Spring is here and its arrival means warmer weather, more hours of daylight and spring break travel. As you set your clocks forward on March 11, and plan to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, take a few steps to make sure your vehicle is safe and road-trip ready, says the non-profit Car Care Council.
- Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving at night and during spring showers.
- Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Underinflated tires reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy and uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
- Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause the engine to lose power.
- Check the hoses and belts and replace if they become loose, cracked, brittle, frayed or show signs of excessive wear as they are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical, air conditioning, power steering and cooling systems.
- Check the brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
- Check if there is a defect in your vehicle on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website at nhtsa.gov/recalls by using the VIN look-up too. Watch a step-by-step video on how to locate your VIN and find out more about how recalls work.
“Checking your vehicle thoroughly and taking steps to have auto repairs performed before the spring and summer driving season will not only give you peace of mind, but will also help avoid the inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down when you’re miles from home,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. To order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit the council’s consumer education website at www.carcare.org.