Do You Know What This Month Is?
Bet you didn’t know that April is Car Care Month! The Car Care Council promotes two months every year for car care awareness: April, and Fall Car Care Month in October. Car Care Month serves as a useful reminder to drivers to keep up on routine maintenance items that can keep their cars on the road a lot longer, as well as addressing any nagging problems that might need attention. Here are a few bullet points:
Check the fluids. Oil should be checked with every fill-up of the gas tank and changed (using the correct grade) according to manufacturer’s recommended intervals. Brake, power steering, automatic transmission, coolant and windshield washer fluids all need to be checked regularly, and coolant and ATF need to be flushed and replaced at regular intervals.
Belts and hoses. Hoses should be inspected at each oil change; a pressure test of the cooling system can indicate any problems with weak hoses or clamps. The serpentine belt and tensioner need to be checked for proper tension and signs of cracks, fraying, glazing or chipping. Cars that use a timing belt should have the belt replaced, usually at a 60-90,000 mile interval, or risk serious engine damage.
Tires. Many, many drivers are driving around on underinflated tires. Tires that are underinflated have increased rolling resistance, compromising fuel economy and subjecting the tires to heat buildup that can eventually cause them to fail. Check tires for tread wear, signs of uneven wear, damage, bulges, foreign objects or other signs of impending failure.
Exhaust. Check the exhaust system for leaks, rust-through, damage, broken supports or hangers. Check the O2 sensor on the catalytic converter.
Air conditioner. Even a late-model car can lose refrigerant from the A/C system. The system should be checked regularly and recharged if necessary, using a refrigerant that contains oil and a dye to indicate any leaks.
Tune-up: While tune-ups aren’t as involved as they once were, high-mileage cars still need comprehensive maintenance packages. Today’s tune-up might consist of changing the spark plugs, changing the coil packs, running a scan on the engine computer to find any trouble codes and replacing any sensors or other components indicated by the codes, and changing the air filter.
Wheel alignment: If a car consistently pulls to one side or wears tires unevenly, it’s usually in need of alignment. Other signs might include a steering wheel that doesn’t center itself readily after rounding a corner, or steering that feels “heavy” or clumsy.
Today’s vehicles don’t need as much maintenance as cars from 40 or 50 years ago, but it’s still important to keep up with routine repairs and maintenance items. At Bigtex Tires & Offroad in Humble, TX, we’ve got the technicians, the service department and the know-how to keep your car on the road for a long time to come. Take care of your car, and it’ll take care of you – make an appointment with us today!