Tag Archives: vehicle maintenance tips

Is Your Vehicle Not Handling Like It Used to? Here Are the Possible Causes

Vehicle Handling

Every vehicle owner is familiar with the feeling that something is a bit off with their vehicle’s handling. It happens to every car, sports utility vehicle, or truck eventually. One of the most common reasons why someone inquires about auto repair services is because they feel like their steering is off. Perhaps the vehicle doesn’t seem as responsive as it used to. Maybe it drifts. You could even feel like your vehicle requires more forceful steering wheel turns in order to get the desired motion. Whatever the specifics are, something seems wrong with how the vehicle is handling.

 

This is such a common problem that you’d think you could give a definitive answer to what was going wrong right away. Unfortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to vehicle handling issues. For those who aren’t so keen on doing their own auto repairs, think of it this way. Have you ever been sick and Googled your symptoms? You’d think a sore throat means strep or a cold. But it turns out that a sore throat is actually a symptom of a dozen different illnesses. Without going to a doctor, you’d never be able to properly figure out what is actually wrong. While you can guess, only a professional has the tools to give the proper diagnosis. It’s not too different when talking about your car or truck. Sure, you may have an idea of what’s going wrong, but a mechanic can properly identify where the issue with your vehicle’s handling is actually occurring.

 

The truth is that different parts of your vehicle could be causing that sensation of your vehicle not handling properly. If you’ve reached a point where your vehicle is behaving that way, it’s probably well past time to bring it into a mechanic to check out, anyway. It could be something that would have been caught during a routine maintenance visit several months ago. It’s good to have a general sense of what the issue could be before your appointment, however. While you may not be able to make the determination yourself about what is wrong, you won’t be so surprised when the mechanic comes back from inspecting your vehicle and lets you know what needs to be done. Here are some of the most common reasons why a vehicle can suddenly feel like it’s handling poorly.

 

Transmission Issues

 

Getting your transmission looked at is something you need to do a few times (probably) during the life of your vehicle if you keep it for many years. Alternatively, it’s something you need to do if you drive it long distances with regularity. You should at least get your transmission fluid changed when appropriate. It’s hard to give hard numbers on when you should, so consult your owner’s manual. However, keep in mind if you drive under stressful conditions (hard stops, stop and go traffic) often, then your transmission needs to get checked more frequently.

 

Now, unfortunately, transmission issues can be behind your vehicle’s odd performance. Generally, one of the most feared phrases one can hear come out of a mechanic’s mouth is “It’s the transmission” because it’s often a costly fix. As is usually the case, early intervention when it comes to transmission issues can keep repair costs down.

 

If it’s just your transmission fluid that’s old, getting it changed may be just the fix you need. However, if the fluid is so old and dirty that it’s causing noticeable performance issues, it could be that there’s damage already from particles in the fluid. If the gear teeth get worn down or break, a vehicle can slip out of gear, causing the handling issue you’re experiencing.

 

Tire Problem

 

If it’s not the transmission, and hopefully it isn’t, there’s a good chance that it’s something to do with your tires. In fact, this is probably the most common reason as many people tend to not take care of their tires as often as they should. To be fair, life is busy. Who is going to remember to do the penny test on their treads when the kids have three different practices to get to after school?

 

A variety of things could be going on with your tires that are causing the vehicle to handle oddly. The first thing you want to check is your air pressure. Whether it’s too low or too high, you’ll feel it. Low tires control poorly and you may hear screeching when making turns. Too much air makes you feel every bump in the road and can even cause a blowout.

 

Tires can also be misaligned or not secured. If you changed your tire yourself recently, make sure that it’s set firmly against the back disc. If the nuts on the tire aren’t secure, you’ll definitely feel a vibration while you drive. If you notice that one front tire is wearing down faster than the other, that usually signals an alignment issue.

