If you haven't already, get your owners manual out and figure out which maintenance services your vehicle currently needs. Or, if that seems too daunting, simply head to your local dealership, where they can sort out the particulars. You can even schedule future visits to your dealer while you're there, so when it's time for a tune-up, your calendar will simply send you a smartphone notification when it's time to head over. Take the headache out of maintenance by building a relationship with your local dealer service department.
Change the Oil
When winter hits hard, we all tend to stay cozied up indoors. If you've been using the weather as an excuse to put off an oil and filter change, put everything else on hold and get this done. Maintaining a fresh supply of oil is one of the easiest ways to keep your car running in excellent shape. Oil left too long can become sludgy, resulting in poor fuel mileage and, at the extreme, serious engine damage. If you're heading out on road trips soon, you'll want to maximize your engine's efficiency, and regularly changed oil is a key component.
Top Off Your Fluids
Maintaining your fluids is easy when you're on top of your vehicle maintenance schedule. When you get your next oil change, simply ask your dealer to check them out. You want to maintain optimal power steering, brake, and transmission fluids, and top them off if necessary. Preserve ideal coolant levels to keep your engine from freezing or overheating. Eventually, you should flush and replenish all fluids. Your owner's manual supplies guidelines on when to schedule these services. If any of your fluids are especially low, you should have your mechanic check the system for possible leaks.
Get a Battery Checkup
After an especially harsh winter, your battery might be more depleted than you know. Get your battery tested - that way, you won't find yourself stranded in the parking lot at work or on that spring break outing. It's also important to give your battery the once-over on a regular basis. Look to see whether it's secure in its framing. Battery terminals should also be tight and corrosion-free. When your battery reaches the ripe old age of five years old, it's most likely time for replacement.
Examine Your Tires
Like oil changes, you shouldn't dodge regular tire maintenance. Letting your tire tread wear too thin can be dangerous, leading to an accident that could have been easily avoided. Use a penny to check your tread. With the Lincoln side upside down and facing you, place the penny into a tire groove. If you can see Lincoln in his entirety, it's time for new tires. Tire rotation is another importation aspect of car maintenance - and one that drivers often skip. Make sure your tire tread wears evenly: take your car to the dealership for a rotation every 5,000 miles or so. Most newer vehicles suggest changing your oil at the 5000 mile mark now, so tire rotation shouldn't be a tough thing to remember-just schedule it when you schedule your other routine maintenance! During a rotation, your technician can also check for proper inflation and other potential issues, further enhancing your ride and safety levels.