November 3, 2011

Routine Vehicle Maintenance – NEWS FOR YOU… from the Iowa D.O.T.

NEWS FOR YOU… from the Iowa D.O.T. – Iowa Department of Transportation

By Debra Carney
Driver License Supervisor
Office of Driver Services
Davenport, Iowa

How often do you see your health-care specialist for a checkup? Once per year? Twice per year? When was the last time you had your car in for a checkup? Winter is fast approaching, and it’s a great time to plan ahead. Even though you may drive a limited number of miles or not make any out of town trips, your vehicle needs routine maintenance.

If you think you are doing your car a favor not driving much, think again. All that sitting may actually shorten the life of your engine and other moving parts. Though your vehicle’s components may not necessarily suffer from a “use it or lose it” syndrome, routine use allows you to be aware of those in need of repair or replacement and keep items working before you have a major issue.

If you let the windshield reminder sticker govern when you get an oil change, you may want to reconsider that habit and follow the automaker’s recommendation. Over time, oil becomes contaminated by gases, and the longer the oil sits with that contamination the more it degrades.

Sooner or later, every rubber component on your vehicle will need to be replaced. Some automakers recommend replacing tires every five or six years regardless of tread depth. While the tread depth may be acceptable, the side walls may show signs of wear. New tire valves should be installed every time you mount a tire. Windshield wipers are good for six months. Of course, hoses and belts won’t last forever. If you keep your car long enough, you may need to replace the gasket between the door and the frame.

Make certain fluid levels are checked on a routine basis. Again, follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.

Have you lost the owner’s manual to your vehicle? If you have computer access, try the auto manufacturer’s website. Many are available for download. Other websites may also carry the manual you need, or contact your local auto dealer.

A little bit of preventative maintenance will save you money and time in the long run and keep you on the road and on your way.