The 5-Point Home Car Inspection That Can Save You Thousands
“An ounce of prevention saves a pound of cure” as the old adage goes. While this usually refers to keeping our bodies healthy, the same goes for your vehicle. Regular inspections of your car can help you spot problems before they become severe.
Often, if problems are spotted early, they are a quick and easy fix either at home or with minimal labor at the mechanic.
Do yourself and your car a favor and check these seven points on your vehicle once a month or so:
Your tires are your first line of defense from wear and tear and dangerous road conditions. They also wear out faster and more regularly than any other component of your vehicle. Tires in poor condition are not only prone to slipping on the road, they also have a harder time absorbing bumps and dips in the road, passing that shock onto your struts and other components.
Use the “penny test” to gauge the tread level of your tires. This inspection is simple. Stick a penny in the tread with Abe’s head pointing downward. If you can see all of Honest Abe’s head, it’s time for new tires.
While the “every 3,000 miles” has become the standard for regular oil changes, it makes a lot of sense to spend a few minutes every few weeks checking your dipstick and seeing what kind of shape your oil is in.
A car in good running condition should maintain its oil level and the oil should remain relatively clean and clear. If your oil is low or looking especially black and dirty in between the 3,000 mile intervals, this is a sign that you may have a leak, a faulty filter or something even worse. If you discover during your inspection that your oil looks low or dirty, consider bringing the vehicle in ASAP for further diagnostics.
Your car’s brakes are its most important safety feature. Many breaks come with built-in warning features (the screeching sound is actually a warning feature built into some cars to let you know it’s time to replace the pads).
Here’s a link to a handy video that shows you how to check your brakes without removing the wheel of your car:
4. Air struts
If your car features an air suspension, it is a matter of when and not if it will wear out and need replacing. Many times your onboard suspension warning system won’t detect problems with the air suspension until they are very severe.
Doing an inspection of your air suspension is easy. Get your car up on a lift and prepare a small cup of water and soap mixture. Use a brush to apply soapy water to all of the rubber and plastic components, but especially the air bags themselves. If you see any bubbles forming, you’ve spotted a leak.
This is only going to get worse from here, and other components will shortly follow. Here you have two choices: fix the faulty air suspension components and wait for the next ones to fail, or replace that faulty air suspension with a sturdy coil suspension conversion kit from Strutmasters. Chances are, there is a kit for your specific vehicle. Just use the handy search tool at www.strutmasters.com.
The coolant in your car is essential to it functioning properly. Fortunately this is a pretty easy one to check.
Simply look at the coolant tank and see if the liquid goes up to the “Full” line. You should be able to tell from just looking at it, with no need to remove the cap.
If it’s not full, make a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water and fill it up to the “Full” line. Note that some coolants come “pre-diluted” or “pre-mixed” and you will not need to add any water. Make sure to consult your owner’s manual to get the right coolant for your vehicle.
At Strutmasters, there is nothing we love more than saving our customers money. That’s why our kits are designed to not only be a tremendous value for the money but also to be easy enough to install at home without having to pay mechanic labor fees.
Check our website www.strutmasters.com today or give us a call at (336) 597-2397 to have your car riding like a dream again!