Its common knowledge that serious car accidents can be linked to poor vehicle maintenance, and in light of that, April has been designated as National Car Care Month. The Car Care Council has made a list of checkpoints to help keep your vehicle running at optimum performance year-round. Here is what they suggest:

  • Check all fluids and refill them if necessary. This includes any engine oil, power steering fluids, brake fluid, transmission fluid, antifreeze/coolant, and windshield washer fluid.
  • Look carefully at all belts and hoses for signs of undue wear, and to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed or loose.
  • Inspect the battery connections to ensure they are clean, tight and corrosion-free. Replace the battery if necessary.
  • Check the brake system each and every year, and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change. If your brake pads need to be replaced, don’t delay.
  • Examine the exhaust system for any leaks. Be sure to watch for signs of damaged and broken supports or hangers if there is any unusual noise because exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected immediately.
  • Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system because proper heating and cooling performance is crucial for interior comfort and for defrosting and other safety considerations.
  • Pay close attention to the steering and suspension system annually. This includes examining all shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related parts.
  • Examine the tires, looking for bulges and bald spots. Also check tire pressure and tread wear. Uneven wear can indicate a need for wheel alignment.
  • Check the wipers and lights to be sure you can see and be seen. Check wiper blades and replace worn ones so that you can see clearly when driving during precipitation. Make sure that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly.
  • Take your vehicle for a tune-up to ensure the engine is delivering its best balance of power and fuel economy, while producing the lowest level of emissions.

Drivers have a responsibility to ensure that they are not putting their lives, or the lives of others at risk by driving an unsafe vehicle. A thorough inspection of your car or truck this spring will keep your car safe and dependable, while helping to ensure the safety of those who share the road with you.