The Ultimate Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Proper maintenance of your vehicle not only helps to get the most mileage out of it, but it is also one of the most effective ways to avoid a dreaded breakdown on the side of the road. While the maintenance requirements for your specific vehicle may vary, you should be aware of the most common tasks that are required for the majority of cars and trucks on the roads. Read through this list and make sure to take your car in for a tune-up if you notice that it is in need of professional maintenance.

Check the Oil and Coolant Levels

The fluids in your car play an essential role in temperature regulation and help to lubricate moving parts. Begin by checking the oil and coolant levels regularly to make sure that the proper amount of fluids is in the engine to keep everything running smoothly. While you can expect some fluid loss over time, you should be concerned if you notice a drastically low level, since this could indicate a leak in your system. Make sure to mention this when you take your car in for its regular oil change and tune up.

Get the Brakes Inspected

The brakes on your car are subjected to tremendous pressure every time you tap the pedal. While high-quality brake pads and rotors can last for many miles, you must schedule regular brake inspections to make sure that they are in top condition. Between servicing, keep an eye out for warning signs of wear such as squeals when you brake or a pedal that has more give than it normally would.

Assess the Safety Features

At some point, almost every driver has noticed someone driving with a taillight out, and failing lights put you at risk for an accident. Face your car toward a solid wall such as the garage door, and turn on the headlights to see if you can detect them working. You can also recruit a partner to watch as you tap the brake lights and use the turn signals to make sure that they are working properly.

Give the Tires a Lookover

The tires on your car help to maintain traction on slippery surfaces, and they must be properly inflated to keep your car steering properly. Check the tire pressure every time that you stop for gas, and inspect the entire set at least once a month. Keep in mind that your spare tire should be included in this inspection so that it is always ready in case of an emergency.

Find Out About Long-Term Maintenance Needs

While oil changes and tire inflations occur often enough that you should not forget them, there are other maintenance needs that happen after a certain number of months or miles pass by. When you take your car into the auto service center, ask about what maintenance tasks are coming up so that you can plan accordingly. For example, four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles have a transfer case that requires the fluid to be filled and replaced periodically.

Although car maintenance might not be your favorite thing to do, it is critical to stay on top of the tasks that keep your vehicle running and protect your safety on the road. When you are strapped on time, just bring your vehicle in for a professional check up so that you never have to worry about an essential task going undone.

Winter Driving Tips for Drivers in New Jersey

Driving in New Jersey gets a little stressful in the winter months when it sometimes feels as though the snow will never stop falling. While it is best to stay home when the weather is hazardous, it simply isn’t always possible to avoid driving when snow continues for weeks. Fortunately, a little practice and common sense goes a long way toward helping you stay safe on the roads, and these tips will provide you with greater confidence when you must drive in the snow.

Keep Your Car Maintained

The safety features on your car become even more important in winter weather. Make sure that the windshield wipers are in good condition to keep your view clear, and inspect the brakes to see if you need to arrange for car repair. Once you know the safety features are ready to go, take it one step further by making sure that your car’s tires and the battery are ready for the colder temperatures so that you don’t get stranded.

Adjust Your Speed

One of the most effective things you can do to avoid an accident in slick conditions is to simply slow down. When snow covers the ground, you may need to reduce your speed down from the recommended limit by as much as half. Try to plan to leave early enough that you are not pressured to rush and drive faster than is safe given the current road conditions.

Use Caution When Stopping

At our auto service center, we perform a variety of services such as rotor replacement that keep your brakes in good working condition. However, you must also know how to use your brakes correctly to avoid potential skids and spin-outs. Never slam on your brakes. Instead, apply firm, steady pressure with your foot on the pedal until your car stops. It is also best to avoid stopping on a hill if the road is covered in ice.

Know How to Get Unstuck

Sticking to plowed roads is the best way to avoid dealing with a stuck vehicle. Yet, you should also know how to get your car out of a snowdrift or past an ice patch if you can’t avoid driving into one. Carry kitty litter or sand in your car to use to generate traction on slick surfaces, and always remember to avoid spinning your tires since this tends to make you get stuck worse.

Leave Extra Room

In winter weather, one of the biggest hazards on the road is other drivers. Try to give yourself plenty of room on the road so that you have time to react if the car in front of you spins out or comes to a sudden stop. If people drive too fast for your comfort, then stay in the slow lane and turn on your hazards to alert other drivers that you are not going the full speed limit.

Keep safe this winter season by adding a few safety strategies to your normal driving routine. While it does take time to learn how to drive in snow or icy conditions, you will feel like a pro in no time with a little practice and careful car maintenance.