Vehicle Vigilance Pays Off

As a vehicle owner, you probably keep a close eye on your fuel gauge to avoid running out of gas. You may even like to wash your auto every weekend and vacuum the interior on a regular basis. However, what you may not realize is how important it can be to keep an eye on the parts you can’t see.

Fluids

Checking the engine fluids is an easy task and one that is critical to proper engine performance. Oil should be at optimal levels as indicated by the marks on the dipstick or by the electronic gauge. Moreover, the oil should appear clean; cloudy or murky oil needs to be changed. If newer oil appears soiled that may indicate a more serious problem with the engine and is worth a trip to a trusted mechanic. Transmission fluid, coolant and antifreeze are also usually fairly easy to check and catching a problem early can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run. Windshield wiper fluid obviously has no bearing on engine performance, but anyone who has driven with mud or rain splattered all over the windshield will testify to its importance.

Filters

Just as fluids need to be checked, so do the filters that keep them clean. An intact, clean oil filter will help keep oil pure. Coolant filters help distribute the fluid and keep contaminating particles out. Transmission filters catch the excess fluid that may otherwise result in spillage. Air filters may be even more important: a donaldson air filter will keep the engine relatively free from road dirt that can impede the function of critical moving parts. Cabin air filters prevent outside dust from reaching the passenger compartment, making them crucial to your comfort and your health.

Rubber and Other Consumables

Several components of your car are rubber composites, called upon to stretch and contract constantly, making them prone to wear and tear. Timing and serpentine belts need to be checked regularly. Small tears or cracks indicate that replacement is necessary, as breaking during operation can be disastrous. Check the tread on tires and inspect for punctures; rub marks on the sidewall may be a sign that tire strength is compromised. Cracked, warped, torn or brittle windshield wipers will lead to visibility issues. Battery life is affected by many factors you have no control over, like weather conditions and temperature; but you can at least be sure connections are kept free of debris and corrosion. You don’t have to be a mechanic to know it pays to pop that hood.

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