Car Safety Checkup

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To p Ti p s f o r M a i n t a i n i n g Yo u r Ve h i c l e ’ s S a f e t y

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Driving in a safe manner represents only part of the responsibility of a vehicle owner. The other part is maintaining the vehicle in proper working condition. If maintenance is consistent the odds of breaking down or being in an accident decrease. As an added bonus the vehicle will last longer and perform more efficiently. Here’s a list of key areas to keep maintained.

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Tires grip the road and give the driver control over the vehicle. Excessively worn bald or improperly inflated tires compromise this control. Tires should be rotated and checked for tire pressure periodically to prolong their life avoid uneven wearing and improve fuel economy.

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Proper wheel alignment will lead to longer tire life and better handling. To check alignment lightly touch the steering wheel while driving on a straight flat stretch of road. If the vehicle pulls to one side the wheels may be misaligned. Wheels should also be balanced. If out of balance a pounding or shaking can be felt through the steering wheel.

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Oil lubricates the moving parts of the engine reducing friction and carrying away excess heat. Oil also captures dirt and other impurities and transfers them into the oil filter. Regular oil changes ensure optimum engine performance. Additionally check under the vehicle for fluid leaks. Leaks should be investigated and fluids should be refilled.

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For optimum visibility headlights taillights directional signals and interior lights should have working bulbs and remain clean. In addition the rearview mirror mounted inside the vehicle and the rearview mirrors on each side of the vehicle’s front doors should be clean and pointed in the correct direction.

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Both the foot brake and parking brake should hold the vehicle in park. To check the foot brake lightly touch the steering wheel and apply the brakes gradually. If the vehicle swerves brake linings may be wearing unevenly or the brakes may need adjustment. Grinding or squeaking sounds when applying brakes also signal brake issues.

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The vehicle’s ignition system is critical. Spark plugs ignite the air-fuel mixture. If one or more of the plugs or plug wires is worn or malfunctioning the engine can misfire and fuel will remain unburned. A misfiring engine wastes fuel produces more emissions and generally performs poorly.

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Belts and hoses should be checked regularly with periodic tune-ups. Check under the hood for cracked or split spark plug wires cracked radiator hoses or loose clamps and corrosion around the battery terminals. These should be replaced.

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