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Keeping Up With Routine Vehicle Maintenance

A man and his son maintaining their vehicle

Summer maintenance, winter maintenance, before-a-road-trip maintenance . . . car owners can easily feel like they spend more time doing maintenance than actually driving their vehicles! However, you can’t deny the benefits of doing the right maintenance at the right time.

Regular maintenance helps you avoid expensive repairs, extend how long your vehicle will last and even save money at the gas pump. All the experts will tell you that it’s cheaper to maintain your vehicle than repair it.

You may have diligently read your owner’s manual to find out how often you should do certain types of maintenance. But how can you remember to do that maintenance? How can you keep track of what you already have done and what you should take care of soon?

Keep up with the seasons

The change of seasons can act as a reminder to handle certain tasks. Why would the first warm breezes in the spring and the colorful leaves of fall be a good reminder to check your car maintenance?

Changes in temperature affect your vehicle. For instance, as the outside temperatures soar in summer, remember that you’re not the only one that’s thirsty. Your vehicle also consumes fluids, so check that the following reservoirs are filled: oil, coolant, power steering, brake, transmission and windshield washer. In winter, lower temperatures increase the risk of freezing fluids. In particular, check your coolant to make sure that you are using the correct mixture for the outside temperature in your area.

Your tires will take a beating at any time of year. Summer heat wears the tires down faster, while winter cold can create more potholes that can be devastating to your tires. Be sure to check your tire pressure often in the winter, as temperature fluctuations will change the pressure.

Summer rains and winter snows all wear down the delicate rubber of your windshield wiper blades. As the seasons change, check for worn or cracked rubber.

Technology to the rescue

How can you remember to do seasonal maintenance as well as monthly maintenance? Having a checklist (and remembering to review it every month) can help.

If you’re a technology fan, you’ll probably want to review the various phone apps that help you track vehicle maintenance. They’ll provide easy-to-fill-out lists of items for your maintenance records and then remind you with notifications as each appointed time approaches.

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