For many drivers, a car is like a second home. From commuting to work and running errands to packing up the SUV for a family vacation, a car is susceptible to a lot of wear and tear. Preventive vehicle maintenance will help to ensure all of the car's functions and systems are operating as the manufacturer intended. Being proactive with upkeep can help increase the lifespan of your vehicle—and keep your family safe.
New cars come with owner's manuals that specifically detail when certain systems and functions should be inspected, tuned or changed. These include things like:
If you buy an older used car, there's always the possibility that you don't have an owner's manual to refer to, although you may be able to contact the manufacturer or visit its website to find the manual. While most of the suggested maintenance tasks should be done in a similar timeframe as a newer car, if you have an older car, it's a good idea to take it to the mechanic for more regular tune-ups. Battery, belt and bulb failures are commonplace with older vehicles.
Extreme weather conditions and the environment can be punishing to an automobile. Issues that often affect a car during cold weather include:
- Dead battery
- Cracked or broken windshield wipers
- Radiator problems due to low anti-freeze
And cold weather isn't the only culprit; hot weather can affect your car battery, too. Keep that in mind during the summer. Other issues that can affect a car during warmer temperatures include:
- Ignition problems
- Inadequate coolant
Dusty or sandy conditions can also affect your car maintenance, as you may need to have your air filter changed more frequently.
Before you take your car to the mechanic or perform some DIY work in the garage, be sure to consult the owner's manual. If you need help keeping track of maintenance tasks for your vehicle, visit Allstate's Maintenance Reminder tool.
Not sure where to start with a car maintenance plan? Check out these articles:
Published: January 2013