Halloween’s spookiness is all in good fun, but nightmare car issues can be all too real. It’s easy to get complacent about your car when it’s working happily, but neglecting it over time can end up making your time together more horror story than love story. Here’s what you need to do to make sure your only scares come from ghosts and goblins seeking candy at your door.
Check Your Tires
There are few worse things to see when you walk out to your car than a flat tire. Whether you’re trying to get the kids to school or simply want to get home after a long day at work, a flat tire is on the list of car issues no one wants to manage.
The best way to make sure your tires are ready to go when you are is to check them periodically. Start by taking a good look at the tread to see if there’s any uneven wear. Check the inner and outer edges as well as the center of the tread along the full surface of your tire. Uneven wear is a sure sign of trouble and needs attention.
Also, check your tire tread using the old penny trick. Insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head over the tread, then the tread is worn down and the tire should be replaced. While you’re at it, check the air in your tires since cooler weather can reduce the air pressure so your tires may need topping off.
How Old Is That Battery?
If you turn the key or press the start button and nothing happens, then you might be looking at a dead battery. The colder the weather, the more likely an old battery is to fail, so make sure yours is ready for winter rather than letting this become one of the car issues that take you by surprise. Check your battery using a voltmeter and if the charge is low, consider replacing the battery.
Check Your Oil
You should have your oil changed at the recommended service intervals, but if you’re not driving a lot, that doesn’t mean you can leave old oil sitting in your engine forever. Over time, that oil gets dirty and no longer does its job.
If you’re unsure of when you last had your oil changed, take a look at the oil on the dipstick. Clean oil is amber-colored, but thick, dark oil is dirty and should be changed to avoid more serious car issues.
This is also a good time to check your filters. They get dirty too and should be replaced if they’re old or if you can see that they’re full of dirt and grime.
Your car should put a smile on your face rather than becoming a waking nightmare. Spend some time doing a little basic maintenance and you’ll avoid serious car issues that become their own horror movie.
Check out all the air filters available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to avoid a nightmare car repair, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.