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June 01, 2017 @ 12:00am

Use Your Senses to Avoid 5 Common Vehicle Maintenance Mistakes

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Summer is here, and between camping trips and vacations, you’re going to be relying on your car more now than ever. To keep your family on the road to fun this summer, don’t make these five common car care mistakes.

One of the easiest, and simplest, repairs you can make is to replace worn wiper blades. If you ignore the signs of wiper blade wear—including cracked rubber and streaking on your windows while the wipers are in use—what would have been a five-minute repair can become a nightmare if you hit what you can’t see. Check your blades manually for signs of wear, or spray some wiper fluid on your windshield and make sure your wipers clear it quickly, effectively and without streaks.

Next on the list in terms of simple ways to stay on the road is checking tread depth and tire condition. It’s been said a million times but here it is again: Take a penny and hold it with Lincoln’s head facing you, upside down. Insert in your tire’s tread. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you need to get your tire’s replaced right now. Besides depth, check to make sure your tires are wearing evenly, and that there are no cracks. You don’t want to be the family stuck on the side of the road in that hot summer traffic.

Despite what you might hear, you should always bring your car into the shop if the check engine light comes on. It’s true: It’s often not a sign of a major issue. (A check engine light can come on for something as simple as a loose gas cap.) But even something relatively small—like an oxygen sensor, maybe—can harm your fuel economy, and eventually your car’s engine. This is a classic example of taking care of a small issue before it becomes a large issue.

Something else to keep an eye on—or, in this case, an ear—is any new noise coming from your car. If you hear chirping or squealing under your hood, it’s time to get your serpentine belt checked. If you hear a knocking sound when you go over a bump, your suspension could be in serious trouble. Sounds are often your cars only way of telling you something is wrong.

Finally, when it comes to auto maintenance, trust your nose. That’s right: Smell can often tell you that it’s time to get your car serviced. For example: Rotten egg smell can mean a faulty catalytic converter, and a smell like burning carpet might mean brake damage. If you smell any strong or strange odors—especially exhaust or gasoline—trust your nose and bring your car in immediately.

As you can see, car maintenance can be as simple as using all of your senses and being observant when it comes to changes in how your vehicle drives. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to get your vehicle checked before your next big trip, just stop by.

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