Every year the month of October is recognized as national Car Safety Month and the automotive industry works together to help Canadian car owners prepare for winter driving. For all of us who depend on our four wheeled “friends” to keep us safe on the roads, this is an important time of year.
Preparing ahead of time before the temperature drops can ensure small problems are fixed and wear and tear from long summer drives are resolved. By teaching Canadians about pre-winter inspection and maintenance needs, those in the automotive business can help to keep them safer on the road, avoid collisions, and prevent them being stranded in harsh winter conditions.
One of the notable things the Car Care Aware organization has achieved is the production and publication of a wonderful guide for any car owner or driver. The “Be Car Care Aware Guide” is a great resource for information on the basics of vehicle service and maintenance. This 74 page full-colour booklet was designed to fit in your glove box and contains:
- A car care checklist;
- Safety guidelines;
- Basic maintenance and repair information;
- Short descriptions of your vehicles’ various parts and systems;
- A maintenance log and note section; and much more!
Written using clear, easy-to-understand terminology, the Guide is the perfect companion to your owner’s manual. You can order a single guide on line (www.becarcareaware.ca/store) for $4.00 plus shipping and handling of approximately $9.00, or you can download a PDF version for free.
A thorough inspection of your vehicle during the fall months will go a long way toward ensuring safety and dependability. A routine maintenance program also makes financial sense, extending useful vehicle life and helping avoid costly repairs down the road. Whether you do it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, Be Car Care Aware recommends 10 basic maintenance procedures to keep your vehicle operating at its best:
- Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
- Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose, or showing signs of excessive wear.
- Check the battery and replace if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
- Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
- Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
- Schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
- Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting.
- Inspect the steering and suspension system annually including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
- Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
- Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades.