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Car lovers: Take good care of your 4-wheeled family

April 15, 2014 Car Care

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Do you view your car or truck as a member of your family? Have you named your vehicle?

If so, then consider how caring for your car is similar to caring for your kin. For the most part, caring for your family is pretty straightforward.

Watch their diets, keep them clean, fix their bumps and bruises and they are likely to lead a healthy, happy life. So how do you raise and rear your sedan, SUV, light truck or minivan?

By the book

While your human brood does not come with an owner’s manual, your car does. Read up on your vehicle.

Become familiar with the safety features. Know what all the knobs and buttons do and where to refill things like windshield washer fluid and antifreeze.

Your owner’s manual provides recommended maintenance schedules and other important warnings, and, by giving it a quick glance, you can save yourself the frustration of not knowing how to program the radio presets or change the clock for daylight saving time.

Well-car visits

Prevention is the best medicine. That’s why you get a yearly checkup. The well-visits monitor your health and prevent illness. You should consider similar checkups for your car.

During a regular vehicle maintenance visit, a car care professional will inspect the battery, brake and cooling systems, engine oil and filter, wheels, tires and more. They will provide guidance on what should be repaired or replaced and when.

You may find that a small, less expensive repair made now will prevent a bigger hit to your wallet later and keep your car running longer.

Good food and exercise

After preventive and necessary care, similar to a person, tending to your car comes down to feeding it, cleaning it and making sure it gets enough exercise.

Your vehicle requires fuel to properly run. Some vehicles call for specific grades or types of fuel to operate at an optimal level. Check your owner’s manual for recommendations. Using a fuel different from what’s suggested can make the car run slower and be at risk for future problems.

The elements can be rough on your car. Salt, de-icers and other road treatments can wreak havoc on your vehicle’s finish. So give your car a bath every once and a while and be sure to clean the undercarriage whenever possible. And don’t forget a good coat of wax to prevent sun damage.

Finally, your family members need exercise and so does your vehicle. If your car sits idle for too long, problems can occur. Take it for a drive. It’s good for the vehicle, as well as the driver.

Treat scrapes

Your vehicle is bound to see a scratch or two from things like road salt, pebbles and other road hazards. It’s better to treat these when they are small so rust and corrosion do not cause further damage.

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