As cars become more and more sophisticated, it is still important for owners to pay close attention to regular maintenance. Good maintenance habits can prevent breakdowns, eliminating the related safety concerns, inconvenience, and costly repairs. Keeping the car in good shape may prevent wrecks due to a significant engine malfunction or brake failure.

When looking at your car, start from the ground up. Your tires are your first concern. If there are odd tread patterns, you probably need a simple alignment to make sure that your tires are tracking straight. Regular tire rotation can ensure even wear.

It's also good to regularly check for leaks. You can lay down white poster board to find where a leak is coming from. Then you can tell your mechanic what the substance looks like. A sweet-smelling fluid is probably anti-freeze. Fluids of amber, brown or black could be oil, transmission fluid, transfer case fluid or brake fluid. Whatever it is, you will save money by getting it repaired right away.

Of course, the engine itself must be maintained with regular oil changes. All fluids will grow old over time. At the mileage designated in your owner's manual, you'll want to have those fluids drained and replaced. After all, it is far cheaper to do this than to replace your transmission due to fluid failure.

Filters should be replaced when you have oil changes. Your engine air filter is vital to cleaning the air that is used for fuel combustion. If that filter becomes clogged, the engine struggles to produce the right fuel-air blend. Over time, that struggle causes undue wear-and-tear on engine parts and can lead to an expensive repair.

Do you have your car's manual? If not, you need to get a maintenance schedule from your dealer. This will ensure that you are attending to each item as it becomes due. There are engine parts, such as spark plugs, that must be replaced at high-mileage intervals. There are hoses and belts that are much cheaper to replace on time than to repair when they break, taking other engine parts with them.

As for the brakes, well, today's car owners are lucky that replacing brake pads is so inexpensive. This vital maintenance protects your expensive metal rotors and discs. Furthermore, keeping your brakes in good shape is not just about an emergency stop. It's also about the new electronic systems that rely on braking to keep the vehicle stable on turns and to ensure better traction on poor surfaces. Regular brake inspections can ensure that your pads are replaced on time.

Proper maintenance should keep you from seeing those scary dash lights. From the check oil light to the ABS brake light, every dash light signals something is wrong. Drivers should never ignore it and never ask an auto parts shop to turn it off. The best response is to get a check-up immediately from a highly-qualified technician.

Routine maintenance costs much less than expensive repairs. It gives you peace of mind on daily commutes and cross-country trips. Best of all, you can extend the life of the car, making more out of your investment.


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