 

Suspension Is Off

 

If the issue isn’t the tires themselves, it could be something very close nearby. It could either be something wrong with your suspension or an axle. When something happens to the suspension, the telltale signs are usually obvious. One thing to look for is a dramatic pulling to one side while driving. You may notice a sensation of bouncing up and down when coming to a stop. The vehicle doesn’t just settle into position anymore. An axle can get bent relatively easily. It takes some force, but it can certainly happen if you’re in an accident or hit a particularly deep pothole. A bent axle can alter a vehicle’s handling.

 

Brakes Need to Get Checked

 

Another common reason for poor handling is that there is something wrong with the brakes. Brake fixes are one of the most typical kinds of auto repair because often issues aren’t investigated until there are serious problems. There are many indicators that something is amiss with your brakes. You can hear them squeal or grind, feel them grinding, and in some instances even smell them. If it is your brakes that are causing your vehicle to handle oddly, it’s going to be while you’re trying to stop. If you’re just driving along and feeling yourself drift, that’s not going to be your brakes. But, if you’re feeling a pull when braking, you might have your culprit right there. Hopefully, it’s as simple a fix as getting your brake pads replaced. Of course, if you’ve been driving on damaged brake pads for a significant amount of time, you’ve increased the chances of causing damage to the discs or drums. If there are issues at that level, you could be looking at more serious repairs.

 

Conclusion

 

No matter what specifically is causing your vehicle to handle poorly, it’s important you get it fixed as soon as possible. It’s dangerous to drive for long with a vehicle that doesn’t respond properly to your control. Depending on the root cause, you could be driving on what’s shaping up to be a major repair. Come get it fixed before it turns into one. Contact us today to schedule a time to bring your vehicle in. At Independent Motors, we’re dedicated to doing right by our customers. We’ll be honest about the work your vehicle needs and we’ll provide the service at a fair price.

Why It’s Important Not to Overlook Tire Conditions

Why It’s Important Not to Overlook Tire Conditions

When it comes to our vehicles, safety and handling are top concerns. The two, of course, go hand in hand. But, some people make the mistake of focusing on the various parts of a vehicle as if they are their own entities rather than how they all work together to keep things going. This really isn’t the best approach.

 

Ask anyone what frustrates them the most about owning a vehicle. Barring the price of automobile insurance (maybe), the answer is probably how expensive the typical auto repair can be. Why do repairs end up being so pricey? Can’t this be done for less? The answer is yes, it probably could have been repaired for less. But, the opportunity for that was months ago before the perfect storm of multiple connected components failing occurred. That’s not meant to be chiding. Rather, in order to save money, it’s important to know that nearly everything is interconnected when it comes to your vehicle’s safety and handling.

 

This is all to say, “Hey, have you checked on your tires lately?” If it’s been longer than six months since your last tire inspection, you’re going to want to schedule an appointment to have your mechanic take a look.

 

Yes, in all of the talk of staying on top of your vehicle to make sure it’s handling fine, you need to be diligent about taking the proper care of your tires. Too often, we focus on the really glaring issues like grinding brakes or pulling to one side when driving when there are other things that should be checked before you get to that point.

 

What we hope to do is here is to stress how important it is to be mindful of your tires and how your tires relate to the other parts of your vehicle that are often the focus when it comes to auto repairs.

 

Why Tires Get Overlooked

 

Believe it or not, there have been studies done on people’s attitudes towards their vehicle’s tires and how many of the common dangerous conditions they could identify. Most respondents could identify at least one risk factor for tire failure, but only 4% could identify a major one: the age of your tires. It’s no secret that vehicle accidents cause a significant number of fatalities every year. What you may not know is that about 6,000 of those fatalities are tied to improper vehicle maintenance and tire failure.

 

Most people can identify worn treads and improper air pressure as major contributors to tire failure and accidents. That’s because you can feel those things to varying degrees while you’re driving. Improper air pressure can cause audible screeching or imperfect steering and handling. If your car isn’t stopping as quickly as it used to, one could suspect the tread has been worn down. It could also be your brakes. Which brings us to the next point about how all of these things are actually connected.

