Start the Year off Right by Checking These Things in Your Car

Start the Year off Right by Checking These Things in Your CarMany people think of their vehicles as little more than expensive and complex appliances. Whatever your relationship to your car, you rely on that thing to keep your daily life running smoothly, and the beginning of the year is a great time to get around to the checklist of maintenance. Use your owner’s manual as a guide, and get ready for a great year on the road!

Brakes & Brake Fluid 

Changing your brake fluid is very important. If your brake pedal has gotten squishy over time, there’s a good chance you need to flush out your brake fluid. The older your brake fluid is, the worse it gets. Flushing your brake fluid is really easy! You can buy kits to do it yourself, or use a helper to simply press on the pedal as you cycle the fluid through. 

While you’re flushing your fluid, it’s the perfect time to inspect the rest of the brake system. Do you see any fluid leaking or evidence of cracks on your brake rotor? Do you feel ridges when you run your finger across the surface? Look at how thick your brake pads are; hopefully, they’re wearing evenly and not turning into a wedge-like shape. If they’re thinner than an eighth of an inch, that’s a sign that replacement is soon needed. 

Tires & Alignment 

Inspect the condition of the rubber (looking for cracking) and sidewalls (for abnormal bumps). Check tread depth by the old “penny test”. Take a penny and place it in between the tread blocks of your tire, with the top of Abe Lincoln’s head pointing down into the tire. If the tread comes to Abe’s ear, you’re good. If it barely touches his hair, you’re OK right now, but it’s smart to start checking for sales on your next set of tires. If you don’t see a tread, you need new tires ASAP. Check across the inside, middle, and outside of each tire. If the tread isn’t even throughout, you may have an alignment issue. 

Pay attention to your steering wheel. You should know if it’s not perfectly straight, or if the car constantly pulls one way or the other. If it does, take your car in for an alignment. While you’re checking your tires’ tread depth, though, look at the tread for tell-tale signs of something being out of whack. Pay attention if any part of one tire’s tread depth (or one tire compared to the others) is significantly out of line with the others. 

Belts & Hoses 

Failure of belts and hoses can result in catastrophic damage to your engine, and you’re either on the hook for thousands of dollars for replacement, or you’re buying a new car.

Pop the hood, and look for any bulges on hoses or frayed edges on belts. If you can’t see a belt (on many cars today they’re hidden beneath the covers and other components) you can either remove the cover with a few screws or, if you’re not confident in doing so, have someone else check for you the next time you take your car in for an oil change. 

Along with your routine maintenance, a new year is a great opportunity to review your Auto Insurance coverage. Do you have everything you need to be protected from financial losses? If you’re at all unsure, contact your auto insurance agent to discuss your coverage needs.

About Barnes Insurance Agency

At Barnes Insurance Agency, we specialize in vacation home rental insurance to ensure the protection of your property and assets. We strive to offer customizable solutions to meet your specific needs. For more information, contact us today at (877) 279-2500.

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