Routine maintenance saves in the long run

The Delta Optimist, special to the Westerly News Regular vehicle maintenance and careful driving are two of the most effective ways to prolong the life of your car.

Performing simple maintenance tasks can go a long way when it comes to keeping your car running longer and more safely, and to helping you avoid costly repairs in the future.

We rely on our vehicles as part of our daily routines, so it¹s important to ensure they are well maintained to protect our investment along with our wallet, according to representatives at the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, through its Be Car Care Aware program.

“By ignoring routine maintenance, you¹re putting your vehicle at a higher risk for more severe and more costly problems down the road,” says Marc Brazeau, president and CEO of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada. “The key to promoting vehicle safety and longevity is addressing minor issues before they become major issues.”

Here are a few routine checks that can keep your car running in top shape and save you money in the long run: Check your oil. Frequent oil changes are the easiest way to protect your vehicle from costly repairs. Neglecting to change your oil when needed, or running your vehicle with too little oil, can put stress on your engine leading to engine failure. Professionals recommend oil changes at least every 5,000 kilometres, but check your vehicle owner¹s manual for information about oil change schedules.

Perform tire rotation.

Front tires typically wear faster than rear tires, which is why it¹s important to rotate them every 10,000 to 13,000 kilometres, or as recommended by your vehicle¹s manufacturer. Tire rotation services are fairly inexpensive and can significantly increase the life of your tires.

Replace engine coolant. Engine coolant (or antifreeze) protects your vehicle¹s cooling system from rust and corrosion and prevents freeze up in the winter and overheating during summer months. Replace your engine coolant every two years or as prescribed in your vehicle owner¹s manual.

Replace brake pads. Squealing brakes can be a sign that brake pads need replacing, which tends to be a fairly inexpensive issue to correct. Ignoring your brakes not only greatly reduces the safety of your vehicle on the road, but may also cause larger, more expensive problems such as having to replace your brake rotors.

Pay attention to dash lights. Most new vehicles have dash lights that can warn you of various issues. Make sure to research the problem when you see one of those lights go on. If you ignore the issue, you may face even greater and costlier problems in the future.

By being diligent with regular maintenance, you can get the most out of your car and reduce the likelihood of an expensive auto repair the next time you stop by the auto shop.