periodic oil and filter changes keep your engine clean on the inside.
According to Michael Witt, owner of Town and Country Tire in Hutchinson, oil breaks down over time and the lubrication decreases.
“With decreased lubrication, extra wear occurs inside the motor,” Witt said. “And with that extra wear, it shortens the life of the motor.”
Check the tire pressure monthly, including the spare. Your car's tires affect its ride, handling, traction and safety.
“Tire pressures decrease, which they do just over time,” Witt said. “Tire pressure will change as the weather changes.”
According to Witt, extra fuel is spent and cars become less efficiency because tires are not inflated to what they should be.
"(This) causes extra wear on the tires,” Witt said, “than normal wear on the tires causing shorter life on the tires and can also wear out suspension and steering components because of the extra stress that is placed on those because the tires are low. But the biggest thing is, it's just a safety effect. A tire can overheat if it's too low in pressure and can cause damage as you're driving down the road.”
Have the alignment checked annually. Potholes and other road conditions, as well as normal wear, can take their toll on your car's steering and suspension. A wheel alignment reduces tire wear, improves fuel economy and handling, and increases driving enjoyment and safety.
Andrew Miller, advises customers to check their vehicle's alignment because of the amount of potholes
“All it takes is one pothole to throw the alignment off in the car,” Miller said, “which will cause tire wear.”
Inspect the windshield wipers and lights on the car. Lights and wipers play a major role in safe driving, and they are normal wear items that need periodic replacement.
“On the wipers you could be on a road trip and you're gonna need them,” Miller said. “You should probably just check them out and make sure they're working properly. You can go months without using them, and then be on a road trip somewhere and halfway into it it starts raining or something, (and) here you are with a bad wiper blade or something, so it's kind of a safety issue.”
According to Miller, during oil changes repair shops will inspect the oil, lights and wiper blades.
“If you get your oil changed once a year, the shop should be checking that out for you.”