Learn more about your vehicle and all its needs by actually reading the owner's manual. Most people toss the manual into their glove box and don't think about it until there is a problem. However, skimming through the manual now can teach you all the basic information you need to know about taking care of your particular vehicle.
The best thing you can do for your car is to check the oil level regularly and use the right oil. Refer back to your owner's manual for recommendations on how to check the oil, how often to change the oil and which grade to use.
Checking your tire pressure is very simple, but many of us neglect to do it. Some people make the mistake of using the number stamped on the outside of the tires for the recommended pressure. That number is actually the maximum pressure for those particular tires. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle inside the driver's doorframe, under the fuel cap/door or in the glove box. Be sure to check the pressure when your tires are cold for an accurate reading. Also look over your tires for excessive wear, cuts or other damage.
Most wiper blades need to be replaced every six months. If yours are streaking, squeaking or not functioning properly, wipe them off with a rag to remove any buildup. If they continue to streak, head to your local auto parts store. With the make, model and year of your car, you can get the right replacement blades. They are normally easy to replace and the salesperson can help if you have questions.
Keep a checklist of all the things that need done to maintain your car, including topping off all the fluid levels, checking the tire pressure, checking the engine oil, inspecting belts and hoses, making sure the lights work, replacing the air filter and other details. Don't miss service appointments and keep good records in order to make sure your car is always in tip-top condition. Have trouble keeping track of everything? There's an app for that. Try Car Minder Plus for your iPhone or iPad.
Moms should always trust their instincts — even when it comes to cars. You drive your vehicle every day and know how it runs. If anything doesn't look, smell or feel right, don't hesitate to take your car in for service. Moms are transporting the most valuable commodity every day — our kids. Better safe than sorry.
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