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Here are five easy-to-follow auto maintenance tips to keep your car running its best while staying safe behind the wheel. Follow these tips to save on costly repairs later.
The Penny Check
To determine if your tires are getting worn out and are about due for replacement, Free Service Tire Company recommends the penny check. Simply take a penny and place it in the groove of the tread pattern of your tire. If any of Abraham Lincoln's head is obscured by the tire, your treads are getting thin and it is time to have them replaced. If you can see Lincoln's head still poking through, your tires still have some useful mileage left in them without becoming unsafe.
Tire Rotation and Alignment Checks
Speaking of tires, just how often should you have them rotated to promote even and proper tread wear and extend your overall tire life? Experts recommend about every 6 months, or 6,000 to 8,000 miles. Taking the car in to have its tires rotated and balanced is also an ideal time to have its alignment checked. If your tires are out of alignment, they will wear on one side prematurely and the car will feel jumpy behind the wheel, pulling to one side when you take your hands off the steering wheel. Head in for an alignment so you do not end up in the ditch.
Oil Changes: Just Follow The Manual
While it used to be a good rule of thumb to just go ahead and change the oil every 3,000 miles, manufacturers are now often recommending longer service intervals between oil changes. Always follow the manufacturer's recommended interval between changes. Old, dirty oil is the quickest way to a damaged engine, so do not let it slip.
Fluids, Fluids, Fluids
Other than your engine oil, your car has several other types of fluids that should be changed at regular service intervals. Coolant should be changed every six months or every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, and do not forget about automatic transmission fluid, brake fluid and differential oil. All of these systems will serve you well for many years without complaint but only if you keep up with those fluid changes.
Brake Pads Now or Rotors Later
When your brakes start to make an awful squealing noise, the brake pads have reached their inner layer that has been placed there to let you know it is time to replace them. Do not ignore this warning sign, as if you fail to change the pads when they are at the end of their useful life, warped brake rotors will be the quickest result. A quick and painless brake pad job is now a hugely costly repair, all of which could have been avoided if you just listened to those pads.