What is National Car Care Month?
There’s a month for bikes, a month for pets and a month for yoga. But when it comes to your car? One month just isn’t enough. National Car Care Month comes around twice a year, every October and April. These months bring attention to the importance of regular preventative car maintenance and care during times when it’s most critical to do so. April provides the perfect opportunity to prepare your vehicle for the road trips that often come with summer months while also attending to any issues that may have developed over the winter. After the summer ends, October is an excellent time to check on any wear and tear incurred over the past months and prepare your vehicle for the more hazardous driving conditions typically brought on by winter.1
Car care tips
1. Replace tires
Checking your tires is a standard way to ring in National Car Care Month. This includes checking tire pressure and the wear on your treads, as well as looking for any cuts or other damage. Any tires exhibiting significant wear or damage should be replaced. You should also have your wheels aligned at least once a year.2
2. Change oil
An oil change is another standard piece of maintenance you can attend to during National Car Care Month. With the advent of modern lubricants, it’s recommended that most vehicles get their oil changed every 5,000 – 7,000 miles.3
3. Check brakes
Your brakes need to be checked on a regular basis too. Your brakes’ rotors, linings, and drums should be inspected along with every oil change your car receives.
4. Check fluids
There are a slew of various fluids that need to be checked when you bring your car in for servicing. Make sure your brake, transmission, power steering, coolant and windshield washer fluids are all checked and refilled where necessary.4
5. Routine mechanic visit
A routine visit to your mechanic can be the difference between deciding what to do at your destination and deciding what to do now that your car’s broken down. Use National Car Care Month as an opportunity to schedule an appointment and take care of any preventative maintenance before major problems can occur.
Preventative car maintenance by the season
Fall car care
When the days start to get shorter, you lean more heavily on your headlights while driving in the fall. Check and replace your bulbs where necessary to ensure your beams stay bright this fall. Wet fallen leaves can also turn road conditions slippery in the fall, so checking in on your tires isn’t a bad idea either. Your battery should also get an evaluation to ensure it’s ready for colder weather and the possibility of extra driving from school starting.
Winter car care
The cold winter air brings a host of potential problems for your car, so be prepared by winterizing your car. Ensuring your battery is fully charged and that your motor oil is suited for cold weather will help keep you from becoming stranded on the side of the road this winter. Cold can thicken oil and cause the engine trouble turning over, so be sure to use a multi-viscosity formula. Of course, getting on the road and staying on the road are two separate issues. Your wipers and tires must be prepared so your vision and traction remain while dealing with snow and ice.5 Keep an ice scraper/snow brush in your vehicle in case conditions get especially bad.
Spring car care
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to apply only to your home! Months of salt and grime build up during the winter and your car needs a nice bath as badly as you need a warm spring breeze. It’s also a good idea to check your tires. Since the warm weather will cause the air in them to expand, you may need to do a bit of deflating to avoid excessive wear. Your wipers, engine and suspension should also get a look to determine whether the harsh conditions of winter left any effect on them.6
Summer car care
Hot summer days require your car to keep things cool. Have a look at your coolant liquid levels and refill if necessary. You or your mechanic will also want to check the coolant hoses to see if they show any signs of excessive wear. You’ll need to stay cool too, of course, so make sure your air conditioning is functioning properly before it gets hot out. Too little refrigerant in your system could indicate a freon leak which will need to be repaired by your mechanic.7
The importance of caring for your car
Next to observing safe driving practices, caring for your car with proper maintenance is one of the most important ways you can protect yourself as a driver. A poorly maintained car is a risk to you, your passengers and every driver you encounter on the road. A well-maintained car keeps you and everyone around you safe and will end up saving you a pretty penny on costs like towing, repairs and accident-related costs. Of course, accidents do happen no matter how diligent you are, and that means you’ll have to provide yourself with another of the critical type of protection: insurance. Get a free quote from Nationwide today and learn how auto insurance can protect both you and your car.
1https://www.carcare.org/car-care-months/, Accessed October 2021.
2https://carcarenewsservice.org/article/april-national-car-care-month-basic-maintenance-helps-avoid-costly-repairs-down-road, Accessed October 2021.
3https://www.aaa.com/autorepair/articles/how-often-should-you-change-engine-oil, Accessed October 2021.
4https://carcarenewsservice.org/article/april-national-car-care-month-basic-maintenance-helps-avoid-costly-repairs-down-road, Accessed October 2021.
5https://www.consumerreports.org/car-maintenance/winter-car-care-tips-frigid-weather/, Accessed October 2021.
6https://www.autotrader.com/best-cars/6-simple-spring-car-care-tips-248694, Accessed October 2021.
7https://www.autotrader.com/car-news/10-simple-summer-car-care-tips-240454, Accessed October 2021.