While the year is still fresh with good intentions, it’s not a bad idea to schedule a once-over for your vehicle. Regular maintenance saves you trouble down the road, whether that’s expensive repairs, the stress of a roadside breakdown or the risk of driving an unsafe vehicle.
But you don’t have to let your car maintenance add too much to your plate. Usually a visual and auditory inspection followed by a call to your mechanic to schedule an appointment for a thorough annual is all it takes to keep your car running smoothly through the year ahead.
Steps to performing a regular maintenance check
While it may seem basic, giving your car a good visual inspection annually gets you into the habit of looking for issues the rest of the year. You establish a baseline of what’s typical for your vehicle and spot areas to keep tabs on.
- Start by examining your tires: Are they looking low? Especially as temperatures drop, your tires will need regular adjustments to air pressure. Next, touch the treads. If you can slip an upside-down penny between the ribs and see Lincoln’s entire head, it’s a good sign yours are worn out. Be sure to also take a look at the sidewalls. Are they cracked or bulging?
- Next, test out your lights: They should all work, of course, but also not look dim or cloudy. Flag any burnt out bulbs and consider headlight restoration if they’ve lost their gleam. Give your wipers a run: Be sure you have wiper fluid, then test your wipers at all speeds, looking for streaks and missed spots and listening for screeches. If the blades look brittle or cracked, it’s time for replacements.
- Once you’ve done your visual inspection, you can take things a step further and open up the hood if you’re so inclined. Cars today don’t require the same frequency of oil changes they once did, so it’s smart to check your levels and quality from time to time since you won’t have a complete refresh often. It’s also relatively simple to check your radiator fluid, brake fluid and air filters. If you’d rather not, these are a given on any annual check with your mechanic.
- Next, take your car for a short drive, music off. Are the brakes making any noises? Is the car vibrating or making a sound? If something sounds different, make a note of it and tell your mechanic. You know your car better than anyone—if something sounds off, it probably is.
- Finally, schedule your vehicle for a professional inspection, even if you handled some of the tasks yourself. Your mechanic will be able to test your battery power, spark plugs, belts and hoses, making sure nothing is worn or no longer road ready.
While some of these tasks will need to be handled more than annually, setting aside time to give everything a look at once allows you to focus on the vehicle as a whole and address problems before they get bigger.
If you need to bring your car in for an annual inspection, contact Bavarian Body Works today.
Our trained technicians can assess your vehicle to be sure it’s in top condition, handling any needed repairs or replacements. Contact us today for more information.