It is common for moms to spend several hours, each day in the car. It is important to make sure the car seats are hooked in properly and bigger kids are seat-belted in, but learning some basic car care tips are beneficial for saving you time, money and preventing the possibility of being stranded on the side of the road. Keep a small notebook in the glove box with a maintenance checklist that includes checking and topping off fluids, maintaining tire pressure and making sure all of the lights work. Use your notebook to write down the dates of service appointments and any problem you are concerned about. The following tips are easy to remember and easy to learn.
Check the tires before you get in the car. Invest in an inexpensive tire gauge to check the air pressure. There is typically a sticker on the inside of the driver’s doorframe, in the glove box or under the cap on the fuel door that lists the amount of pressure required for the tires. Look at the tires to make sure there are no cuts, wear and tear or items stuck in the tire. It is best to check the air pressure in the tires before you drive, because it will be a more accurate reading. An easy trick to determine if the tires are wearing thin; hold a penny between your index finger and thumb and with Lincoln’s head turned upside down, put the penny in one of the grooves and if the head is not visible, the tires are worn down and you need new tires.
It is important to check all of the lights and turn signals on a regular basis to make sure there are no bulbs that have burned out. To check the headlights, pull the car up to a wall or preferably a glass storefront where you can see all of the lights at once, turn the headlights on, make sure both lights are working properly, then turn the high beams on and make sure they are operating correctly. The turn signals can either be checked in the same manner as the headlights or turn one side on, get out of the car, check both front and back turn signals and do the same for the other turn signals. Tail lights can be checked by backing up next to a wall, putting the car in park and pushing on the brakes, this will allow you to check both tail lights and the brake lights at the same time. If the glass over the light is cloudy, take it off and clean the inside or replace the cover.
The battery should be inspected before summer and before winter. Open the hood and look for any corrosion on the terminal, if necessary brush the corrosion off with a stiff brush. Always wear rubber gloves and goggles if you cleaning corrosion from the battery. Batteries that are four or more years old should be checked at least every three months.
Take notice of the wiper blades during rain or snow and if they streak while in use, wipe them off with a soft cloth to remove any build-up. If the blades continue to streak or scrape harder than usual against the glass, it is time to replace them. Tip: if you buy the wiper blades at an auto parts store, they will often put them on for you.
Oil and Other Fluids
If you do not how to find and read the dipstick on the different fluids, either read the manual that came with the car or have someone show you how to find and read them. Each dipstick has a maximum and minimum line for the fluids. Check the oil and transmission fluid on a regular basis to make sure there is enough. If you need to add oil or other fluids and are not sure where to put it, check the manual for instructions or ask a mechanic to teach you.
Guest post contributed by Taylor Ritchie for www.MyNRMA.com.au. Taylor is a freelance automotive writer. She enjoys writing articles for various auto blogs.