With how often we drive our vehicles, it’s easy to forget how prone they are to wear and tear, especially when the holidays approach. Regular maintenance is a key requirement in the upkeep of your car, and holiday road conditions and weather can do a number on even the most well-cared-for vehicle. To keep your family ready to take on that holiday traffic when the time comes, here are some easy maintenance tips from your friends at Nona’s Auto Center:
Make sure your tires are in good shape:
Tire care is integral to the safety of your vehicle, and with the constant stop-and-go of holiday traffic and harsh winter weather, road conditions are at their most dangerous. Make it a point to change out your tires if over 5 years old and give them a thorough once-over for damage and wear. Check tire pressure and tread as well – bald tires and traffic just don’t mix. Your tread shouldn’t reach below 2/32 of an inch; if it does, it’s time to get new ones.
Check your lights:
While getting a fix-it ticket for a broken taillight is bad enough, not being able to properly signal to others on the road holds far greater potential consequences for you and your vehicle. To prepare your car for navigating the busy roadways this holiday season, find a helper and have them go through all the lights and signals your car is equipped with. This is best done at night for optimal visibility. Make note of each dim or broken light and signal and replace them as soon as possible.
Take a look under the hood:
Taking a look at what’s under the hood of your vehicle can be a daunting task, but every responsible car owner should get comfortable knowing how to check a few specific areas. Examine your car battery; if it looks swollen, bloated, or leaks, it needs replacing immediately. Also look for corrosion around the terminals – this will look like a white powdery substance where it’s hooked up to the cables. If you see corrosion, you can easily it yourself. With the engine completely off, remove the negative and then positive cables from the battery and clean with a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda mixed with one cup of water. Scrub with an old toothbrush until clean, and wipe with a damp rag. Dry completely, apply a dab of petroleum jelly to the terminals, and reattach first the positive then the negative cables.
While you’ve still got the hood popped, check any hoses you see for leaks, liquid, oil, or dried liquid residue. If present, it’s best to take your vehicle in for a quick check by a professional to be on the safe side. Make sure your oil, transmission, and brake fluid levels are all adequate, as well as your windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze levels.
Check your windshield wiper blades:
Lack of visibility on the road when the weather shifts can be scary, but also incredibly dangerous. Windshield wiper blades should be replaced annually, but even if you’ve gotten them replaced within the last six months, give them a once-over. If you see any cracks, chips, or loose rubber along the blade, they need replacing.
Get a professional inspection:
We know what you’re thinking, this was supposed to be a list of things you can do on your own to get your car prepared to face another busy holiday season! While much of this maintenance can be done on your own time at home, it’s always best to take your vehicle in for an inspection at a trusted auto repair shop. Let the professionals at Nona’s Auto Center take care of your vehicle’s maintenance needs, so you can focus on what matters most while you’re driving: the road!
To schedule an appointment, call us at (209) 632-2044. Nona’s Auto Center is conveniently located at 1565 W. Tuolumne Road, Turlock, CA 95382. Together, we can make the world a better place, one auto repair at a time.