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The ABC’s of Car Service

For new car owners, it’s helpful to know what proper care looks like, and for experienced owners, it’s nice to have a refresher about the ABC’s of car care.

A – Always Follow a Preventative Maintenance Plan

One of the most important parts of vehicle maintenance is following its manufacturer’s recommended maintenance plan. The core component of that plan is regular oil changes, but drivers have more to do than that. In addition to oil changes, drivers should change the fuel filter, check the battery and keep the terminals clean, change automatic transmission fluid and filters, and occasionally change out the spark plugs. The car’s manual comes with a suggested schedule for all the preventative maintenance that it needs, so it’s a good idea to become familiar with it.

B – Be Sure to Take it to a Professional When You Suspect a Problem

Drivers can save themselves a lot of money by taking their vehicles to a professional when they suspect something might be wrong rather than putting it off because they don’t want to spend the money. Putting off repairs often makes things worse, as wear and tear can exacerbate the problem, which leads to higher repair costs. Whether it’s a weird sound or a component that stops working suddenly, take it to a repair shop and have it checked.

C – Correct Problems to Avoid Potential Safety Hazards

After drivers go to a repair shop for service, they should fix the problems. Sometimes that’s easier said than done as money is usually the only reason people choose not to complete the service. However, the risk of putting off repairs could result in higher costs and potential safety hazards. Not only do they risk breaking down away from home, but they also risk more detrimental damage that could ultimately put the vehicle out of commission.

D – Don’t Ignore Your Tires

With all the talk of engine care, another component that needs attention is the tires. Keeping them properly balanced, filled with air, and rotated can extend their lifetime. When the tires are in good shape, they help improve the vehicle’s mileage. The owner’s manual should include recommendations on how often to rotate and balance the tires. In general, drivers should rotate them every other oil change and balance them every 3,000-6,000 miles to keep wear evenly spread throughout the tread. It also helps if drivers check the air in the tires each time they fill up with gas, and refill as necessary.

Before you buy a new vehicle, you should understand the essentials of taking care of the car. Keeping the ABC’s of car care in mind can help you make the best maintenance decisions for your vehicle, which will help keep it on the road longer. Always check the owner’s manual for recommended schedules, and stick to them when possible. Even when money is tight, making your vehicle a priority will extend its life and performance throughout the years.