You know the old saying, “It’s the little things that count”? This is especially true when it comes to car maintenance. About five percent of accidents nationwide are due to poor car maintenance, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Here are four car maintenance tasks you can do yourself that will help ensure you live to drive another day.
Check the Air Pressure in Your Tires
More than 78,000 crashes a year are caused by tires with the wrong level of air pressure, according to NHTSA data. Improper air pressure could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and get in an accident. Check the air pressure in your tires at least once a month (an easy way to remember? Do this every time you get gas). Your owner’s manual will tell you what the proper pressure should be. If your tires won’t hold air for long, replace them promptly.
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Make Sure Your Windshield Wipers Are Working
If you don’t discover a problem with your wiper blades until you’re in the middle of a rainstorm, you could be in for a lot of trouble. You might not even be able to see clearly enough to safely move over to the side of the road. Check the condition of your blades regularly, and make the sure the wiper motor works properly, too. Depending on the make and model of your car, average repair prices (including parts and labor) to fix a wiper motor will run you between $150 and $425, according to YouMechanic.com.
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Check to See That Your Brake Lights Actually Light Up
Most people don’t find out they have a brake light out until a policeman pulls them over for it. It’s dangerous to have brake lights that don’t work—people coming up behind you at night may not be able to see that you’re slowing down or coming to a stop, resulting in a rear-end collision. Have a friend watch from behind your car as you apply the brakes while in park, and replace any lights that aren’t working. Do this at least twice a year to be safe.
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Keep an Eye on the Tire Tread
Proper tire tread is crucial to safe driving. Tires with worn tread don’t grip the road well and could easily lead to an accident—you could hydroplane on a wet road, not be able to come to a timely stop or even have your tires shred while you’re driving on them. The more worn they are, the greater the chance you’ll run into problems (bald tires pose the greatest risk). Inspect the tread on your tires every couple weeks and replace the tires when it gets too low.
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