Timely and proper maintenance is essential for members to keep their vehicles reliable and running safely. Some motorists do-it-yourselfers are comfortable under the hood, but most members need to realize that there is more to maintenance than swinging into the shop for the “early bird special” oil change.
As the Car Care Council surmises: maintenance is less costly than repairs – in more ways than one. Properly maintaining vehicles helps members avoid expensive repairs down the road, as small problems only get bigger when they are neglected. Also, what price is there on safety?
Of course, members should review the owner’s manual for general maintenance guidance. When buying a used vehicle, make sure this manual is in the glove box. Of course, it’s always best start with a “healthy” vehicle purchased from a reputable dealer. For instance, Enterprise Car Sales’ certified used vehicles pass a 109-point inspection by an independent ASE-certified technician and are backed by a 12-month/12,000-mile limited Powertrain warranty1 and a seven-day/1,000-mile repurchase agreement.2 [Need standard 12/12 and 7-day disclosures]
The following check list can serve as a handy reminder for members of the general maintenance they should be conducting.
- Engine Oil – Check the oil level, if low, add the proper amount to return to “full” line on the dipstick. Follow manufacturer recommended guidelines on the proper intervals for changing the engine oil and filter. This interval can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer.
- Tires – Check the air pressure to ensure proper wear and performance. Manufacturer recommended air pressures are found on the tire plaque often located on the driver’s door jam.
- Transmission Fluid – Check the transmission fluid for proper level and condition. If fluid is dark in color or smells burnt, a transmission service maybe required. Service intervals vary by manufacturer; please refer to the owner’s manual for the proper interval. Some manufacturers do not require a transmission service.
- Coolant – Check the coolant reservoir for proper coolant level. Do not remove the radiator cap.
- Lights – Any malfunctioning lights should be replaced.
- Windshield washer fluid – Make sure the reservoir is full
- Wash the vehicle – Frequent washing prevents the elements from damaging the paint.
- Every 6 Months / 6,000 miles
- Rotate Tires – Rotating tires can extend the life of the tires.
- Check Brakes – Check brake linings for wear and hydraulic components for proper fluid level and leaks.
- Windshield Wiper Blades – Monitor for cracking, streaks, or chattering.
- Engine Belt(s) – Check for squealing, cracking
- Hoses – Check for leaks, cracks, or swelling. Replace if any of these conditions are present.
- Every 12 months / 12,000 miles
- Charging system and battery testing – Have the battery load tested to determine the overall condition of the battery and charging system.
- Exhaust System – Check for leaks and damage.
- Steering and suspension – These items will wear over time and need to be checked. Uneven tire wear, poor ride quality, and popping noises when steering could indicate a problem.
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