5 Reasons to Get Regular Checkups for Your Car

by Lithium Technologies ‎04-06-2015 11:01 AM - edited ‎04-30-2015 11:14 AM (2,764 Views)

Regular vehicle checkups can reveal hidden problems before they become serious. Here are some things that require routine maintenance that you shouldn’t ignore.

 

Taking your car in for regular checkups is akin to getting your annual physical at the doctor—it helps spot potential issues before they’re problematic—and costly. Here are some things to watch for.

 

Air filters

You may be familiar with what happens when a home’s furnace filter is dirty and how the restricted air flow affects the furnace’s ability to properly heat the entire house. Your car’s engine faces a similar struggle when it has a dirty air filter. You might not think to check the filter when your car seems to be running fine, but a clogged air filter can affect your gas mileage and acceleration.

 

Fluids
You may know how to check your oil, but what about your vehicle’s other fluids? In addition to verifying they’re at the proper levels, make sure the color and clarity are appropriate for each specific fluid. For example, engine coolant is typically green, but it fades as it loses potency, which could lead to an overheated engine. It’s best to have your fluids checked regularly by an experienced technician.

 

Battery
A typical car battery lasts three to five years, but there are drains on the battery even when the engine is off, especially from alarm and aftermarket stereo systems. Corrosion on a battery’s terminals signals a problem, but even if the battery looks OK and seems to be running well, it could be nearing the end of its life. Have it tested whenever you take your vehicle in for service.

 

Brake pads
Knowing when to replace brake pads is easy, right? When you hear them squeal, take your vehicle to the shop. Well, it’s not that simple. Although brake pads are designed to squeal when they need to be replaced, brake-pad problems (such as uneven wear) can occur even when the brakes are silent and seem to work well. A certified auto technician has both the experience and the tools needed to check them properly.

 

Belts and hoses
It’s a good idea to periodically open your vehicle’s hood when the engine is cold and inspect its belts and hoses. This simple inspection can bring to light potentially serious problems, but an experienced auto technician can identify problems you might miss, such as a slipping serpentine belt that can damage the engine accessories it powers.

 

When in doubt, consult your owners manual for information specific to your vehicle, or call your nearest AAA Approved Auto Repair facility for assistance. AAA Car Care Plus (only available in Atlanta and Chicago) and AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities offer members a free 24-point inspection covering most of the components addressed here.

 

A version of this story appears in the May/June 2015 issue of AAA Living magazine.

 

Image credit/source: Image Source/Alamy

Comments
by DaveT123
on ‎06-30-2015 04:46 PM

I love all 5 of your reasons why it is important to get a regular car check up. My favorite has to be number 4 on the list to know if you need to replace your brake pads or not. Brakes are one of the most important parts of your car, and a regular check up will help you keep track of your brakes and see whether or not they need to be fixed or replaced soon. http://www.grantwert.mechanicnet.com/

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