automobile maintenance

Don’t Get Stranded – 4 Automotive Maintenance Checks You Must Perform Before Hitting the Road

Some people get flustered at the thought of automotive maintenance and repair.  However, you don’t have to become a car mechanic in order to stay on top of things and properly maintain your vehicle. There are many simple things you can learn to help keep your vehicle in the best condition possible, which is important before heading out on your next outdoor adventure.

Here are four helpful automotive tips:

1. Check Your Lights

Have you been driving around for months with a burnt-out headlight or turn signal bulb?  Who knows, right?  How many of us actually get out of our cars and check for proper functioning lights? The best way to stay on top of things like this, and avoid a fix-it ticket, is to check your turn signals and lights in the reflection of that shiny tailgate belonging to that big  SUV or truck in front of or behind you. Replacing headlight and turn signal bulbs is easy and something you can do yourself.

2. How’s Your Car Battery?

You’re ready to go to leave on our next adventure, but your battery is dead.  It may not be as simple as just installing a new one.  You must ask yourself, why is it dead?  Most likely a dead battery is due to two reasons: It’s old and it no longer holds a charge, or your alternator is not functioning properly, therefore it’s not charging your battery.  How can you test for this?  Jumpstart your car and test the battery with a volt meter while the car is running.  Generally on a cold start, your alternator is regulated to put out 14+ volts DC; if it’s below 13 volts at a cold start up, than your alternator is most likely not functioning properly.

3. Tire Pressure

Your car’s tire pressure is nothing to be overlooked.  Improperly inflated tires are unsafe tires.  A tire that is over-inflated can cause uneven tread wear, and an under-inflated tire can hinder load capability and gas mileage by causing an unnecessary increase in rolling resistance.  Check for the “max psi” rating on your tire’s sidewall, and stay within 5 PSI under that max rating.

4. Oil Changes

Regular oil changes will help keep your car or truck running in tip-top shape. Depending on the type of car or truck you have, changing your oil may be something you can do yourself. There are plenty of videos and online tutorials available on how to change your oil. Sometimes though, it’s better to leave this to the professionals. Having a mechanic you trust perform regular maintenance such as oil changes can help you save money in the long run. While performing the oil changes, they are likely to spot other possible problems and prevent them from turning into costly repairs.

Sometimes you don’t know until you try.  The more you know about your car, the more confident you will be to spot the problem when something (inevitably) goes wrong with it. And don’t forget about maintenance for your snowmobile—address potential problems before you head out on the trails.

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Bemidji, MN 56601

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