Well that is an easy question! Preventative maintenance is always your best insurance policy. Meaning that you take care of your vehicle and never need to use your roadside assistance policy. Now what are the steps you can take to maintain your vehicle and prevent incident?
One of the most vital things on your vehicle to be aware of are your tires. Now this starts simply by gathering knowledge of what type of tire you need. Use your cars owners manual to find this information, or speak with your dealer to see what they ideally use. Alternatively, you can also speak with a tire center near you.
After you have found the best tires for you, upkeep is vital as well. There are a couple things to keep in mind.
- Monitor the air pressure in your tires. Many tire centers will offer to check your tires and replenish the air in them for free if you have purchased from them.
- Get your tires rotated and balanced.
Now your tires are not the only thing of which you should be aware. Just like fuel, you need to maintain all the fluids in your vehicle. Here is a list of the six most common and how to maintain them.
- Engine Oil - You want to open your hood, then remove the dipstick and wipe it off with a clean rag. Return it back into the reservoir. Then take it back out again and see if the level is within the range marked on the dipstick. If you do need to add oil, it is important to not to overfill it because it could result in damage to the engine. Most manufacturers provide guidelines for changing the lubricant -typically every 3,000 miles or three to six months.
- Transmission Fluid - Locate the transmission fluid dipstick and proceed to follow the same steps as monitoring the engine oil. This time you want to have the engine running. If the fluid appears brown or has a burnt smell, you want to have it checked. Most manufacturer's recommendations for changing transmission fluid, is usually about every 30,000 miles.
- Power Steering Fluid - You may be able to check this level visually if you have a see through reservoir. If you do not have a reservoir just follow the same procedures for the dipstick method. Your fluid should stay level, so if you need to add, you will need to have it checked as soon as possible. Most manufacturers recommend changing power steering fluid every 50,000 miles or every three years.
- Brake Fluid - The majority of the vehicles on the road today have a brake fluid reservoir that allows you to see into so you can check the fluid level visually. Once you locate the reservoir, you will see the markings on the side that inform you if you need to add any brake fluid. If the fluid drops below two-thirds full, you want to have it checked.
- Coolant - Before you check your coolant, you want to give your vehicle time to cool down. Then locate the coolant reservoir which is usually a translucent plastic tank, from there you can see the level of the coolant against the full and low indicators. Serious damage can happen to your engine by overheating, so make sure that the reserved tank contains an adequate amount of coolant and never allow your car to redline. Most manufacturers recommend replacing engine coolant or antifreeze every 30,000 miles or every two to three years.
- Windshield Washer Fluid – You can check windshield washer fluid by looking at the indicator on the fluid chamber or by looking into the reservoir. Make sure to periodically check the wiper fluid and keep it full.
Now that we have covered the preventative maintenance on your vehicle, let us go over a list for items to keep in your vehicle in case of emergency.
Some of the basic items include:
- 12-foot jumper cables
- Four 15-minute roadside flares
- Two quarts of oil
- Gallon of antifreeze
- First aid kit (including an assortment of bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic cream, instant ice and heat compresses, scissors and aspirin)
- Extra fuses
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Flat head screwdrivers
- Phillips head screwdrivers
- Vise Grips
- Adjustable wrench
- Tire inflator (such as a Fix-A-Flat)
- Tire pressure gauge
- Roll of paper towels
- Roll of duct tape
- Spray bottle with washer fluid
- Ice scraper
- Pen and paper
- Help sign
- Granola or energy bars
- Bottled water
- Heavy-duty nylon bag (to carry it all in)
Now that you know the best insurance policy to take out, make sure that you keep in mind what to do just in case something happens that you can't prepare for. If you ever need vehicle rescue or towing assistance in the Salt Lake Metro area make sure you have the number to call Kar Toad Towing (801) 974-9561. We will be here waiting to assist you 24 hours a day.