April, which is Car Care Month, is the perfect time to take care of your routine car maintenance. It is also a good time to get into the habit of taking care of your vehicle every month. When I bought my car, a 1998 Chevy Lumina, it was almost in perfect condition. This is because it was cared for and maintained on a regular basis. Here are some tips to help you maintain your car this month (and always).
#1 Car Care Tip: Wash the exterior of your vehicle. If you haven’t yet washed this winter’s salt from your car, do so now. If salt sits on your vehicle’s exterior too long, it may start to rust. If you don’t have time to wash the car yourself, drive through the car wash, but choose a wash that includes a protective topcoat to help shield your vehicle’s paint finish.
#2 Car Care Tip: Vacuum the interior of your vehicle. I never vacuum my car’s interior during the winter so, by the time spring comes, the floor and seats are pretty dirty. Make sure to remove garbage and vacuum under the seats, too.
#3 Car Care Tip: Wipe down the dashboard. If your dash gets dusty like mine, I recommend using Armorall’s dashboard wipes to wipe it down. You can get them for different dashboard finishes, such as gloss, leather, and matte. Don’t forget the steering wheel!
#4 Car Care Tip: Check your vehicle’s oil level. If you have just stopped the car, wait until the engine has cooled down for a bit. If it is too low, add a little oil at a time. And if your car is due for an oil change, do that now, as well.
#5 Car Care Tip: Check lubricants and fluids in your vehicle. Besides engine oil, the coolant, transmission fluid, washer fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid levels should all be checked.
#6 Car Care Tip: Check your vehicle’s tire pressure. Low tire pressure decreases gas mileage and tire life. Test the tire pressure, as well as the tire depth, to make sure you are getting the most out of your vehicle’s tires.
#7 Car Care Tip: Check the windshield wipers. If the windshield wipers on your vehicle aren’t functional, replace them. They don’t cost much to replace and doing so will make driving in a downpour much less stressful.
#8 Car Care Tip: Make sure all the lights work. Test all the lights on your vehicle and replace any that have burned out. Check the: headlights, brake lights, parking/tail lights, signals, dash lights, and license plate lights, as well as any others that you may have.
#9 Car Care Tip: Test your vehicle’s battery. Look at cables, clamps, and terminals to make sure your battery is properly clamped down. While you are down there, take a look at the belts, hoses, air filter, PCV filter, radiator cooling fan, and anything else that is under the hood. Then make sure all the mirrors and the horn are in working condition.
#10 Car Care Tip: Stock your vehicle’s tool kit. You should always keep an emergency maintenance kit in your car in case something goes wrong. You need to at least have a first aid kit, jumper cables, a spare tire, a tire pressure gauge, and a flashlight in your vehicle.
Source:National Car Care Month, Personal experience