 

How Tires Relate to Brake and Steering Safety

 

The condition of your tires has a direct effect on how your braking and steering responds. It’s true that the condition of your brakes themselves are very important to how well your vehicle stops and responds to depressing the pedal. But, your tires are an equally important part of the equation.

 

Worn tires with low tread can be just as concerning as brakes that are on their way out. That’s because your vehicle will lose a great amount of its ability to “grip” the road as you try to stop. This can mean inaccurate steering where you can more easily lose control. The vehicle won’t be as responsive when trying to stop short. This is especially true if you’re driving in wet conditions. Rainy days can make having worn tread exceptionally dangerous because your ability to control your vehicle diminishes more than it normally would with properly inflated and treaded tires. When your vehicle’s handling begins to feel different, don’t automatically assume there’s something seriously wrong with your brakes or alignment. It could be something as simple as your tires being old, worn out, or not properly inflated. At this early stage, it could be a simple fix that helps solve your problems before they become more serious and expensive.

 

What to Look for When Evaluating Tires

 

So, you’ve seen how critical the status of your tires are to the safety and handling of your vehicle. You know that staying on top of their maintenance is not only important for the tires themselves but also your braking and steering. What should you look for then?

 

You should give your tires a once over every month or so. Sudden variations in temperature may prompt you to check your tire pressure more often because they will respond differently to hotter and colder temperatures. Tread can be checked with the good old penny method. For those who don’t know, you put a penny in the tread of your tires upside down. If Lincoln’s head is still visible, then your tread is too worn and you need to change your tires.

 

To circle back to the topic of aged tires being a silent danger, you should really consider changing tires that are over five or six years old. Ask your mechanic what would be best, but generally, after that point, you’re running a greater risk of sudden blowouts because the rubber is too worn down.

 

The Proper Maintenance

 

You should really be having your tires checked once a year by a professional to ensure that you’re driving safely. That’s because there may be issues that you’re not aware of that need to be addressed relatively soon. While checking your own pressure often is good practice, and even spot checking your tread, nothing can beat a mechanic with experience inspecting your vehicle. You may have cracks in the tire that could lead to an incident. Maybe the alignment of your tires is off. Perhaps the rim of the hub is in danger of tearing through the rubber. These are all things your mechanic will alert you to.

 

As part of your yearly inspection, you’ll also find out about the other possible issues with your braking and steering. Also, keep in mind that there are different tires for different seasons. There is a noticeable performance difference between summer, winter, and all year tires. Depending on the climate you live in, it’s important to know which tires would be best for you.

 

Easy way to save money

 

One of the easiest ways to save money is to rotate your tires every 5,000 to 6,000 miles. Tires wear unevenly depending on where they are located on your vehicle and where you drive. Rotating them routinely helps to even out the wear and prolong the tires life. Anyone who has purchased ties knows they aren’t cheap. So any means to protect your tire investment is money in the bank!

 

Conclusion

 

Making sure your vehicle is up to safety standards takes work. Auto repairs can be pricey, but they don’t need to be if you perform the proper maintenance. Many people don’t worry about their tires until it’s too late and there are real issues that need to be addressed in the immediate future. Combined with their effect on braking and steering, it would be unwise to overlook the importance of staying on top of proper tire maintenance. If you’re unsure if your tires are appropriate for the current season, if they are in acceptable condition, or if it’s time for new ones, call us today. The team at Independent Motors is dedicated to providing you with the best service at a fair price. Don’t take chances when it comes to your tires. Get them inspected soon.

Does the Heat Have You Stressed? Your Vehicle is Feeling it Too

Vehicles in the Heat

Our automobiles are built pretty tough. Two tons of metal being propelled by a controlled explosion pretty much has to be tough by definition. That’s a pretty cool way of describing a car and an accurate one if you think about it. But, our cars and trucks are not invincible as we are all inevitably reminded whenever we have to worry about what the next auto repair will be. Regular maintenance is part of responsible vehicle ownership. And, to be perfectly honest, if you want to save money in the long run you’ll want to keep up with your repairs. Smaller maintenance tweaks cost far less than major repairs when something goes wrong or, worse, you need to buy a whole new vehicle.

