6 tips for vehicle upkeep

With a little bit of regular work you could save yourself a nice chunk of cash, as well as less time in the garage and more time on the roads,  just by maintaining your car.
A huge proportion of accidents are caused by faulty brake systems, poor tire treads and worn out drive belts. While car maintenance can’t rule out accidents all together, it can increase the safety of your car.
Furthermore, a well maintained car enhances reliability and performance, is better for the environment and can gain you a higher resale value should you ever decide to part ways with your vehicle. Not sure where to start? Fear not; we put together this list of simple ways you can keep your car up to scratch:

1.Look after your tires

According to safercar.gov, more than 11,000 tow-away crashes annually are partially caused by tire issues. There are several different ways that you can maintain basic upkeep of your tires:

·    Inflate your tires properly: Tire pressure can reduce over time, which, according to the NHTSA, makes your car three times more likely to end up in a severe crash. While a decrease in pressure can cause serious damage, over inflated tires have also been known to cause problems. Use a gauge and check your tire pressure around once a month, using the number in your vehicle manual as a guide.

·    Rotate and realign: Every 6,000 to 8,000 miles you should rotate and realign all four of your car tires. This should help to avoid any uneven wear.

·    Change your tires seasonally: When it comes to Canadian winters it is near impossible to get by without changing to snow tires. Avoid accidents and make sure your car is winter ready by changing over to winter tires before the first snowfall in winter, and switched back to your regular tires in the spring.

·    Keep an eye out for tire damage: This includes punctures, tears and bulges in the tire wall. If you’re a little unsure about potential damage, consult a professional.

·    Put into practise good driving etiquette: Tire maintenance is key but did you know that adopting better driving habits can also increase the lifespan of your tires. Try to avoid sudden stops, starts and turns; as well as rubbing against curbs when parking on the street.
It should go without saying, but always obey speed limits. Faster driving can reduce tread life. Additionally, be careful how much weight you load into your car.

2. Check your fluid and oil levels

A simple under the hood inspection can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Fluid includes your coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid. You want to make sure that all of these are filled to their correct levels and that there are no leaks.
Use a dipstick to determine how your oil is doing, and change it as per the schedule dictated in your car owners manual.

3.Make sure your lights work

By law all of the lights on your car must work. It is simple enough to check that everything is in working order, just flip on your lights and walk around the car. Obligatory lights include side and taillights, headlamps, direction indicators and stop lights.
Aside from being pulled by cops, having no lights can also be a safety hazard by restricting your vision and your visibility to others. If you find that a bulb is out, take it to an expert who can determine whether the root of the problem is the bulb or the fuse.

4. Replace your windshield wipers

No one wants to get caught in a sudden downpour when their windshield wipers have packed in. However, this could be the reality if you put off changing them after a break. Visibility is key when driving, so make sure changing broken wipers is a priority.

5. Check your air filter

A blocked air filter causes airflow to decrease and limits the ability of clean oxygen to mix with the fuel. You will likely notice your gas mileage lowering, as unnecessary stress is placed on the car engine.
To check your filter simply hold it up to the light, if you can’t see light through it then chances are it needs to be replaced. A clean air filter will improve your cars overall performance.

6. Regular check-ups

There are several other car-care tasks- including inspecting the exhaust, flushing the cooling system and replacing valves, hoses and brakes- which can be done less frequently by experts in a repair shop. Make sure to go for regular check ups at your local garage to ensure your car is running smoothly.