In an age when cars seem to be able to do everything but drive themselves, and that day may be just around the corner, many car owners abdicate their duty to do routine maintenance checks on their cars. One of today’s car misconceptions is trusting that all’s well as long as none of that array of dashboard warning lights that shine brightly each time they start their cars, go out, and don’t go back on.
The Continued Importance of Owner Vigilance
Yes, those indicators will come on when things get below a certain level, but at that point filling the tires, adding oil, coolant, or brake fluid becomes a priority that may not fit in with a driver’s schedule. On the other hand, by making a routine walk-around check part of weekend chores, the wise car owner can respond to his car’s needs before any of them become a full-blown hazard.
One of the best purchases a car owner can make is a basic stick-type tire pressure gauge. It fits into a car’s glove box, and measures tire pressure, or psi (pounds per square inch) by notches. This simple instrument allows anywhere/anytime checks. Knowing how to use it and the vehicle’s recommended tire pressure, which can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker inside the driver side front door allows anywhere, any time checks.
Oil Level Checks
While gasoline may keep your engine fueled and ready to go, oil is what keeps its myriad internal parts lubricated and running. Making sure a sufficient amount of clean oil is circulating can extend the life of the engine. letting it run low can shorten the car’s lifespan, and even cause irreparable damage. All a driver needs to check his oil is a clean rag and the engine’s dipstick. If unsure of where the dipstick is, the owner’s manual can be consulted. Consumer Reports recommends routinely checking the oil after every other gas fill up.
Other Essential Checks
Yes, a properly functioning car can be trusted to warn when a driver’s immediate attention to his car is needed but the worst time for one of these lights to come is in the middle of a family vacation. In addition to oil and tire pressure, the Car Care Council recommends checking lubricant, brake, power steering, transmission, and washer fluids as well as the condition of the wipers, belt and hoses before setting out on a summer or holiday trip.
Of course, should any indicator light come on, contact us so we can remedy the particular situation.