 

In order to effectively stay on top of your vehicle’s maintenance, it’s important to know when you need to keep on top of certain issues. Believe it or not, the weather can really put the hurt on your vehicle. That goes for extreme weather in either direction. But, as of this writing we’re in May, so let’s focus on how the hot summer months can really put additional stress on your vehicle. The summertime is ripe for causing situations where you would need to invest in auto repair. So, keeping an eye on certain parts of your vehicle would be in your best interest.

 

The main system you have to keep an eye on is related to cooling and powering that cooling. The cooling system of the vehicle itself along with the air conditioning to keep its occupants cool are put under heavy stress during the summer months. As a result of this stress, your battery can really suffer as well. Additionally, though not connected to the other components, your tires and oil are other components of your vehicle you’ll want to keep an eye on once the temperature really goes up. Here is what you need to know about these vehicle components that get especially stressed during the summer.

 

Batteries

 

It only makes sense to start with the part that powers all the others. It’s important to keep an eye on your battery all year, but the warm months are when it’ll be put under the heaviest load. But it’s not just usage that wears the battery down. Environmental factors play a big part.

 

Heat is especially bad for batteries. Vibration isn’t great either, but in a moving vehicle that’s hard to avoid. But, you can make sure your battery is properly secured to minimize issues. Thermal runaway is something you’re going to be looking to avoid. If you want a very in-depth read on the math and science behind battery thermal runaway you can check out this blog post. For many, the pictures of batteries will be enough to demonstrate the possible destructiveness. Have your mechanic make sure the battery is securely mounted and the charging output is correct.

 

Cooling Systems

 

Clearly, your cooling system will be working overtime to make sure your vehicle doesn’t overheat. This means being mindful of your coolant levels. Driving around with low coolant for too long can cause serious damage. There are two things when it comes to coolant that you should be mindful of. The first is that coolant, like any other vehicle fluid, will eventually break down due to use. Similarly to your car’s oil, your coolant contains compounds that protect your vehicle from conditions like corrosion, freezing, or boiling. And, similarly to oil, once coolant breaks down and damaging particles get through, major parts of your vehicle can get clogged and cease to work properly. In this case, it would be your radiator.

 

Running low on coolant and not replacing it regularly isn’t the only thing you need to be mindful of. An already damaged radiator or, more commonly, worn out hoses can also be causing you to lose coolant at an even faster rate. Because of the already intense outside temperatures, engine overheating becomes even more likely.

 

Air Conditioning Systems

 

Can you imagine driving around in high temperatures without being able to keep yourself cool? Pretty horrible, right? If you want to actually stand being able to be in your car for long periods of time, you need to make sure your air conditioning system is working reliably. It’s important to note here when you’re discussing auto repairs, air condition system repairs in particular can be very expensive if the issue is severe enough. That’s why you want to get out ahead of any issues.

 

You should bring your vehicle in so a mechanic can inspect belts, clear out any clogged vents, and check for leaks that could be an indication of a greater problem brewing. Your mechanic will also check your refrigerant to ensure there is enough present to optimally run your air conditioning system. With these simple maintenance measures put in place, you can avoid a full air conditioning system replacement.

 

Tires

 

If your battery, coolant levels, and your air condition system are all looking good, you’re in pretty good shape. But, your tires need some attention, too. People often forget about their tires and assume they’re always good to go as long as they’re not bald. But, the summer brings unique risks that can degrade your tires quickly.

 

To put it simply, the combination of high temperatures and low air pressure can make for a risky situation. While you should always be aware of the status of your tire pressure, the increased heat and very hot asphalt can cause issues with deflated tires more quickly. Temperature changes have a greater impact on air pressure than many people may realize. Always inflate your tires to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.

 

Oil

 

We’ve already touched on coolant and mentioned oil there, but it’s important to reiterate the importance of being cognizant of the status of your motor oil. All of your vehicle’s fluids are critical to proper function. Like with many vehicle components, they should be minded all year. But the summer brings its own challenges.

