It’s always the right time to learn the ABCs of car care:
- A – Always follow a preventative vehicle maintenance plan.
- B – Be sure to have your car inspected when you suspect there is a problem.
- C – Correct the problem to help avoid the inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down away from home.
Many teens cannot wait to drive, but their car care education should begin well before their parents’ hand over the keys. Understanding the basics of car care before taking the wheel will help keep new drivers safer on the road, behind the wheel, or in the passenger seat.
- Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake, and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
- Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose, or showing signs of excessive wear.
- Check the battery and replace it if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight, and corrosion-free.
- Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors, and drums inspected at each oil change.
- Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage, and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
- Schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
- Check the heating, ventilating & air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting.
- Inspect the steering and suspension system annually including shock absorbers, struts, and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends, and other related components.
- Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
- Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.