Cars, cars, cars, everywhere cars. How do you get where you are going? Home, work, school, church, family activities, grocery shopping, and more….
Our daily lives are intertwined with our automobile, and most folks like it that way. So this brings up two preparedness questions – 1. How do you keep your vehicle in top shape and 2. What is the backup plan when your vehicle fails?
I will start with question 2. Do you have (and can you use) and alternate form of transportation? this could be a bicycle, a skate board, motorcycle, or maybe its just your good old feet. No matter the backup mode of travel it must be ready and working to be of any use to you. So take a weekly bike ride, walk a few miles on Saturday morning, brush up on your skateboarding, whatever you decide please stay in practice so you don’t hurt yourself when you turn to your back up plan.
Now for the first question I asked. How do you keep your vehicle in top shape? The owners manual has this information. The owners manual is that thick book in the glove box, you know, the one you have never read. But just as important as following the manufacturers suggested maintenance plan is keeping your car working at its best day-to-day, perform daily “walk arounds” and look for anything out of the ordinary, look at tires, lights, glass, and check the dashboard for abnormal indications.
On a monthly basis check the following:
- Tire pressure / tires – incorrect tire pressure is a hog on fuel efficiency and tire wear. this one simple check can save you hundreds of dollars per year. Also check your tires for uneven wear, rocks, nails, and other damage.
- Fluids – there are more than you may think, you should become familiar with all your fluid locations and their normal levels, fill as necessary and if you are filling frequently you want to start looking for the leak in the system. Fluids may include – Oil, transmission, brake, coolant, power steering, and windshield washer.
- Belts – check your belts for cracks or other signs of wear, check for proper tension on belts.
- Hoses – these also need a check for cracks and holes, abrasion and other signs of damage or premature failure.
- Leaks – look under the car for leaks. You may want to keep a large piece of cardboard in the garage for this check. Once a month when you park the car for the night, place the cardboard under the engine. Next morning simply look at the cardboard for “drip” marks.
- Know your car – lift the hood and turn on the engine. Listen to your car every month, after a few months you will know what your engine sounds are, and be able to hear changes in your engine indicating a need for a trip to your mechanic.Cars are important to most of us. Take care of your car and spend the few extra minutes to keep it running properly to avoid breakdowns and large repair bills.