 

Hot engines need proper lubrication to run properly. They run even hotter during the summer, so the need for consistent oil levels is very important. In the past, you may have heard you need to use thicker motor oil for the summer. This used to be the case but many modern engines have done away with this requirement. This is due to the fact that most engine wear occurs during short period after start up and it’s easier for thinner oil to lubricate all the engine components quicker than thicker oil. The most important maintenance item to remember is to periodically check your oil levels to make sure they are where they should be and bring your vehicle in for regular oil changes to avoid the buildup of engine-damaging sludge.

 

Conclusion

 

If the hot weather has you feeling stressed, your car would agree if it could speak. The summer months, while fun to take a trip during, are really taxing on your vehicle. But, by keeping an eye on the above components and bringing in your vehicle now for some pre-summer maintenance, you can avoid more costly repairs. At Independent Motors, we strive to provide you with the best service at the most competitive prices. And we value honesty above all. We’ll be up front about what would be best for prolonging your vehicle’s life. Call us today to schedule a time to bring in your vehicle and get ready for the summer.

What Auto Makes Cost the Least to Maintain?

Low Maintenance Vehicles

There are many different factors the typical person takes into consideration when looking to purchase a new vehicle. Everyone has their own individual needs, but it’s safe to say we all generally look for the same things: space/size, mileage, durability, able to withstand local climate, price, and work-related needs. We want to get the most bang for our buck, so to speak, and a big factor in the decision we have to make when purchasing a vehicle is how much it’ll cost us over the course of the vehicle’s lifetime. After all, a relatively low price upfront can easily be offset over the years if you’re in constant need of repairs and costly ones at that.

 

There are two things to keep in mind when trying to calculate how expensive a car will be to maintain over the years you plan on keeping it: the frequency of repairs and how much these repairs actually cost. Repairs are inevitable, though of course, you want to keep them to a minimum. However, it’s important to acknowledge regular maintenance is what will keep your vehicle running well for longer. Secondly, some vehicles cost more to repair than others due to the specific parts, complexity, etc. You could find yourself in a scenario where a similar repair in two vehicles could cost more for one of them due to the nature of their build.

 

No one but you can say what motivates you the most when buying a vehicle. It could be status and luxury. But if you’re like many people, the bottom line is what will motivate you to make your decision. The question then becomes what brands cost the least to maintain? How about which ones are the most expensive? Do Honda repairs cost less than Lexus repairs on average? How about Toyota repairs? Are Audi repairs as expensive as one would think? We have a fairly good idea of what the answers are to those questions due to the wide variety of vehicles that have come through the shop over the years.

 

If you’ve been wondering which auto makes will help you stretch your dollar the most, we’ve got the information you need. Let’s take a look at some brands.

 

The Most Expensive Auto Makes to Maintain

 

In the grand tradition of the “bad news or good news first?” conundrum, we’re opting for the not so great news first so we can soften the blow in the next section. Now, if you own a vehicle by one of these brands, we’re not saying you’re going to need to dip into your children’s college fund to keep them running. But, know that on average these auto makes tend to cost a bit more to maintain relatively speaking.

 

If you have a preference for German cars, unfortunately, you’ll also be dealing with high repair costs due to German cars in the aggregate costing the most to maintain overall.

 

BMW tends to lead the pack here when talking about costs in the long term. It is true that maintenance and repair costs are low for BMWs if you’re talking about the first five years. During this initial period of ownership, the company offers free maintenance under warranty. However, once that warranty expires, you’ll begin to see costs pile up. On average, BMWs cost significantly more per year to maintain than other brands.

 

Mercedes-Benz and Audi are up there as well. But, not to pile too much on German manufacturers, Cadillac is high up on the list as well.

 

What luxury car models all have in common that make them so expensive to maintain is that they are more complex in their construction, making parts and labor more costly. For example, in the case of Audis, consider that while many cars allow you to replace the brake pads with minimal issues, an Audi model will have computerized sensors on the brakes which require a longer amount of time to navigate. Making this repair is more complicated.

