Owning a car is a big responsibility. Whether you received your first car at sixteen, or worked long hours well into adulthood, in order to make that first big purchase – you quickly realized that a vehicle is a big financial responsibility. Like anything else, cars need to be well taken care of in order to run properly. Regularly scheduled maintenance, weekly trips to the gas station, windshield wiper replacement fluid… the list goes on, and on.
At McCluskey Chevrolet, we understand the importance of having good auto repair for a Chevrolet Cincinnati Ohio. But knowing and doing, are two completely separate things. Wherever it was that you made your first car purchase, the dealership, or previous owner handed you a very important book. Your car’s owner manual. Within that postcard-sized booklet, is everything you need to know about your car. How it works, what the engine needs, and what your responsibility is for keeping it running smoothly.
Chances are, you studied that booklet, and marked down important dates on your calendar to ensure optimal health for your new vehicle. If this was you, give yourself a big pat on the back! More often than not, a vehicle’s Owner Manual sits untouched in the dark abyss of the glove compartment. Drivers rely solely on the “Check Engine” light, or a strange noise, to alert them of when their vehicle needs a tune-up. Unfortunately, when your car violently shakes, the brakes screech, or your check engine light goes on, the cost-effective, simple repair is no longer possible.
Some dealerships may avoid talking about preventative health measures to take with your vehicle, hoping that one day, you bring your costly, unnecessary repair to them. At McCluskey Chevrolet, we care about our customers. We want to help our drivers take every possible step towards keeping their vehicle in the best possible shape, so that their vehicle lasts longer, runs better, and is safer for everyone who gets inside its cabin.
So whether you drive a Chevy Silverado full-size pickup truck, or a compact car like the Chevy Volt, McCluskey Chevrolet has everything you need to know to keep you on top of your vehicle’s preventative maintenance.
Get to Know Your Vehicle
Most likely, you and your vehicle spend a lot of time together. Whether that entails daily commutes to the office, long road trips, or running errands around town, it is important to take care of one of your most valuable, and expensive assets.
Our first suggestion, is to study your vehicle. Learn how everything works. Pick a day of the week, and spend five minutes prior to embarking on your busy day to make sure all of your lights and signals are working properly.
Once a month, pop open the hood, and check out your fluid levels. Oil, windshield wiper fluid, coolant, antifreeze, and power steering, can all be easily checked. Remember that Owner’s Manual we mentioned? If you haven’t already looked through it, it’s time to dust it off. Most likely, it’s in your glove compartment. Inside, there will be a visual display letting you know where each fluid is located within the engine compartment, and how to check it.
Check Tire Tread
Grab a penny, and head out to your vehicle. Place the penny into several grooves throughout the tires on your vehicle. If part of Abraham Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, it means that your tires have a tread depth of 2/32”. Tires with this amount of tread, will likely have no traction in snow, and are prone to dangerous hydroplaning in rainy, or inclement weather.
Ideally, you want to have at least 4/32” of tread remaining, which would mean that George Washington’s head on a quarter would be partially covered during the same exercise.
To make things a little bit easier, tires sold in the United States are required to have wear bars molded into the tread design, which give a visual indication of tire wear. The health of tires on a vehicle often go unnoticed. Be sure to regularly check your tires, and replace them when the tread is worn. Be sure to also ask your auto repair center to rotate your tires every other time you get your vehicle’s oil changed.
Get Your Oil Changed
Over 25% of cars driving on the road today, have dirty or low engine oil. This is one of the most affordable maintenance steps you can take to ensure your car continues down the road of good health. The most common recommendation is to have oil changed every three months, or 3,000 miles. While this may have been a good gauge in the past, modern cars can go longer and further between oil changes. Check your Owner’s Manual to find out the exact recommendation for oil changes – and don’t put them off! Not only does changing your car’s oil help the engine run more efficiently, neglecting this simple task can cause ultimate destruction to your vehicle’s engine.
Change the Air Filter
The air filter in your car’s engine is the very thing that allows your vehicle to breathe. While one may not equate breathing with a vehicle, clean air is exactly what your engine needs to run efficiently and smoothly. Neglecting to change an air filter can cause your engine to overheat, and can end up costing you thousands of dollars.
Stop Ignoring Your Brakes
Don’t wait for your car to come to a screeching halt to get the message that it’s time for new brakes. Disc-brake pads sit between the metal caliper and the rotor, helping your car brake, and eventually stop. When those pads wear down, bare metal rubs on the rotor, causing less effective braking and damage to your vehicle’s rotor. Have your brake pads checked at routine oil changes, and replace them when it is recommended. After all, stopping is the second most important task your car will ever do.
Replace Worn Shock Absorbers
If your vehicle has over 50,000 miles on it, it’s time to have the shock absorbers checked. These essential components to your vehicle help to ensure that your entire suspension is in good health. Without a suspension, well – you won’t have a car to take care of anymore.
Overall, your vehicle is a large moving vessel, composed of many parts. If one of those parts stops working, or fails to work properly, it can throw off your entire vehicle. Check out our last list of auto repairs and checks you should have performed on your vehicle at the end of every year:
- Change air filter
- Chassis lubrication
- Antifreeze refilled
- Steering and suspension checked
- Wheel alignment tested
- Wiper blades replaced
Whether you have owned your car for five minutes, or five years, it is important to take care of it. Chances are, you want to hold onto your vehicle for many more years to come. In order to do so, you need to make sure that you take the best care of your vehicle. Take time to complete these simple checks, and be sure to have regularly scheduled maintenance completed by an auto repair center in Cincinnati, like McCluskey Chevrolet.
If you are ever in doubt, can’t find your owner’s manual, or have questions – be sure to call us. We are happy to help, whether or not you have been a customer with us before.