Regular car maintenance is crucial to prevent your car from breaking down, having to make costly repairs, and being inconvenienced while the car is in the shop. Routine maintenance ensures there aren’t greater expenses and burden later on down the road. The following are some of the major areas of car maintenance you should never overlook, brought to you by Altra Insurance Services, leading provider of auto insurance San Diego.
Oil and Other Fluids
The engine oils, coolant, and brake and power steering fluids should be checked routinely to protect the vehicle and keep it running smoothly for the long haul. In particular, the engine oil is essential for managing the inner parts of the engine and must be changed more often than any of the other fluids. Check your vehicle owner’s manual to see how regularly you need to change the oil. Remember the oil is a vital lubricant that prevents severe damage to the engine. Keep oil at the proper level, and replace it as needed—you don’t want it to get dirty or too thin. While you check the oil, also inspect the other fluids. Your car relies on them as well.
Belts and Hoses
Belts and hoses need to be maintained regularly to avoid unwanted repair bills, potential injuries, and breakdowns on the road. They keep the engine functioning properly and maintain safety for you and your passengers. Belts and hoses get worn down over time from basic use. Extreme temperatures can also cause damage to them.
Belts perform a vast amount of jobs inside a car, controlling the engine valve’s intake and exhaust, water pump, alternator, and power steering. If the belts become worn or damaged big problems such as engine overheating may develop.
The hoses move vital liquids like coolant or brake fluid to preserve the vehicle’s performance. A damaged hose can cause leaks, which can then lead to major complications like the engine overheating or failure of the car’s power steering or water pump. If you notice a gas or burning smell while the engine is running, you should have the hoses checked immediately for a coolant, oil, or transmission fluid leak.
As for the belts, you’ll hear unusual noises when there’s a problem, such as a squealing noise when the engine accelerates or when you turn the steering wheel sharply in either direction while parking, or a slapping, whirring, or grinding sound while the engine is running. Don’t wait for your belts and hoses to break down before you have them fixed. During routine maintenance, always check the belts and hoses for any signs of damage.
The air filter prevents dirt and other contaminants from building up in the engine and making a car less fuel efficient and causing more serious problems, such as the engine misfiring. By maintaining a clean air filter, you’ll prevent such problems. Air filters are easy to replace and you should replace yours frequently, like every 10,000 miles (or more often in areas with a lot of traffic, smog, and/or congestion).
Tire pressure and wear can seriously ruin a car’s performance and create significant safety concerns. The tires should be routinely inspected to maintain the right air levels. Tires with too much or not enough air in them can cause decreased fuel efficiency among many other problems, such as damage to the suspension and steering systems. Since tire pressure always decreases over time, inspect the tires regularly and look for any damage, including punctures and embedded objects. In addition, you should routinely have your tires rotated, balanced, and aligned.
In addition to avoiding the above car maintenance oversights, you also need to avoid having the wrong insurance for your vehicle. For reliable and affordable car insurance, reach out to Altra Insurance Services. We also offer motorcycle, homeowners, renters, and commercial insurance. San Diego residents can call 619-474-6666 today for a free quote.