As winter comes to an end (fingers crossed), it’s time to give your vehicle some much-needed attention. April is National Car Care Month which brings awareness to the importance of vehicle care and preventative maintenance. From the exterior to the interior, it’s important to check all the components of your vehicle.
1. Listen, Look & Smell for Maintenance Needs
Listen for any noises when you brake. You shouldn’t feel any pulling to one side, vibration, sharp grabbing, or notice any unusual smells when pressing on the brakes. Bring in your vehicle for a brake inspection is you notice any of these signs.
Look for wear and tear on your wiper blades. Also, look for unusual wear to tires—bubbles or bumps in your sidewall and uneven wear on your treads.
The only thing you should smell is your air freshener. A leaking muffler can send a dangerous exhaust smell into your car. Antifreeze has a sweet smell, if you’re getting a whiff of it you might need some maintenance.
If your vehicle is squealing, ticking, grinding, or just plain stinky it’s probably trying to tell you something.
2. Check for Recalls
You can enter your vehicle’s identification number (VIN) on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website and it will pull up any recalls that pertain to your vehicle within the past 15 years. It’s important to take care of any recalls so that they don’t turn into a bigger problem down the road.
3. Check Fluid Levels
Spring should serve as an annual reminder to have all your fluid levels checked, refilled, or changed. The cold temperatures of winter can deplete fluid levels, so be sure to inspect (or have a trusted technician inspect) your:
- Brake fluid level
- Transmission/Transaxle fluid
- Differential fluid
- Transfer case fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Battery water
- Oil level and quality