 

Another important thing to note is that it’s not just luxury models. While nowhere near the highest in terms of cost, in fact it’s in the middle of the pack, brands like Kia can cost a good amount to maintain overall despite being some of the lowest cost vehicles up front. In fact, it’s the brands with the lowest sticker costs that cost the most to maintain after the luxury brands.

 

The Least Expensive Auto Makes to Maintain

 

If you didn’t see your particular auto make in the above section, you might be lucky enough to find it in this one. Here are some of the more cost effective brands when it comes to repairs. It may not surprise you to hear that Japanese cars tend to cost the least to maintain.

 

Honda repairs make the list for the least costly. Interestingly it isn’t so much because the parts and labor are extraordinarily cheap when it comes to the competition. Rather, Honda makes the list because of their remarkable durability and less of a need for repairs overall throughout their life cycles. Hondas are known to not only be durable but also great at retaining their value. This is why you can find even older Hondas with some clear wear and tear on them still fetching some incredible prices on the independent seller market.

 

Toyota repairs also cost less overall. In fact, they are considered one of the cheapest auto makes to maintain over a period of ten years and beyond. The reason for this is threefold. They consistently get high marks for the fewest incidences of “check engine” related lamp problems, their repairs aren’t as involved as some of their luxury counterparts, and generally, the parts needed aren’t very costly. Less of a need to perform repairs combined with lower repair costs when they do happen, make Toyota a popular brand with the budget conscious.

 

Nissan, while not in the lowest priced tier, is still relatively cost effective. It approaches Kia territory of the middle of the pack, while not being quite as expensive to maintain during the advanced years of ownership. As a brand, what makes them not quite as competitive as Honda or Toyota is the increase in repairs needed in some of the older Nissan models that are still on the road which aren’t quite as durable as models from recent years.

 

Conclusion

 

Whether you have a vehicle that is on the most expensive least or the least expensive, a big contributor to keeping costs down in the long run is performing regular preventative maintenance. By being serious about the upkeep of your vehicle, you can mitigate some of the bigger expenses that come up down the road with years and miles of wear and tear.

 

At Independent Motors we value our ability to deliver professional auto services at a fair price. We know that saving money when possible is important to you as a customer. We specialize in many different types of auto makes and we’ll perform the repairs needed to keep your car running reliably. Call us today and schedule a time to bring your vehicle in. Our experienced technicians will give you honest answers about the kind of repairs your vehicle needs and will perform them at competitive prices.

How to Best Prepare Your Vehicle for Spring

Get Your Vehicle Ready for Spring

When it comes to maintaining a vehicle, the first thing that springs to mind is cost. Why is it so expensive to get auto repairs done? Can’t they be done for cheaper? For many people, having to get their car or truck fixed is an unavoidable burden. After all, unless you live in some specific cities, it’s pretty hard to get around without a vehicle. There are a few things one can say to these understandably outraged sounding questions.

 

The first thing is to find technicians you can trust! We do exist. But instead of talking about the people doing your repairs, let’s talk about the bottom line and what is really the most important issue to you: your money. Owning a car costs money, there’s no way around it. But there ways to save more of that money in the long run and that’s by properly maintaining your car. See, many times when you bring your car in because something has gone wrong, you get hit with the information that there are actually many things wrong and this visit is going to cost you more than anticipated. This is not an unusual scenario and can sometimes feel like you’re being worked over a bit. Some shops may run that way. But, the truth is, if you’re suddenly surprised by a bunch of repairs that need to be done, it’s probably because the proper maintenance wasn’t done all along to upkeep the vehicle.

 

Taking proper care of your vehicle can help you avoid those situations where you hear that seemingly everything has gone wrong at once and you need to fix it or buy a new car. By maintaining your vehicle, you can keep it running for years and miles to come. That’s why it’s so important to take the changing of the seasons seriously. Making some maintenance decisions to properly meet the conditions the changing of the weather brings is an important part of extending the life of your vehicle. For the most part, you probably take winter pretty seriously. The fear of ice, other dangerous driving conditions, and the effects the cold can have on your car are well known and widely shared. But, the shift to spring requires its own tune ups as we’re about to discuss.

