October is Car Care Month: Follow vehicle maintenance safety

Keeping up with a regular vehicle maintenance program is extremely important for the care of your car and for the safety of yourself and those who drive in your car with you. October is Fall Car Care Month and a great time to make a resolution to care for your car as you would your body.

As harsh winter weather starts to approach the northern parts of the United States, it becomes even more imperative to make sure your vehicle is ready for the tough and often unforgiving severe weather changes. Many factors can affect a vehicle as far as performing safely and properly.

As ruthless cold temperatures approach and severe snow storms loom, making sure your car is ready for anything is very important. Icy roads also make for dangerous driving conditions, but you can prepare your car for these conditions, as well as normal conditions if you get yourself into the habit of following a regular routine vehicle maintenance program.

Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council made this statement in a press release: “A thorough inspection of your vehicle during Fall Car Care Month will go a long way toward ensuring safety and dependability when temperatures drop and severe winter weather strikes. A routine maintenance program also makes financial sense, extending useful vehicle life and helping avoid costly repairs down the road."

Some steps car owners can take to ensure their vehicles are in tip-top shape this fall and winter are not too difficult to follow. At the same time, following these steps can also help to avoid future problems which if left unattended can get much worse and hence, much more expensive to fix. Some car maintenance procedures people can do themselves, while others need professional service people to do.

The Car Care Council recommends 10 basic maintenance procedures to keep your vehicle operating at its best, according to a press release. Check all fluids on a regular basis. This includes engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. Examine the hoses and belts on the car to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear. Look at the battery and replace it if necessary. Make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free. Have the brake system tested annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.

In addition, the Car Care Council recommends inspecting the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected immediately. Schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions. Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting. Inspect the steering and suspension system annually, including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components. Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots. Assess the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Make sure that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

In following these ten important steps for car safety, you can feel comfortable knowing that your vehicle is in good shape. This type of reassurance is priceless when it comes to the safety of you and your loved ones. Follow the vehicle maintenance program and “fall” into October’s Fall Car Care Month.

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