13 March 2008

Spring Break or Breakdown?

It's spring break, time for many families and students to hit the road. If your vehicle hasn't had a check-up lately, please come in before you go.

Each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, neglected maintenance leads to more than 2,600 deaths, nearly 100,000 disabling injuries and more than $2 billion in lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.

This statement is not intended to scare, but if it makes you stop and think when your car or truck last had a check-up by a trained mechanic, that's a good thing! If you, or your son or daughter, are in town for the break, don't put it off any longer. Come in for a free maintenance inspection. We'll tell you if anything needs immediate attention and when you should come back for the rest.

If you don't have time for a full check-up, please take just 10 minutes to check the basics. The Car Care Council offers a quick three step self-check:

  1. Check all fluids. There are several fluids that require attention, including engine oil, power steering, brake, and transmission fluids, windshield washer solvent, and antifreeze/coolant.
  2. Check hoses and belts. A belt that fails can affect the electrical system, air conditioning, and power steering, as well as the cooling system. Cooling system hoses may be deteriorating from within, so old hoses and clamps in marginal condition might need to be replaced. Give them a good squeeze. If you hear or feel them crack, or see bulges, they need replacing.
  3. Check the tires. Check tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear, indicating the need for wheel alignment. Also look for bulges and bald spots.
Not only can a maintenance inspection help reduce chances of costly and possibly dangerous road trouble, it also provides an opportunity to have repairs made at home, with your own technician who knows the vehicle. Especially important, it provides peace of mind. While no inspection can guarantee a car's performance, it's comforting to know proper precautions were taken.

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