 

Here are some of the best ways you can prepare your vehicle for the spring. Getting into the habit of preparing your car for the changing seasons will help make sure your car gets to see more of them.

 

Get it Cleaned

 

This first tip is one that sometimes gets overlooked because it’s assumed that you’re only getting your car washed for aesthetic purposes. Everyone knows how dirty vehicles can get during the winter because of the snow, salt, and dirt that can accumulate. But, making sure to get your car thoroughly cleaned isn’t just about having it look presentable when you’re driving around in the warm spring weather.

 

That same salt that makes unsightly streaks on your car’s exterior could be wreaking havoc in your undercarriage. Salt can cause quite a bit of damage over time due to rust and corrosion. Your muffler, exhaust system, coil springs, brakes, and more could be experiencing corrosion due to this build-up of salt. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re washing it out.

 

Replace Windshield Wipers

 

Windshield wipers tend to get forgotten when it comes to replacing them in a timely manner. Sure, they might streak a little, but you just spray more fluid and that kind of helps. This isn’t a practice that’s terribly safe. Windshield wipers are cheap enough that you shouldn’t risk a dangerous situation just for the sake of putting off replacing them a bit longer. If you’re seeing streaks, get new ones. The winter takes a heavy toll on your windshield wipers. That old “April showers bring May flowers” saying isn’t wrong, either. Don’t get caught in heavy rainfalls without reliable, new windshield wipers.

 

Get Your Tires Inspected

 

This is a big one. There is a lot to be done when it comes to your tires and it all relates to your safety, to say nothing of extending your vehicle’s use. Winter is generally the time of year where most potholes develop in the road due to plowing, salt, and bad weather. If you’ve ever hit one at even a somewhat slow speed, you know it can feel like a small explosion. Now imagine what that’s doing to your car.

 

The first thing you’ll want to do is get your winter tires removed if you use them. If you don’t and you’re sticking with all year tires, you’ll want to get them rotated and aligned. Hitting those potholes can mess up your alignment and significantly shorten how long your tires last. It’s also a good idea to check out the tread on your tires. Bald tires are always dangerous but are especially so in rainy weather where you’ll be relying on your ability to stop quickly and not skid.

 

Check your Battery

 

Car batteries get put through their paces in the winter months. A lot of electricity needs to be generated to do all of the work of not only driving through rough conditions, but also heating your car, defrosting, and everything else that makes driving both possible and comfortable. Bring your car in for a battery check to see if it needs to be replaced. You don’t want to find yourself stuck on the side of the road with a dead battery. Definitely make sure to get your battery checked if you can’t recall replacing it within the past few years.

 

Replace or Top Off Fluids


It’s always a good idea to periodically check your windshield wiper fluid, engine oil, and brake fluid. The fluids of your vehicle keep things running smoothly. Even if you aren’t due for a change, topping off fluids, especially windshield wiper fluid, is a good idea. You don’t want to be stuck with wipers that can’t improve your visibility or brakes that don’t stop fast enough.

 

Do a Brake Inspection

 

Which leads us to the last point of getting your brakes inspected. The warmer months are when we travel the farthest. It’s important to get a sense of what shape your brakes are in before doing all of this driving. The winter weather can be quite hard on your brakes, especially if you were driving around with low fluid levels. While you know it’s time to get your brakes checked if the lamp comes up on your dash, you’ll also want to be wary of any noise coming from your brakes or a grinding sensation. You might need new pads.


Conclusion

 

Some of this information might be known to you and some of it might be brand new. Hopefully, you’ve come to the conclusion that it’s in your best interest (and your wallet’s) to get regular maintenance done on your vehicle so you can avoid the costly major auto repairs that will show up down the road if you don’t take the proper care. Give us a call today and set up up an appointment with one of our technicians. The team at Independent Motors is here to provide the service you need at a fair price.