5 Essential Car Maintenance Tips

The summer vacation season is winding down. Some of you are preparing for the first day of school. Others may be planning to purchase Miami homes for sale to escape the inevitable cold. No matter what, you have give your car proper maintenance.

    Keeping a vehicle healthy year round could pay off in a number of occasions. You may have to travel for the holidays or make an sudden long distance trip. How fast and event free your journey will be depends on the right attention put into the five major components of your automobile.


    Big rig truck drivers love to carry around a billy club type instrument called a “tire thumper.” Truckers strike their tires with these to see if they bounce off (fully inflated) or sink in (needs air).

    Tires will tend to show signs of wear either on the treads or the side walls. If the treads appear smooth or melted together, this is a sign the tire is “going bald.” Wear outs on the side walls may indicate an alignment problem.

    Use a penny to check for wear out by placing it head down inside your tire tread. If you can see Lincoln’s forehead, then it’s time to get new tires.


    Have you ever went driving and heard your wheels make funny noises? What about any burning smells? These are symptoms of failing car breaks.

    Pressed against your brake rotor are pieces called break pads. These pads should measure  ¼” to absorb the force of the calipers closing on the brake plate (or drum on older models). If they appear worn down to the metal, it’s time to get them replaced.

Oil & Other Fluids

    Time to get dirty. Pop the car hood and check your fluid supplies. You’ll need to read the manual to figure out which symbols they correspond to.

    Check your oil by pulling out the dipstick. The oil’s color may tell you whether you need an oil change. Amber and clear is good, but dark and cloudy means it’s time for a change.

    Use similar gauges to check the levels of your antifreeze and brake fluid. Antifreeze and windshield fluid are the easiest to replace. Both are for sale at major stores and can be safely diluted with water.

Air Filter

    Whenever you run the fan on your car, the air is being filtered to remove debris and exhaust fumes. Return the favor by cleaning your air filter.

    The air filter container looks different on each model. Some are in metal cylinders fasted by a wing-nut. Others are rectangular, snap-lock plastic boxes.

    Gently brush and pat the dust off the filter. You can wash it off with a hose, but let it dry in open air before replacing.


    Be diligent when cleaning the car’s battery. Remove the terminals to check posts for white acid residue. Mix baking soda with water for cleaning solution and scrub with a wire brush.

    Remember to replace the terminals on the correct posts when your finished.  

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