10 Things You Need To Know About Car Maintenance

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1. Warning lights and indicators—No one likes to see the engine light illuminate on the dashboard, but when one of the warning lights comes on and stays on while driving, check your Owner’s Manual and follow its advice. Waiting to do repairs can be costly and even dangerous.

2. Oil—Engine oil not only lubricates and cools internal engine parts, it collects and traps dirt and contaminates from the combustion process. That’s why you should have it changed regularly.

3. Air filter—Don’t let your vehicle’s air filter get too dirty. A clogged filter restricts airflow, robbing horsepower and potentially fuel economy. If you’re unsure about when to change the filter, have your ACDelco-affiliated technician check it out.

4. Heater/Defroster—The heater/defroster in your vehicle draws its heat from the circulation of hot engine coolant. If you smell a sweet, syrupy odor inside the vehicle or spot a greasy mist on the inside of the window, there may be a leak in the heater core. Have it checked out.

5. Tire pressure—Underinflated tires waste gas and can prematurely wear out the tires, because they generate more friction on the road. Making sure your tires are properly inflated is one of the easiest things you can do to optimize fuel economy and tire longevity.

6. Brakes—Your vehicle’s brakes should feel smooth and perform quietly. If you feel shuddering or hear a grinding sound when you step on the brakes, they should be inspected as soon as possible!

7. Coolant/Antifreeze—Different cars require different types of antifreeze. If you need to top off the coolant in your vehicle, check the Owner’s Manual for details on the correct type. You could harm the cooling system or engine with the wrong coolant. Your ACDelco-affiliated technician can assist you with this.

8. Timing belt—If your vehicle has 50,000-70,000 miles or more, it’s a good idea to check the Owner’s Manual for the recommended service interval for the engine’s timing belt. It can break without warning, leaving your car immobile until it’s changed—be it in your driveway, workplace parking lot or on the highway.

9. Tire vibration—A vibration felt at certain speeds or one that increases in severity with the speed of the vehicle can indicate out-of-balance tires or tires that need replacement. Either way, don’t ignore the vibration—get it checked!

10. Alternator—If your vehicle’s battery or charge indicator light comes on, it may not be a battery problem, but a faulty charging system. The red light is essentially a warning that the system isn’t charging the battery and you don’t have very far to drive before the battery goes dead. Pull off the road as soon as it’s convenient to prevent stalling on the road. With luck, your cell phone will be charged, because you’ll likely need to call for assistance—and probably a tow truck if you’re far from home.