14 September, 2009

How to Maintain Your Vehicle to Avoid Breakdowns

Vehicle maintenance is particularly important during the colder months. After all, you don't want your car to break down on icy streets in blowing snow and freezing temperatures. Even if you take your car in for routine oil chnges, you car may need some additional attention if you want to avoid malfunctions at critical times.

Simple and easy to follow steps:
  • Step1

    Make sure your antifreeze is at the proper level. Many experts say that failure of this system is the number one cause of engine-related breakdowns. Flush the radiator at least every two years and add antifreeze to maintain the correct temperature range.

  • Step2

    Keep your wiper blades supple and connected to the window. Don’t forget the back blades, too. Over time, the rubber will break down and become brittle or chip. Follow the blades’ package directions, and make sure any new blades are attached securely. This will prevent window scratches and ensure visibility during snow storms and downpours.

  • Step3

    Keep the windshield washer reservoir at its fill line. The fluid should also contain antifreeze and degreaser to keep windows from smearing. Keep an extra bottle of washer fluid in the vehicle, too.

  • Step4

    Clean your battery terminals so they connect properly and avoid corrosion. This should be undertaken with care and a light hand. Wearing protective goggles and gloves protects against splashing acid. Mix one heaping tablespoon of baking soda per pint of water, and pour the solution over the terminals, posts and clamps with a basting tool or funnel. Let the mixture dissolve the corrosion for a few minutes, and then lightly brush away the corrosion with a small brush. Follow with a clean water rinse. Some batteries need to be removed for a thorough cleaning; when reconnecting, they should be attached securely, with the positive cable hooked up first. If the battery is more than two years old, have it tested by a qualified mechanic for strength.

  • Step5

    Check the treads and pressure on your tires. One way to verify tread depth is to insert a Lincoln penny head first in the grooves. If Lincoln's head is totally visible, the tread is too low. If more than half his head is covered, the tread is fine. Invest in a good air pressure gauge and check the inflation according to the vehicle’s recommended pressure, which is listed in the owner’s manual or posted on the driver’s door jam


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