The end of summer is near, this means it is back to school time. In order to make sure your vehicle is ready for increased use we have compiled a list of auto service preparations that you should do to keep your family's transportation safe and reliable.
Make Sure Your Vehicle is in Top Working Order
The key to safe transportation is to be driving a safe vehicle. J.C. Motors provides FREE vehicle inspections. See our coupon on the Current Specials page.
• Check your fluids. Though it may seem like no big deal, fluids actually play a crucial role in the overall health of your car. Make sure your vehicles have recommended fluid levels for coolant, engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and even windshield washer fluid. You can find your recommended levels in your owner’s manual.
• Check your tires. Tires are probably one of the most common problems. Look your tires over or have them looked over by a professional before you leave. Check your air pressure, refer to your owner’s manual or on your driver side door for your recommended PSI (pounds per square inch). Remember to only do this when the tires are cool -meaning you haven’t driven on them recently- so you get an accurate reading. Perform the quarter or penny test on your tread. If you pass then you are probably fine, if not you may want to replace. You will also want to inspect the sidewall for any bulges or tears. Don’t forget to check your spare!
• Check your brakes. It is imperative that you have properly functioning brakes always. Have a mechanic look at your brakes to make sure they are in good condition. While driving you should not hear squeaking or grinding when you brake. If you are hearing these noises, then it is most likely time for new brake pads and maybe rotors.
• Check your battery. Make sure the cables are tight to the battery, and check the battery terminals to make sure that they are free from corrosion.
• Check your air filter. Changing the air filter, if it needs it, will help get you better gas mileage. If you pull it out, and it’s visibly dirty and black then it’s time for a new filter. If it has been over 12 months or 12,000 miles since you have last had your air filter inspected, then it is really important not to skip this step.
• Check your wipers and lights. You want to make sure that you can see, and that you are being seen while on the road. Make sure all of your lights are working properly. Also check your wiper blades and fluid so that you can keep your windshield clean to reduce glare from oncoming traffic.
Use Safe Driving Practices
Driving safely is as important as making sure your vehicle is functioning properly. It is important to remember to always be respectful of other drivers and follow the rules of the road.
• Buckle up. Any time you enter a vehicle the first thing you should do is put on your seat belt. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 53 percent of drivers and passengers killed in car crashes were not wearing restraints. The CDC goes on to say that seat belts saved almost 13,000 lives in 2009, and that if all drivers and passengers had worn seat belts that year, almost 4,000 more people would be alive today. Seat belts are there to prevent needless injury and/or death, so no matter how uncomfortable they may be, put them on.
• Don’t Speed. Obeying the speed limit not only conserves fuel, but it also helps prevent speeding tickets and deadly crashes.
• Avoid distractions. Stay off of your phone when driving, don’t wear headphones, don’t eat a big meal and drive (handful of shelled nuts = good, giant burger that requires two hands = bad), if you have a pet with you make sure it is secure in the back seat and not climbing all over you. Avoid as many distractions as possible as they cause accidents. Have a passenger answer your text if you must answer it, or have a passenger drive while you eat.
• Don’t drive impaired. Do not consume alcohol or take any drugs, recreational or doctor prescribed, that will affect your driving in any way. If you are on the road with multiple people, assign someone as a designated driver. Take turns if you like. Just don’t let anyone behind the wheel when they are under the influence.
• To avoid collision don’t follow other cars too closely. Remember the three second rule. Watch the car in front of you. Look for something like a speed limit sign and once they pass it count one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi. If you pass it before you reach three Mississippi, then you are too close. In adverse driving conditions like rain, or snow then you should increase the count to six.
• Make sure you are seen. Turn on your lights at dusk or when it is raining so that other cars are sure to see you.
Help ensure your safety and the safety of others by knowing how your vehicle handles in an emergency situation in all kinds of road conditions. Test it safely, you may be surprised.
One last note...it is back to school time. That means be extra aware for often distracted children.
Get a vehicle check up at the end or beginning of every season.