Preventative Steps Can Save You $$$ In the Long Run
We have experienced some beautiful weather lately! As the summer months approach, we’ll have even more perfectly sunny days when we will want to keep our vehicles washed and waxed and looking great for our joy rides and road trips. However, a shiny finish on the body won’t help if your car ends up broken down on the side of the road, so we’d like to remind you of a few things you can do to help ensure that your nice, shiny ride actually continues to roll!
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), there are nearly 11,000 tire-related collisions every year and it is estimated that 200 people will die in tire-related crashes annually. Since drivers in the US are expected to put 2.9 billion miles on their tires each year, it is vital that we make sure our tires are in good shape before we hit the road. To make sure your tires are ready, simply:
- Have your tires rotated every 6,000 – 8,000 miles – or according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended schedule. When rotating, a mechanic will move each tire to a different position so that all tires will wear evenly.
- When you have your tires rotated, have the mechanic also check the balance and have your tires balanced if necessary. Out of balance tires can cause vibrations, premature tire wear, and suspension wear.
- Keep a pressure gauge in your trunk or glove compartment and check the air pressure in your tires (including your spare) every month or so.
- Spot check your tires for cracks in the sidewall and for low tread. An easy tread test can be done by inserting a penny with the head facing down into the tire’s tread groove. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires!
Make sure your fluid levels are adequate to prevent your brakes, steering wheel, or engine from overheating or locking up. When you take your vehicle in for an oil change, your mechanic should also check the BRAKE FLUID, COOLANT, POWER STEERING FLUID, and TRANSMISSION FLUID.
Listen for scraping, grinding, or squeaking noises when driving, or pay attention to whether the pedal pulses when braking. If your brake pads are worn, be sure to get them replaced as soon as possible. If they wear down too far, they can damage the rotors and ultimately cause your brakes to fail altogether, potentially causing an accident. Waiting to have your brakes repaired can take a $200 repair to more than $600 if you wait too long!
As difficult as it can be those of us who transport children and who travel often and spend a lot of time in our cars, travelling in a clean car is so much nicer and having a “home” for items we reach for often can prevent accidents caused by rifling around and not paying attention to the road.
- Create a home for your cell phone using a cell phone holder, Velcro strips, a cup holder, etc.
- Hang a small bag on the back of a seat or on a small utility hook to use for trash.
- Create a space for sun glasses, lip balm, breath mints, candy and other items you may use often while driving.
Make sure your windows, lights, and mirrors are clean and clear of debris and bug stains that may hinder visibility. Also check to make sure headlights and brake lights are working properly.
Taking the time for routine maintenance can help prevent potential accidents, equipment violations, and costly repairs!