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Preventive Vehicle Maintenance You Can Do Yourself

Vehicles, like any other machine, are likely to break down if they are not properly maintained. Inspecting your vehicles and performing quick repairs yourself can save you hundreds of dollars. Here is some basic information on how you can check and extend the performance of your vehicles.

Areas to Inspect                  

  • Functions — Periodically check your vehicle’s air pressure, lights, and tire tread. For the air pressure test, you can purchase a cheap tire gauge from an automotive store. Keep it in the glove compartment for easy retrieval. For a tire tread test, you can either visually inspect the wear indicators on the tire treads or use a penny. Place the penny head down and stick it between your tire tread. If you can see Lincoln’s head fully, your tires legally need to be replaced.
  • Fluids — Learn to check your antifreeze, power steering, coolant, and wiper fluid. In some vehicles, the tank levels can be seen directly. In most cases, however, the tanks have gauges or dipsticks that can be pulled out to check current levels against a notch indicating optimal levels. If the levels are low, either add more yourself or have it changed. If you find a leak, attend to it immediately.
  • Oil — Learn how to check the oil in your vehicles, and change it regularly. Your vehicle may have a dipstick to check the oil or an electronic gauge. Consult your owner’s manual to find out which. If the oil is murky when you check it, it should be replaced. 
  • Battery — Make sure your battery is not leaking, and clean any mineral or other buildup off the contacts with a battery cleaning brush. You can purchase a cleaning brush online or at an automotive store. Other helpful equipment you can purchase to keep your battery in working order are a battery tester or jump starter. These can be stored in your trunk for emergencies.
  • Cabin air filter — Replacing a cabin air filter, also known as an air conditioner filter, is a quick and easy way to clean the air inside your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the location of the air filter inside your vehicle and information on how to replace it. You will need some basic hand tools such as a nut driver or Philips or flat-head screwdriver to perform the replacement. 
  • Engine air filter — This filter can be a little more difficult to get to, depending on your vehicle. Consult your owner’s manual for how often your engine air filter should be checked, based upon a mileage estimate. If the filter is dirty when you check it, replace it. The more you drive, especially in stop-and-go traffic, the quicker your filter will become dirty.
  • Windshield wipers — Your visibility is important. If you notice your wipers are leaving streaks on your windshield, it is time to replace them. Another good habit to create is cleaning the windshield inside and out when you notice it getting dirty.
  • VIN — With the large number of vehicles recalled recently for various safety issues, it is important to make sure your vehicle is not among them. On the lower left of your vehicle’s windshield, you will find a 17-character Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN. It is also located on your car’s registration card and may be shown on your insurance card. Using your VIN, you can search online to check your specific model for recalls that have taken place during the past 15 calendar years.

Contact an Experienced Automobile Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced auto accident attorneys have experience handling a multitude of injury accidents, no matter how severe the crash or injury. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages if another driver acted negligently. Our firm has the experienced lawyers and financial resources that you need to achieve the real results you deserve. Our team of injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends. If you cannot make it to our office, we can visit you at your home, in the hospital, or at work.

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