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The Five Overlooked Car Maintenance Items

William Maley
by William Maley
August 11, 2014
3 min. Reading Time

Aside from your house, the most important and expensive item you have is your car. It is the product that gets you to your job, visit your family or friends, takes you on adventures, and number of other things, Now most of us know that getting the oil changed is a key part of keeping a vehicle running healthy. But there are a fair number of maintenance items that get overlooked and cause a vehicle's lifespan to slowly deteriorate.

But don't fear. Autobytel has picked the top five overlooked maintenance items that shouldn't be overlooked.

Reading Your Owners Manual

No matter what type of vehicle you own, there is an owners manual either in the vehicle or available online. While the manual features such insights as to how to operate the climate control system and why it's a bad idea to park under a pile of leaves, the manual also has key information on what type of fluids and gasoline you should be using. There's also a section listing a regular maintenance schedule with items such as when to change belts in your engine and transmission fluid; key information on keeping your vehicle in top health.


Checking and Topping Off Fluids

There is one type of fluid we keep a close eye on when driving around in a vehicle; fuel. How much do I have currently and when should I fill up? While fuel is one of the main fluids to keep your vehicle going, there are other fluids that play a vital role in a vehicle's health. There's the engine oil which keeps parts of the engine lubricated; coolant which keeps the water in the engine from freezing and boiling, and prevents corrosion; transmission fluid which lubricate the gears; and power steering fluid which keeps the steering rack in tip-top condition.

Checking these fluids is very important as it keeps components in good shape, but also can give you an indication that something is wrong. Now if you don't know where to check your fluids, you can either look in the owners manual or ask your mechanic to show you the next time you bring your vehicle in for service.


Checking Your Tire Pressure and Rotating

The most important safety component on your vehicle are your tires. This rubber circle plays a key role in moving the vehicle, bringing it to a stop, and keeping it on the road. But many people seem to overlook this key item when it comes time for vehicle maintenance.

There are two key maintenance items when dealing with tires. The first is checking your tire pressure. This keeps tire wear even, provide better traction on the road, and improves your fuel economy. Most of us tend to forget till we take a vehicle in for service and the mechanic mentions to you that your tires need air. Most mechanics and all tire manufactures recommend checking your tire pressure every month. You can do this yourself by having a tire pressure gage in the vehicle and reading your owners manual to find the recommended pressures.

The second overlooked item is rotating your tires. Again, this is for the even wear of the tires and improving fuel economy. Most mechanics agree on rotating tires either every six months or 50,000 miles. Dependent of what type of drivetrain your vehicle has (i.e. front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, etc), the auto manufacturer has a recommended way of how the tires should be rotated which can be found in the owners manual or a service manual.


Wiper Blade Replacement

Do you find yourself having a hard time looking out your windshield because there are streaks and patches of precipitation being left? Then thats a good sign that your windshield wipers need to be replaced. It seems like an obvious item, but many mechanics say that wipers are one of the most forgotten items on a vehicle. Wipers play crucial role in safety as it clears the windshield of rain or snow to provide better visibility. On average, mechanics recommend changing wipers every six months. If you live in area that gets very hot or experiences long winters, its recommended that you change them more often.


Finding Out What Your Check Engine Light Is On For

Its the light we all dread about every time we start our vehicle. No, not the low gas light; the check engine light. This is the vehicle's way of telling you that something isn't quite right. Now it would be nice if the vehicle would tell that you didn't screw on the gas cap or that an O2 sensor needs to be replaced (two possible reasons why the light would be trigger), but sadly it cannot. Now at this point, most people just ignore the light. This is a bad idea as more problems may come up and you ending up with a larger repair bill. Mechanics recommend bringing your vehicle in to have it scanned by a computer. The computer will be able to read and give the mechanic an explanation of why the light is on.check



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