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Knowing your car

Posted on Friday, August 6, 2021
Knowing your car is very important, after all, it is basically part of your family!

Perhaps you are taking a last minute summer road trip with the kids before school starts - and you don't want your vehicle making any issues for you? Basic vehicle knowledge is something that everyone behind the wheel should know. This can prevent costly service and towing bills, not to mention time wasted waiting in a repair shop! It's always good to do a quick inspection on your vehicle every few months, even if you do not drive far or often.

Before you hit the road make sure to do a thorough check with your vehicle
- Check windshield wipers and replace if needed. An unexpected downpour is already hard to see in, having bad wipers makes it unsafe.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have no bald or bare patches to avoid a tire blowout on the side of the highway.
- Test all your exterior lights, such as headlights, bright lights and turn signals. Also do a quick "beep" to make sure your horn is working properly.
- Check your oil and other fluids such as coolant. Top off fluids if needed. If your car burns oil fast like mine, keep a spare quart in the trunk for a quick and easy top-off.
- Check for corrosion on your battery terminals. If you have corrosion, you can easily remove it by scrubbing with a toothbrush and mixture of 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 cup water.
- Squealing break pads are a good indicator that it's time to replace your breaks. If your not vehicle savvy, you can find a repair shop to fix them for you. Some will even come to you!

While doing your inspection, it's also a good time to do some vehicle upkeep such as:
- Cleaning out and washing your car. Trash and dust can be a distraction, and next thing you know, your cleaning your vehicle while driving it - which is dangerous.
- Make sure all your documents are up to date such as insurance information and your license plate tag card (registration).
- Family Watchdog always suggests keeping an emergency bag in your vehicle. You can find how to assemble one here: https://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/emergency-kit.php

It's always a good idea to have a trusted person, whether it be your husband, father or a local shop, to do a good inspection and fix any issues that make your vehicle unsafe on the road. If you don't have a local shop that you know and trust, ask around - there is always good and bad with every shop, and normally the locals will know that.
And don't ever let a shop take advantage of you! When going in to have something fixed, they might find more issues that they say will need fixed. This is where having someone who knows a little about vehicle repairs comes in handy, so take a friend with you when getting your car checked over. You can always ask to see the car and have them point out what needs fixed to you so you can see it for yourself.

As always, when driving follow all laws, be aware of your surroundings and other drivers, and stay safe. We hope this blog was helpful and your end of summer trips are awesome!

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