October is Car Care Month
During AAA Car Care Month in October, we remind our members about the importance of automobile preventive maintenance. Not only will proper maintenance improve fuel economy, in many cases it can also protect you from budget busting repair bills. What’s more, a car that is in top working condition is much safer and less likely to leave you and your passengers stranded.
With AAA Approved Auto Repair, you are never alone! As a member, AAA will help mediate a resolution in the unlikely event that you are not completely satisfied with the service you receive. For more information, call 1-800-222-7623, ext. 6821.
Car Care Tips
Regular oil changes are the single most important thing you can do to extend the life of your car’s engine.
Engine oil provides lubrication for every moving part inside your car’s engine. Oil also captures dirt particles and metal filings, and holds them in suspension until they are trapped by the oil filter. Finally, oil helps cool the engine by carrying heat away from local hot spots and transferring it into the engine block where it is carried away by the coolant. Over time, oil gets contaminated by dust, carbon, other combustion by-products and even antifreeze. As these contaminants are whipped into the oil and react chemically with one another, acids and sludge form that can increase wear and block critical lubrication passages. The result is reduced performance and, potentially, engine failure. That’s why regular oil changes are critical for engine durability.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Tires
Proper inflation pressure is the single most important factor in extending tire life. Moreover, this maintenance habit will keep you and your family safer. Here are some inflation tips to help you conserve your tires and minimize the chances of a failure that could result in an accident.
- Check tire inflation pressures regularly. Once a week (and before any long trip) is optimal, but no less often than once a month.
- Use a high-quality gauge when checking tire pressures. Stick-type gauges are okay, but quality dial and digital gauges tend to be more accurate.
- Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressures printed in your owner’s manual, or on the tire specification decal attached to a doorframe or inside the glove box, fuel filler door, or trunk lid. Note that the pressure molded into the tire sidewall is that needed for the tire to meet its maximum rated load carrying capacity. Most likely, it is not the correct pressure for your particular vehicle.
- Check tire inflation pressures when the tires are cold; for example, first thing in the morning.
- Don’t release excess pressure from hot tires. An increase of 4 to 8 psi is normal when tires are hot, and is perfectly safe even if the hot pressure exceeds the maximum value molded into the tire sidewall.
- When towing, carrying heavy loads, or using your vehicle for extended highway travel, increase tire inflation pressures by the amount specified by the vehicle manufacturer for those driving conditions.
Top Five Car Care Do’s That Don’t Get Done
Your car needs an oil change or a tire rotation. It’s one more chore on your never-ending “to do” list, and sometimes it just falls through the cracks. Apparently, you’re not alone. Last year, AAA vehicle inspection uncovered a variety of maintenance issues that were well on their way to becoming real problems for vehicle owners. Here are the top five:
1. Over- or under-inflated tires
2. Clogged engine air filter
3. Corroded or loose battery cables/clamps/terminals
4. Inadequate supply of windshield washer fluid
5. Low and/or dirty engine oil
A thorough checkup by a trusted repair professional can uncover maintenance items. Left unattended, these oversights could cost you time, money and, most importantly, your family's safety. Each year, AAA celebrates Car Care Month to help raise awareness of the need for regular vehicle maintenance. And remember, AAA is at your service year around both online and in our branch offices, providing a wide range of valuable automotive information and resources that includes the availability of more than 7,800 Approved Auto Repair facilities across the United States and Canada.