According to TxDOT, the annual vehicle miles traveled in Texas during 2012 reached 240.616 billion, an increase of 1.34% over the 237.443 billion traveled in 2011. TxDOT data showed that 3,399 people died on Texas roads in 2012 and 230,506 were injured. Based on reportable crashes in 2012, one person was killed every 2 hours, 35 minutes, one was injured every 2 minutes, 17 seconds and one reportable crash occurred every 75 seconds.
The more car care aware people are, the safer our roads will be. April is National Car Care Month and the perfect time to make sure your car is running smoothly. Basic car care goes a long way to improving your car’s safety, dependability and longevity, and it also makes good financial sense. Troy Mennis, an instructor at Universal Technical Institute-Dallas/Fort Worth, offers five easy tips to ensure your car is in tip-top shape.
Check out the essentials. Check all fluids, including engine oil, brake and transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid to make sure they are full. Take a look at all hoses and belts to make sure they don’t have excessive wear, and check your battery to make sure it’s corrosion free and not running low. Also test your windshield wipers and interior and exterior lights to make sure they are all functioning properly.
Inspect your tires. Check air pressure on all tires (including your spare tire) as tires that are not properly inflated could be costing you gas mileage. Also check the tread and inspect each tire for bulges and bald spots.
Check your air conditioning system. Nothing is worse than having a broken air conditioning system in the middle of a hot Texas summer. Bring your car to a professional if you feel like it’s not getting cool enough.
Clean your vehicle inside and out. Vacuum the carpets and clean all the glass in the car. You’ll be surprised at how much dust and haze is removed and how much better you’ll be able to see, especially at night. Remove excessive weight from your car like boxes or books you may have stacked up. Extra weight can decrease gas mileage by 1% to 2% for every 100 pounds.
Inspect your brakes. If you don’t know how to check to make sure your brakes are working properly, have a professional inspect the brake linings, rotors and drums. An easy rule to remember is to have your brakes looked at each time you get an oil change.
By following the steps above you can keep your car running smoothly and avoid costly repairs down the road. And if you’re not a car person, not too worry. Have a licensed technician take a look at your vehicle.