It is that time of year, when everyone wants to escape the sweltering heat of Phoenix, Arizona by heading out on to the highways in search of a cooler climate. Before hitting the road in search of a beach or mountain-top retreat, consider that poor car maintenance can contribute to car crashes. While there are no statistics readily available for Arizona, according to British American Auto Care, Inc., 5.2% of automobile accidents are caused by car neglect. Make sure that your car is safe, and save money! Many car owners do not realize that regular preventative maintenance is less costly than a major auto repair, but it is true. Keeping up with routine maintenance, checking the oil levels regularly, and testing out your brakes is a great way to avoid car accidents caused by maintenance neglect. Checking brake lines for rust or damage is a must because break lines snapping is a dangerous problem. Of paramount importance is making sure your tires are not old and worn down and threatening to blowout. A blowout occurs when a flat tire is so severely damaged that it immediately loses all air pressure and typically causes a driver to lose control, which is why it is one of the top causes of car accidents.
Suggestions for maintaining your car in tiptop condition include:
- Do consistent oil changes. Whether you do the oil change yourself or take the car for a professional oil change, oil will keep your engine clean and lubricated, avoiding the friction that wear down engine parts.
- Check tire pressure often. Properly inflation at the pressure specified in the owner's manual prevents unnecessary wear and helps extend tire life. In addition, keeping your tires properly inflated will give you better gas mileage,
- Rotate your tires. Switch the tire position from front to rear and vice versa -- helps them wear equally. A tire rotation should generally be done every 6,000 miles, or as often as the car manufacturer recommends.
- Consider replacing old tires. even if your tires are not worn out, old tires can fail and cause a dangerous blowout.
- Have your tires aligned once a year. An alignment adjusts your vehicle's steering and suspension so that it is in line with your car manufacturer's specifications.
- Have your brakes checked annually. Brake pads and shoes eventually wear down. Neglecting brake repair can lead to more costly rotor of disc replacement.
- Change spark plugs and filters on a regular basis. A well-maintained engine guarantees optimal performance at all times, especially in crisis situations.
An excellent article from Bankrate, Inc. entitled “True Cost of Not Maintaining Your Car” and a Must-do Car Maintenance chart gives some helpful maintenance tips.
Jay L. Ciulla is a Phoenix, Arizona attorney who helps people with car accident, personal injury and wrongful death cases. Call 602 495 0053 for a free consultation.