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7 Things You Should Know About Car Maintenance

Conducting proper maintenance on your vehicle can extend the life of your car, and most importantly, potentially save you a lot of money down the road.  These 7 maintenance tips will keep you on the right track.

1. Choose the Proper Fluids for Brakes, Cooling and Other Systems

For models built after the year 2000, “it’s crucial that you use the manufacturer’s fluids or equivalents,” says Jason D’Amico, professor of automotive technology at Centennial College in Toronto. If you decide not to, transmissions and other components may be noisy or perform poorly.

2. Prioritize Your Tires

When they don’t have enough tread, you aren’t able to stop quickly or handle slippery roads. “Place a dime in one of the tire’s grooves, with the Bluenose’s sails pointing down,” says Glenn Maidment, president of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada. If you can see all of the sails, the tire needs replacing.

3. Air Can Save You Money

It takes more energy to roll on an under-inflated tire, and you can lose 0.3 per cent of your fuel mileage if one of yours is just a pound of air short. About half of all Canadian vehicles have at least one tire that’s 10 per cent above or below its recommended pressure.

4. Pay Attention to Recalls

Recalls identify potential safety issues. Even though automakers provide free repairs for recalled vehicles, it’s estimated that about 20 per cent of owners don’t take advantage. Visit your automaker’s website to check each vehicle’s recall status.

5. Use the Right Grade of Fuel

Some sportier models require premium, which ignites more evenly in their higher-compression engines. Regular fuel can leave these vehicles running sluggishly.

6. Listen to Your Car

Open the window to check for grinding or squealing brakes, clunks when you turn the steering wheel or noisy exhaust. If you can hear a humming noise when the window is closed, it could be an under-lubricated wheel bearing. The bearing noise is speed sensitive, “so the faster you go, the louder it gets.

7. Wash Your Car Thoroughly

After every winter, use a self-serve car wash to remove salt from your vehicle’s underside until the water runs clear. Otherwise, buildup can rust the floor pan or corrode electrical wiring or brake lines.