At least once a month…
- Check Your Tires
Use a tire pressure gauge to make sure your vehicle’s tires are properly inflated. Also, walk around your car and do a visual check to make sure the tires look even.
- Test Your Lights
You might be surprised how often people don’t notice when their lights aren’t working, especially the tail lights. When you’re not out on the road, check every light on your car, including headlights, reverse lights, brake lights, turn indicators and any other lights your particular vehicle has.
- Look for Leaking Fluids Under Your Car
Check regularly for any kind of fluid accumulating under your parked car. A little bit of water is usually from the air conditioner which is generally not a problem as long as it’s a small amount. If your car leaks more than a few drops of anything other than water you should investigate, even if means taking your car to the mechanic. Cars can leak everything from oil to transmission fluid to antifreeze.
Tip: Put a piece of paper under your car overnight to catch the drops and examine the color and amount of liquid you’re losing.
Every 6 months…
- Make Oil Changes Regular
One maintenance measure you should never put off is changing your vehicle’s engine oil. Oil keeps all the moving parts of your engine running smoothly, improves your car’s performance and reduces the need for repairs.
Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out how often your oil needs changing. A general rule of thumb is every 3,000 miles or every six months, whichever comes first. We offer quick, no-pressure oil changes in Springfield, Scappoose and Tigard.
- Change Wiper Blades
It’s easy to forget windshield wipers are one of the most important safety features on any vehicle. If your wiper blades aren’t in good shape you risk poor visibility from rain, snow and sun glare, which can lead to car accidents.
Once a year…
- Get a Cooling System Flush
Your car’s cooling system protects the engine from overheating by circulating coolant through the engine block area. If you don’t change your coolant within recommended intervals it becomes acidic and can’t cool your engine properly. An overheated engine can lead to a blown head gasket — a very expensive repair.
Get a cooling system flush at least once a year or as often as your vehicle’s owner’s manual suggests.
- Replace Transmission and Gearbox Fluids
The fluids which lubricate the metal parts in your gearbox should be replaced regularly, otherwise gears can damage each other when they touch.
Self-shifting (a.k.a. automatic) cars, trucks, and SUVs need new automatic transmission fluid at regular intervals too. This helps protect against corrosion, rust, and general wear so your vehicle can keep shifting smoothly.
- Listen to Your Car
An unusual car noise can be a warning sign something is wrong. Here are a few of the most common car noises to listen for:High-pitched squeal which stops when the engine is off:
It could mean your engine belt needs to be readjusted or replaced. If the belt is frayed, cracked, or glazed, it definitely needs replacing.Squeal when you step on the brake:
Your brake pads may be worn. If they are, they should be replaced immediately.
Clicking or rattling when your engine idles:
This could mean a lot of things, but it’s likely that your engine oil is low. Rattling can also indicate a damaged heat shield. Either way, it’s time for a maintenance check-up.
Loud knocking in your engine:
This kind of noise is hard to diagnose, but there’s a chance it’s a worn out rod bearing, which could destroy your engine. Pull over and call for road service to be safe.
- Don’t Ignore Warning Lights on your Dashboard
Because dashboards are laid out differently, the icons on your dashboard can be confusing — especially if a new one shows up you haven’t seen before.Click here to read a list of the most common lights auto manufacturers use and what they mean.
- Keep Your Car Clean
It might sound simple, but giving your car a regular cleaning is one of the best ways to keep it in good shape inside and out. This includes the parts you can’t see too. You’ll want to make sure everything under the hood gets cleaned every now and then.
Tip: If you decide to clean the engine yourself, make sure you wait until the engine has completely cooled down since the last time you drove.