Don’t Forget These 4 Car Maintenance Tasks

February 18th, 2016 by

Service Tips

If you’re like most car owners, you probably have your oil changed every three to five months and get your tires balanced and rotated based on your vehicle’s owner’s manual. However, your car consists of numerous moving parts, all of which require regular attention. If you’ve neglected these four car maintenance tasks, you might want to add them to you to-do list.

Checking and Changing Your Brake Pads

If you hear a grinding sound or feel vibrations beneath your foot every time you depress the brake pedal, your brake pads might have worn down past safe levels. Not only is checking your brake pads essential for safety, but neglecting the brakes can reduce your car’s longevity.

If you suspect that your vehicle might need new brake pads, you can ask your service mechanic to take a look or you can check them yourself. Aim a flashlight through the wheel to examine the pads. If they look thinner than a quarter of an inch, they probably need replacing. On some newer cars, you’ll see a brake pad warning light, as well.

Replacing Your Shock Absorbers

Typically just called “shocks,” shock absorbers are responsible for aiding the suspension system. Not only do they improve the comfort of drivers and passengers, but they also prevent excessive wear and tear on your vehicle’s springs and other suspension elements. If you notice that you bounce more when driving over rough terrain, you might need new shocks.

Other signs of worn shock absorbers include creaking noises when driving over speed bumps and other obstacles and the lowering of the car’s front end while you brake. While bad shocks won’t cause serious problems like engine or transmission failure, they can reduce your car’s lifespan and necessitate the early replacement of suspension components.

Cleaning Battery Terminals

A common method used to clean battery terminals involves pouring a can of coca cola over the battery and scrubbing the terminals with a wire brush. In some cases, the carbonation eliminates the need for subsequent scrubbing. You can also use a wire brush by itself or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. This prevents the terminals from becoming so corroded that your car won’t start, so it’s important to inspect the battery at least a few times a year.

Changing the Spark Plugs

When your spark plugs start to fail, your car’s engine has to work harder, which means you consume more fuel and introduce more wear and tear. Fortunately, spark plugs are a cheap and easy component to replace, but many vehicle owners neglect this simple form of car maintenance. You’ll need special tools to replace the spark plugs yourself, so unless you have experience, consider taking your car to the auto dealership for a professional job.

Car maintenance isn’t just a smart financial move. It’s also integral to comfort, safety, and longevity. If you take care of your car, it will last much longer, which means that its investment value increases.  Plus, regular small repairs and replacements are far more economical than a big repair you didn’t expect.

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