Check Your Battery

The typical life expectancy of an auto battery is three to five years, with the shorter battery life being for cars that are driven in hot climates. Car owners should have their auto battery tested at the three-year mark and then annually afterward. Mobile battery testing is free to AAA members.

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Check Your Fluids

All of your car’s fluids — oil, brake fluid, engine coolant, and power steering and washer fluids — should be checked monthly. Ninety percent of auto repair facilities say that car owners most frequently miss issues with brake fluid, transmission fluid and engine coolant.

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Tire Pressure

tire guage

Purchase a trusted tire pressure gauge. Check your tires “cold” – before you’ve driven or at least three hours after you’ve driven. Insert tire pressure gauge into the valve stem on your tire. (If you are using a digital tire gauge like the one pictured, the gauge should begin reading the air pressure immediately.

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Replace Your Wipers

Changing your wiper blades is typically a simple task. If you’re not confident about your skills, it may be a good idea to leave it to the professionals — it’s often done when you take your car to a quick lube shop. But, if you want to do it yourself, use these steps:

Measure.

Measure the wiper blade length or check your car’s owner’s manual for the correct blade size.

Remove the old wiper.

Lift the wiper arm away from the windshield and depress the small tab on the underside of the wiper where it meets the wiper arm. When the tab is depressed, slide the wiper blade off the arm by pulling downward.

Attach the new wiper blade.

Pull the wiper blade tight onto the arm. You will hear a clicking sound when it locks into place. Now, simply lower the arm slowly back onto the windshield and repeat this process on the other wiper arm.

Test.

Finally, test the wipers after installation. It’s better to do it now, when it’s convenient, as opposed to during the middle of a downpour.

Taking these simple steps can help make sure your wipers are working efficiently and maximize your visibility for safer driving.

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What Causes Uneven Tire Wear?

Tires are an extremely important component of your car, and it’s a good idea to check them periodically to see how they’re faring. Regardless of the season, the effects of winter may linger in your tires: Snow, salt, cold or fluctuating temperatures, and the winter potholes that often afflict roadway, can all cause wear and tear. In fact, your car’s tires often have a story to tell, and if you want to determine how well the tires are doing, then you need to be able to understand what the tire wear patterns mean. By closely examining the tires, you may be able to determine if the tire is wearing properly or if replacement should be considered. Here are five common tire wear patterns you need to be aware of:

What Can Cause Excessive Inner or Outer Wear?

Excessive wear on the inner or outer edge of the tire, known as “toe wear” or, in more extreme cases, as “camber wear,” suggests something may be wrong with the wheel alignment, according to Bridgestone. To help fix the problem, you’ll likely need to make an appointment with a mechanic.

What Can Cause Center Wear?

If the center of the tire is quicker to wear than the edges, then the tire is likely overinflated. Find the proper tire pressure for your vehicle by looking at the sticker typically found in the doorjamb on the driver side or in the owner’s manual, according to Edmunds. Adjust the tire pressure accordingly for a smooth, safe ride.

What Can Cause Edge Wear?

If the outer edges of the tire wears faster than the center, the tire is likely underinflated, says Popular Mechanics. Follow the tire pressure recommendation on the side of the tire and add air to the tire as needed.

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Replacing Headlight Bulbs in Pairs

headlights

Typically, motorists will only replace a headlight bulb that has burned out or is failing. However, replacing just one failed bulb can result in an unbalanced or unpredictable headlight beam, which presents a potential safety risk. From the driver’s perspective, the road ahead will not be properly lit, and the driver will not get the full benefit of the vehicle’s headlights as the car maker originally intended.

From the oncoming driver’s perspective, an uneven headlamp beam can create an equally risky safety issue. The oncoming car will be harder to see and difficult to position on the road. It could also be confused with a single headlight vehicle such as a motorcycle.

Replacing important auto parts in pairs is a common sense idea. Professional automotive technicians and driving safety advocates alike consistently recommend that tires, brakes, shocks, and wiper blades should be replaced in pairs to make sure the vehicle is properly balanced and functioning safely. Lighting is no different and equally as important to driver safety.

Why replace headlight bulbs when they get old?

Many drivers will only replace a bulb that has completely failed, but for maximum driving safety, an aging bulb should replaced before it burns out. The filament of any halogen headlight bulb ages with use, time, and exposure to the elements. As a result, the bulb’s light output deteriorates. At the end of their typical service life, headlight bulbs project less light, and that reduces the driver’s nighttime visibility.

For example, a new headlight bulb that can typically project a 240-foot beam will only be able to deliver a 160-foot beam after three years. That’s potentially a whopping 33% percent less light and a critical safety concern.

Changing bulbs in pairs also makes good sense from an efficiency point of view. You only have to go to the shop once and you reduce the risk of the other headlight bulb failing while you’re on the road.

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Nighttime Driving Worries: Do You Want to See Better At Night?

night-driving-tips-hero

Are you someone, or do you know someone who doesn’t enjoy driving once the sun has gone down? You’re not alone. A recent survey from SYLVANIA Automotive found that 62 percent of motorists avoid driving during evening hours. However, for many drivers avoidance is simply not realistic – you still need to get home from work, your children still need to get to and from after-school activities, and plans must go on. So, what to do? In order to increase visibility on the road and make you more comfortable when driving at night, it is essential that high-performance headlights are installed on your vehicle.

The same survey found that while 28 percent of drivers have difficulty seeing hazards and other drivers on the road at night, 34 percent of drivers have never changed out their headlights.

When asked the question:  “Do you want to see better when driving at night?” – The answer should always be yes.  This is a no brainer – we all want to see better when given the option. Improving a vehicle’s headlights can affect the lives of drivers and their overall experience on the road. Better headlights can help improve down road visibility and increase chances of seeing objects sooner in the event of an accident or hazardous road conditions. This is a simple maintenance check that drivers of all ages should prioritize when it comes to overall road safety.

While many focus on oil changes, brake pads and tire pressure checks, there’s one safety element that’s often overlooked but especially critical this time of year – vehicle headlight maintenance. Headlights are an active safety item and are the first line of defense on a vehicle; if drivers cannot see objects on the road, they cannot react.  If you can see it sooner, you can make a better reaction.

47 percent of surveyed drivers said they would be likely to change their headlights if they knew it would improve the safety of loved ones and other passengers. Changing your headlights is usually a simple DIY fix that doesn’t require a mechanic and helps to keep you and your passengers safe when driving at night.

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