Knowing Car Maintenance

Dear Tracy,
My uncle recently passed his car on to me, and while I appreciate the gift, I am concerned that he was not good about keeping up with the necessary auto maintenance. I plan to take the car in for inspection and maintenance services, but before I do, I would like to check things out for myself. Not only do I want to be familiar with my car, I want to be an informed consumer of auto products and services. Can you tell me what things I can check out myself ahead of time?
Karla S.

Dear Karla,
You are wise to take care of your car before you have problems, and it is always a good idea to educate yourself on car maintenance.
Your decision to take your car in for a professional  inspection is a good one. Auto safety is extremely important, and your trusted auto service provider can make sure your car is in peak condition. That said, there are some basic things you can check on your own regarding simple auto maintenance:

Air Filter – this simple, but important maintenance step will help keep your engine clean.

Oil Check – oil changes are necessary, but it is also important to regularly check your oil

Engine Leaks – these are a sure sign of trouble, but easy to miss – watch for them

Accessory Belts – worn belts can mean big problems – catch them before they break

Wiper Blades – blade condition means the difference between good visibility and bad

Exterior Lights – take the time to make sure your lights are working

Tire Condition – make sure the tread looks good and that the pressure is right

Being an educated vehicle owner is important! In the next few weeks, we will offer a little more in depth advice on some of these checks, so stay tuned. Knowing your vehicle and finding a trusted local auto service professional will keep you driving safely, reliably, and efficiently.