TOPEKA, Kan. – Oct. 3, 2017 – October is Car Care Month, and AAA Kansas is advising drivers to prepare their vehicle before Old Man Winter is knocking on the door. Vehicle maintenance is key, and there are a few simple things every driver can do to make sure their car is road-ready for the winter ahead.
“Learning how to handle common maintenance issues is beneficial to anyone who gets behind the wheel,” said Shawn Steward, spokesperson for AAA Kansas. “Proper maintenance can extend the life of your vehicle and help prevent costly repairs.”
In the past, vehicle maintenance needs were relatively simple and consistent across automakers. Today’s engineering advancements require less maintenance at less frequent intervals. Examples, AAA Kansas notes, include oil-change intervals now recommended at 5,000 to 10,000 or more miles, transmission fluids designed to last 100,000 miles and sealed batteries that never need to have fluid added. Even with these advancements, vehicles still require routine services that are important to maintaining the performance and safety of the vehicle.
October is the perfect month to make sure your vehicle is winter ready. The weather is mild, and there is plenty of time to deal with the potentially costly repairs before winter weather sets in.
To ensure your vehicle is properly maintained, AAA Kansas recommends that motorists:
- Read the maintenance requirements set by your car’s manufacturer in the owner’s manual. There is no longer a “standard” maintenance schedule for vehicle services – including brake fluid. Each automaker has different requirements, making your owner’s manual the most accurate resource.
- Inspect brakes as recommended in your owner’s manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, pulling, noises while braking or longer stopping distance. Correct minor brake problems promptly. Check your owner’s manual to see if the brake fluid should be changed at a specific interval. If no interval is specified for brake fluid service, AAA Kansas suggests flushing the system every two years or anytime the brake system is serviced.
- Follow the recommendations of in-vehicle maintenance reminders, as they have the best information to determine maintenance needs for your vehicle because they account for how you actually drive. However, many reminder systems do not specifically cover maintenance operations that need to be performed on a time or mileage basis – such as brake fluid and coolant flushes or timing-belt replacement.
- Work with a local repair shop you trust - Every car requires routine maintenance and repair. The best time to find a mechanic or auto repair shop is before you need one. Start by asking friends and family for recommendations of repair shops and mechanics. Visit AAA.com to find nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, take your vehicle to your top candidate shop for routine maintenance. While there, talk with the employees and take a look at the facility and consider the following questions:
- Does the facility have up-to-date equipment?
- Were you offered a written estimate?
- Does the shop offer a nationwide warranty on parts and labor?
- Are customer areas clean, comfortable and well organized?
When having your car serviced, follow the factory recommended maintenance schedule to avoid under- or over-maintaining your vehicle. Oil changes, tire rotations, changing transmission fluid, and replacing an air filter are the types of routine maintenance recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. The maintenance schedule for these services and more can be found in the vehicle owner’s manual.
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