April is National Car Care Month – an event meant to shine a light on the importance of preventative maintenance checks and to ensure that your vehicle is operating safely at all times. Given the unprecedented times we find ourselves in, it is even more important now that our cars are up to the task of completing essential trips without any kind of issue. Fortunately, there is a simple 10-minute driveway check you can do to make certain that your vehicle is up to task when it comes time to head out, and to help you out, we here at Westbury Toyota have written up a quick guide to get you started.
The last thing you want on any given day is to have a tire go flat or blow out on you while you are out on the road. Fortunately, there are some things you can check for that will let you know if a tire needs replacing now or in the near future. The first thing you should check is if there are any odd bulges, bald spots, or wear patterns. If so, it can be an indicator that you are in need of a wheel alignment, or even that your tires have started to separate.
Another thing to check is your tire pressure, which should always be at the proper pressure recommended in your vehicle’s user manual. Driving with greater or lower pressure than recommended can lead to a number of problems, such as unnecessary tire wear, uncomfortable driving, a decline in handling and responsiveness, greater fuel consumption, and issues with directional stability.
Next up on the driveway vehicle check is to check all the fluids. You want to make sure they are at the proper levels at all times, so it is a good idea to do this regularly. Check the levels of the following:
If any of these fluids are running low you should top them up immediately, as driving with low levels can potentially lead to some costly issues down the road.
While you are under the hood, take the time to look over the condition of the belts and hoses. It is normal for both to undergo wear over time, which can lead to fraying, cracking, or breaking, say the experts of the Car Care Council. Hoses and belts are crucial to keeping your Toyota running in top form and control things like the air conditioning, electrical, cooling, and power steering systems. For any of these to fail could lead to disaster and expensive repairs, so it only makes sense to keep them all in good condition.
When inspecting the belts and hoses, you want to make sure that they are not too loose and that they are not showing signs of uneven wear, cracking, or becoming brittle. If you spot any of these, you will want to replace the part in question as soon as you possibly can.
It is always important that your car is properly equipped to deal with inclement weather and night driving, so that is why it is essential to finish off the driveway check by inspecting the lighting and the windshield wipers. It is pretty easy to tell when your headlights are not working and it goes without saying that if you have a broken headlight, it needs to be fixed immediately. Signal lights and brake lights are a bit trickier, but you can check them easily while being parked in your driveway. The interior light is also easy to check, so turn it off and on and make sure it triggers when you open up the car door.
It is also pretty easy to determine if your wipers need attention as they will leave streaks, make noise, or do a very poor job of keeping your windshield clear of rain or snow if they are worn out. Windshield wipers can be installed right in your driveway, but if you aren't comfortable handling this replacement, the expert technicians here at Westbury Toyota would be more than happy to handle this service for you.
Now more than ever it is important that our vehicles are in peak running condition so that we can perform our essential trips without issue. National Car Care Month is meant to remind people of this, as well as make sure that drivers are aware of how important preventative maintenance and quick DIY inspections are. By following the guide above, you can make sure your Toyota is road worthy all on your own.