Dealing with car issues is never fun, but it's often inevitable if you own your vehicle long enough. Finding a reliable local mechanic can make those repairs easier. Ask for recommendations from people in the area or other residents in the independent living community. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau and look at online reviews to learn more about different mechanics. A trustworthy mechanic is honest about the repairs you need and doesn't try to get you to do extra services.
No matter how often you drive your vehicle, it's important to keep up with regular maintenance. Routine oil changes are the most basic maintenance task you need to do. The frequency depends on the type of oil and your vehicle. It could range from 3,000 to 10,000 miles. Full synthetic oil typically lasts longer between changes. Check your car's manual to find the recommended change frequency.
Tire rotation is another maintenance task you should schedule regularly. It helps the tires wear evenly so they last longer and should be done about every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. An easy way to remember this is to schedule a tire rotation with your oil change. When you have your vehicle in for an oil change and tire rotation, the mechanic should also check other fluid levels and your air filter.
Your car's tires are essential for safe driving. Low tire pressure can lower your fuel efficiency, decrease traction, impact handling and cause premature wear. You could also be at a higher risk of a tire blowout. Overinflated tires can also cause issues, including poor traction, premature wear and a risk of blowouts.
The correct tire pressure can vary based on your car's model and tires. Passenger cars usually require 30 to 35 psi, but you should check the manual or the sticker along the driver's side door to get the specific recommendation. Use a tire gauge to check the tire pressure at least once per month or when a tire looks low.
While you're checking the pressure, do a quick tread check to make sure your tires aren't too worn. The penny trick is an easy way to check. Put a penny in the tread with the head pointed down. If you can see the entire head, the tread is too worn and your tires should be replaced. If part of the head is hidden, the tread is still safe.
It's also a good idea to do a light check periodically. Test your headlights on bright and dim settings, and check your turning signals and brake lights. You'll need someone to help you test the brake lights. You don't always notice when lights are burned out, especially taillights and turning signal lights. Driving without them can be hazardous, so regular checks are important.
Using caution when driving can cut down on unnecessary wear and tear, which can keep your car running longer. Follow the speed limit and drive cautiously whenever you're on the road. Having your hearing and vision checked regularly, including your peripheral vision, helps you verify that you're still in good shape to drive. If vision or hearing loss makes driving unsafe, you could be at a higher risk of getting into an accident and causing damage to your vehicle. For many older adults, driving at night can be challenging because of the glare from headlights. When possible, avoid driving at night or during bad weather to keep you and your vehicle safe.
Does your car spend a lot of time in the garage? When you're retired, you don't have to show up to work every day, and you likely have fewer places you have to go. Plus, LifeStream at Glendale offers several on-site amenities, including a library, creative arts room, planned activities and cultural outings, so you don't need to leave the community to stay entertained.
That might mean your car sits for long periods without being driven, which can cause issues. Driving it at least once a week, even for just a short trip, helps keep things working well. Your little trips can keep the battery charged and keep all the parts in the engine lubricated properly.
Don't wait until your check engine light comes on. If you notice something that seems minor, such as fluid leaking from the car, a strange noise or a new vibration while you're driving, have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic. Catching issues early is often a cheaper fix. If you ignore it, the problem could damage other parts or get so bad your car stops working completely. Your car could be dangerous to drive if there's an issue. You could end up stranded or find yourself in a dangerous driving situation.