6 Car Maintenance Tips to Prevent Accidents
Car accidents happen every day across the world. While many accidents result from reckless or distracted driving, such as speeding or texting while driving, a lack of vehicle maintenance may also cause an accident. Fortunately, you may be able to avoid an accident by proactively keeping up with your car’s needs. Not only can regular maintenance prevent a collision, but you can also avoid costly issues, such as electrical problems, tire blowouts, engine failure and faulty brakes.
At Gunn-Mowery, we care about our customers’ safety, which is why we’ve compiled these car maintenance tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe on the road.
1. Clean Your Headlights
Many vehicle owners assume their vehicle’s headlights are in good working order as long as they turn on when you’re using them, but practical maintenance can improve the performance of your headlights. You may want to clean your headlights if you’ve never done so before.
Start by examining the plastic covering on your headlights. Is the plastic clear, or is it dingy or yellowing? Many car manufacturers apply protective films to the outside of the lenses that protect your headlights. UV rays can damage this film, resulting in a yellow or foggy appearance on the lenses. This cloudy appearance can impair your visibility when you are driving at night.
What can you do if your headlights’ plastic coverings are no longer clear? To clean your headlights, you can use a headlight restoration kit that may include sanding and waxing the coverings. Follow the instructions carefully to ensure you are cleaning your vehicle’s headlights properly.
If there isn’t a major improvement after you’ve finished cleaning your headlights, you may want to use another kit or purchase replacement headlights.
2. Check Your Tires Regularly
Your tires are a crucial component of vehicle safety, especially in dangerous weather conditions. Rain, snow and ice can make roads slippery, but sound tires can help you avoid accidents. As such, you should check your tires regularly to ensure they are in the best possible condition.
Examine your tires for cracks in the sidewall, uneven wear or other problems that may require you to rotate, replace or align your tires. If your tire tread is significantly worn or irregular, you may need to purchase new tires.
You may also want to frequently check your tire pressure, particularly in cold weather when tires tend to lose air. Not only will a tire with proper air pressure keep you and your loved ones safe, but it may also improve your gas mileage. To prevent accidents, ensure you keep your tires inflated according to your manufacturer’s recommendations.
3. Ensure Your Brakes Are Safe
Like your tires, your brakes are crucial to the safety of your vehicle. Both components play an especially critical role in wet weather conditions, such as rain, snow or ice. Further, if you have worn brake pads, this can damage your rotors, leading to costly repairs. Aside from worn brake pads, fluid leaks and other issues can also result in brake failure and cause a severe accident.
To avoid a car accident, check your brakes regularly, especially if you don’t drive your vehicle every day. Allowing your car to sit for long periods can cause rust buildup and make your brakes less effective. If you don’t feel comfortable maintaining your brakes on your own, have them checked by a professional who can look for worn brake pads and replace damaged rotors.
4. Inspect Your Wiper Blades
Visibility is essential for driving safely. Over time, natural wear and tear to wiper blades will become one of the most common car issues. Inspect your wiper blades regularly for tears, cracks, stiffness or other signs of wear. If you notice any of these, you may want to replace them to enhance your vehicle’s visibility.
It’s also smart to check your wiper fluid regularly. By keeping your fluid topped up, you will be able to remove bugs from your windshield and eliminate streaking. During a trip, you don’t want to end up caught with a dirty windshield and no convenient way to clean it off. Low visibility can cause a car accident, so keep your wiper blades and wiper fluid in top condition to prevent a crash.
5. Maintain Your Lights
Another aspect of your vehicle that is essential for avoiding accidents is your lights, including your taillights, headlights and turn signals. Malfunctioning brake lights, burned-out bulbs and misaligned headlights are all issues you can avoid with regular vehicle maintenance. Your lights are especially critical while you are driving at night and in severe weather conditions that can limit your visibility.
You can do a quick test of your lights by turning them on and walking around the car. You may also want to ask a relative or friend to check your lights while you test them from the driver’s seat. Put your headlights, taillights and turn signals through their paces, and note any problems.
6. Regularly Check Fluids
Finally, remember to regularly check the fluids of your vehicle, such as your power steering, transmission, oil and brake fluids. If you refill these fluid levels yourself, you should use an unopened, clean container. The level of your transmission fluid and low or dirty oil can impact how well your engine performs.
Check your oil once a month and follow the recommendations in your vehicle’s service manual to determine how frequently you need to change your oil and transmission fluid. You can do the task yourself or hire a mechanic to change it for you.