Delaying — or skipping altogether — recommended service for your car is a bad idea, yet, a AAA survey finds that 35 percent of Americans have done so. Whether drivers simply forget to perform maintenance on their cars, or they ignore manufacturers’ recommendations, the bottom line is that they will ultimately pay higher repair costs.
AAA says that car owners who properly maintain their vehicles can save an average of $100 per visit to their mechanic. Follow these five tips from AAA to help ensure your car stays in tip-top shape.
The maintenance recommendations for cars vary from one automaker to another. There is no longer a single standard for any maintenance, including brake fluid. Your best bet for determining necessary maintenance is to consult your owner’s manual.
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Check fluids monthly
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All of your car’s fluids — oil, brake fluid, engine coolant, and power steering and washer fluids — should be checked monthly. Ninety percent of auto repair facilities that are approved or owned by AAA say that car owners most frequently miss issues with brake fluid, transmission fluid and engine coolant.
The typical life expectancy of an auto battery is three to five years, with the shorter battery life being for cars that are driven in hot climates. AAA recommends that car owners have their auto battery tested at the three-year mark and then annually afterward. Mobile battery testing is free to AAA members.
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Check your tires regularly
AAA found that 60 percent of Americans don’t check their tire pressure regularly, even though it is one of the most important components of car safety. AAA recommends that both tire pressure and tread depth be checked monthly. Once the tread depth is at 4/32″ tires should be replaced.
For the best visibility in inclement weather, make sure windshield wiper blades are in top condition. Replace blades that streak the windshield or that miss spots. Drivers in snowy areas should consider winter wiper blades, which are wrapped in rubber to reduce ice and snow buildup.