Maintenance Management for Your Car
In domino fashion, failing to plan for maintenance can
turn small problems into larger ones, putting a serious
dent in your automotive budget. The penalties of procrastinating
on vehicle maintenance range from a heater that runs
cold to a battery that won't start the car.
care of your car's seasonal services immediately and
make plans to get ahead of the game next year. An
early visit to your repair facility provides the opportunity
to budget for unanticipated repairs. The Car Care
Council offers the following checklist:
A poorly maintained engine is hard to start in cold
weather, if it starts at all. It may run rough and
lose power. Have fuel, ignition and emission control
systems checked, necessary components replaced and
and electrical system
How old is your battery? If it's three or more years
old, it should be tested and replaced if necessary.
Even a strong battery that can deliver full power
at 80 degrees Fahrenheit will have dropped to 65 percent
of its output at freezing temperature and only 40
percent at zero degrees.
and tighten battery terminals, as loose or corroded
connections can cause symptoms of a weak or dead battery.
Change both as recommended in the owner's manual,
generally at 3,000-mile intervals for severe conditions
and cold weather operation, especially when most driving
is stop-and-go traffic. Check the owner's manual for
more information on severe service or refer to Car
Care Council's Service Interval Schedule.
Replace old wiper blades and be sure your washers
are working. Carry spare washer solvent in your vehicle.
A vehicle's antifreeze should be changed annually,
or as recommended in the owner's manual. Flush the
cooling system every 24 months. The recommended mixture
is 50/50 antifreeze and distilled water. Have the
system pressure tested for leaks and check hoses and
drive belt(s) for tension and condition.
Inspect, balance, check inflation and rotate tires.
Check inflation on the spare and make sure the jack
is in place.
Check all lights and replace burned out bulbs
Have the vehicle put on a lift for an inspection of
the exhaust system. Leaking exhaust fumes can be deadly.