Car Care: Back to School Maintenance


Routine maintenance will help your vehicle run smoothly for the entire school year

A woman calls for assistance using her mobile phone, after her car broke down on the road side

Whether you’re ferrying a brood to preschool or sending an older child off to college this fall, it’s a great time of year to check out your vehicle. The last thing you need in the middle of the term is the distraction of car trouble. While you take the time to check off the school supply list, here are a few items to ensure your vehicle can keep up with you.

Check the lights: It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to walk around the car in the driveway and make sure everything that lights up or blinks does what it should. It’s not uncommon for position lamps or directional indicators to have blown bulbs without the driver noticing. Don’t forget to check the headlamps, taillamps and brake lamps. Get a helper to make it go faster.

Check the tires: This is another inspection that’s pretty quick. Start with the visuals. Are there obvious nicks or cuts in the sidewall or the tread? Any signs of impact? Look at the tread itself. Is there good tread depth? Is tread evenly worn? If wear isn’t even, it means there could be an alignment problem that can be both costly and dangerous. Get yourself a tire pressure gauge and make sure tires are inflated to the level the manufacturer recommends. All cars have a conspicuously located sticker, often on a door jamb or under the fuel filler cap, with recommended tire pressure. Check your owner’s manual if you can’t find it. Finding anything lodged in the tire or obvious bubbles in the sidewall should send you immediately to get repair.

Check the fluids: Coolant, oil, transmission fluid. These are the lifeblood of your car. Make sure you check them properly and fill as needed. Winter will be here sooner than you think, so don’t forget to top off the windshield washer fluid and put a spare bottle in the car, along with an ice scraper and snow brush. If you don’t want to maintain fluids yourself, your dealer’s service department can make sure everything is as it should be. It can also be convenient to roll this whole exercise into an oil and filter change.

Replace the wiper blades: Most people can’t tell you the last time they replaced their windshield wiper blades. These little strips of rubber are crucial pieces of safety equipment when it rains, sleets and snows. If you don’t know when the last time you changed them was, or if they are leaving streaks or making annoying noises as they wipe, it’s time to change them. Reduced visibility due to defective equipment is a totally preventable hazard.

Other checks: The back-to-school season may coincide with your vehicle’s service schedule. Roll it all together into a single visit, and make sure your vehicle has attention paid to all these areas and whatever else your manufacturer recommends. Going in for an oil change, check of the brakes, suspension, and steering components, and a general once-over is a good way to make sure you and your passengers stay safe.

If you have any questions, or you simply prefer the experts here at the dealership to perform the work, stop by today.

This article is presented by Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Worthington, Ohio http://www.jackmaxton.com

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