Do You Really Have To…

BY CLAIRE C.

Responding quickly to the deficiencies and failures within our own bodies is basic human instinct — from drinking water when we’re dehydrated to visiting the doctor when a high fever hits. It should be the same whenever a problem arises from underneath the hood of our cars. Most drivers wait until the “Check Engine” light flickers to life before performing maintenance. But, overlooking even the slightest problem may result in costly repairs down the road. Rather than drive on borrowed time, adhere to the following basic maintenance guidelines to not only extend your car’s life, but safeguard your own.

Change your Oil?

Changing your oil every so often is essential to the continuation of steady engine performance. The supply lubricates those fast-paced mechanisms and absorbs generated heat. Allowing the oil to break down can lead to serious problems, so make certain to have it checked and changed every 5,000-10,000 miles. You can get this done in a shop, but you can also do it easily at home. All you need is a wrench, funnel, new filter and pan.

Here are some product recommendations to help in this process:

  1. Mishimoto Magnetic Oil Pan Drain Plugs
  2. TruXP Chrome OEM Engine Oil Dipsticks
  3. K&N Pro Series Oil Filters
  4. Prosport Oil Filter Adapter Plate

Rotate your Tires?

Ensure even wear on your tires, and avoid bald patches, by rotating your tires at least once annually. Leaving the tires in the same spot for several years can leave your wheels susceptible to blowouts, and you could lose thousands of dollars in replacement tires. This maintenance can be done, often times for free, while receiving an oil change, at most tire repair shops or, if you prefer, the dealership. If you choose to do the rotation yourself, it’s crucial to remember these three things:

  1. You must remove each tire from the vehicle and move to a completely different positon. The front tires should move to the back and vice versa, and you should also switch sides of the vehicle.
  2. Check your brakes while your tires are off, as this is the easiest time to do so.
  3. Ensure the proper amount of air pressure is used.

Change your Air Filter?

Having a clean, breathable air filter in your vehicle is imperative to your engine’s performance. A bad air filter leads to poor air flow, leading to malfunctioning spark plugs and decreased fuel economy. Other symptoms may include strange sounds or billowing smoke, and even a gasoline-like smell at ignition. It’s recommended to swap out your air filter every 10,000 miles to keep your vehicle running clean and strong. If you prefer not to change your filter so frequently, you can upgrade to a performance filter that simply needs to be cleaned at regular intervals. It should also last the lifetime of your vehicle. You can also add a second line of defense with custom-fit filter wraps for the wetter or dustier environments.

Here are some more product recommendations for you:

  1. K&N Air Filters
  2. AEM DryFlow Air Filters
  3. K&N DryCharger Air Filter Wrap
  4. Volant HV Cold Air Intake Replacement Filters with Donaldson PowerCore® Filtration Technology

Check the Tire Pressure?

Maintaining the proper PSI for your specific vehicles ensures safety, fuel efficiency and all-around better functionality. Simply use your owner’s manual to determine the appropriate pressure measurement, and employ a tire pressure gauge to get a clear reading. Although several gas stations have these gauges, they aren’t always reliable. Stow one of your choosing in your glove compartment, so that you can read your PSI at any point. The result will be more accurate.

Some more product recommendations:

  1. AutoMeter Tire Pressure Gauge
  2. ARB Tire Inflation Gun
  3. VIAIR Tire Gauge
  4. ARB Digital Tire Inflator

conduct a Visual Inspection?

Your suspension and drivetrain are key players to your everyday commute. Checking for any visible weak spots or failing components not only saves you from a long weekday morning of being towed to a shop, but also protects you from unexpected accidents. This includes checking your shocks, brake rotors, wheels and steering components. If need be, replace any parts at the first sign of failure. You can also request that your mechanic perform these inspections when you’re having other services done to your vehicle, like an oil change.

Even more product recommendations:

  1. Bilstein B8 5100 Series Truck, Jeep & SUV Shocks & Struts
  2. StopTech Slotted Brake Rotors
  3. Skyjacker Hydro 7000 Steering Stabilizers
  4. Moog U-Joint & Components

WASH THE CAR YOURSELF?

Washing your ride might not seem as integral as replacing engine parts, but a clean exterior and interior can truly extend its life. Plus, who doesn’t love a clean set of wheels? Whether you hit your neighborhood drive-thru wash or prefer to take a more hands-on approach in the driveway, your vehicle’s resale value will thank you.

Yet more product recommendations for you to consider:

  1. Griot’s Garage Orbital Machine Polish & Wax Kit
  2. Griot’s Garage 6” Random Orbital Buffer
  3. Griot’s Garage Car Wash Soap
  4. Metro Air Force Master Blaster Car & Motorcycle Dryer

Top Off THE Fluids?

Aside from the aforementioned engine oil, there are several other fluids that should be monitored and restored within your ride to maintain peak performance.

  1. Radiator fluid keeps things cool under the hood and should be checked after your car has been driven.
  2. Transmission fluid is what keeps the more expensive repairs at bay by providing your transmission with the proper lubrication.
  3. Power Steering Fluid maintains proper control over your wheels. This can be checked in the reservoir under your hood.
  4. Brake Fluid is stored under pressure and is what aids in applying adequate force to your brakes. This is vehicle-specific and can be checked by the color of the fluid — darker fluid means it’s time for a change.
  5. Air Conditioning Coolant is also known as Freon, and is usually your best friend during the hotter seasons. This can be recharged to restore ultimate coolness inside your ride.
  6. Washer Fluid provides better clarity by removing bug-splatter and other unsightly streaks across your windshield. Just pour the fluid into your wipers’ washer reservoirs.

We have even more product recommendations for you:

  1. Motul Brake Fluid
  2. Red Line D6 Automatic Transmission Fluid
  3. TruXP Max-Cool Coolant Additive
  4. Motul 4100 Synthetic Blend Engine Oil

Test the Battery?

Testing your battery twice a year can catch electrical issues before it’s too late. A properly charged battery should read at least 12.6 volts to ensure full operation. This can help identify a dying battery before you’re left stranded. It also doesn’t hurt to have a spare battery in the garage in case of emergencies.

Check out these outstanding products:

  1. POD X1 Jump Pack Portable Jump Starter
  2. Braille No-Weight Batteries
  3. ePower 360 eFlex Portable Jump Starter
  4. ODYSSEY Batteries

Check YOUR Brakes?

Checking your brakes is extremely important. The easiest way to check your brakes is to safely make a short stop and test the responsiveness of your vehicle. If it grinds, squeals or doesn’t feel quite right, make sure to inspect the rotors and pads for signs of excessive wear. Replace if necessary.

We have some more products for you:

  1. EBC Yellow Stuff Brake Pads
  2. EBC Red Stuff Brake Pads
  3. Hawk HPS Brake Pads
  4. Hawk LTS Brake Pads

Check the Hoses, Belts and Wiring?

After all of the major performance parts, it’s still important to check your smaller hoses, belts and wires. A leaking hose or cracked belt may seem trivial, but going miles and miles with them could cost you. Many manufacturers, like Volkswagen and Audi, have pre-determined belt replacement intervals that can be found in your owner’s manual.

Check out these products:

  1. Mishimoto Flexible Radiator Hose Kits
  2. Demon Fuel Lines
  3. Dayco Drive Belt & Components
  4. ACDelco Drive Belt & Components