Vehicle care tips for safety and to extend the life of your car or truck

Bill White's C.A.R. HospitalAccording to recent studies, five percent of all motor vehicle fatalities are clearly caused by automobile maintenance neglect. Here are some safety points and tips to remember about your car or truck:

Change the transmission fluid and filter every 15,000 to 18,000 miles. This will protect precision-crafted components of the transmission and transaxle.

Inspect the suspension system regularly. This will extend the life of the vehicle’s tires.

The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition and concentration of coolant should be checked. A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended (refer to your owner’s manual).

Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled. The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps and hoses should be checked by a pro.

Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent, short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage or tow a trailer.

Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard stops, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.

A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.

Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check the tire pressure once a month, but let tires cool down first. Don’t forget your spare and be sure your jack is in good condition.

Check your owner’s manual to find out what fuel octane rating your car’s engine needs, then buy that during your fill-ups.

Keep your tires inflated to the proper levels. Under-inflated tires make it harder for your car to move down the road, which means your engine uses more fuel to maintain speed.

Lighten the load. Heavier vehicles use more fuel, so clean out unnecessary weight in the passenger compartment or trunk before you hit the road.

Bill White’s C.A.R. Hospital has provided motorists in the DeKalb area with comprehensive auto repair services for over 20 years. For more vehicle care tips, visit our web site at or call us at 815-758-7425.

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