It’s plain fact that certain vehicle components wear down with time and use. The effect is especially pronounced for work vehicles on the go all day long. One way — perhaps the best way — for businesses to minimize costly downtime is by being proactive. Performing regular maintenance on your vehicle before things go wrong will help mitigate the severity of some issues while preventing others altogether.
Use the checklist below to help make sure your car, truck or cargo van is ready for the summer months. After all, it’s okay if you take a summer vacation, but a well-cared-for work vehicle should seldom need extra time off.
- Check brakes: Brakes are one of the most used (and often abused) components. A thin layer of the brake pad disintegrates every time the brakes are applied. It’s vital to replace pads or shoes before drums or rotors become damaged. Check pads, shoes, drums, rotors, calipers, fittings, brake hardware and the parking brake to prevent problems.
- Check tires: A smooth and safe ride starts when the rubber meets the road. Check air pressure on all tires, including the spare, as improper tire pressure leads to premature wear and a decrease in fuel mileage. The entire surface of the tire, both tread and sidewall, should be inspected for uneven or irregular wear. Excessive edge wear, center wear and shoulder wear may be signs that other maintenance is required.
- Check wiper blades: Be prepared for summer storms. Properly functioning wiper blades increase visibility in all conditions. Some all-season wiper blades – like those from Mopar® – are made from an all-metal superstructure that provides durability and reliable performance.
- Check headlamps, tail lamps, turn signals and hazard lights: Properly functioning headlamps and tail lamps play an important role in safe driving, especially at nighttime or in rainy or foggy conditions. Inspect and test all exterior lamps and lights, including turn signals and hazard lights, to ensure they are in proper working order and alignment.
- Check air filter: The air filter is one of the unsung heroes of a vehicle, as it protects the engine from airborne contaminants. Poor airflow within the engine hinders performance and can lead to greater fuel consumption. Replacing a dirty air filter allows clean, unrestricted airflow into the engine and helps ensure proper performance and longer life.
- Check oil: Oil is the lifeblood of the engine. Engine oil level should be checked often, with the oil being changed and replenished regularly. Low or dirty oil may have dire consequences on how the engine and its components perform, especially under the extreme heat and conditions of summer driving.
- Check all fluid levels: With the increase in miles driven during warm-weather months, vehicle fluids and lubricants should be checked often and changed at factory-recommended intervals to make sure they’re fresh and filled. Dirty fluids and low fluids may affect the performance of a vehicle and can lead to breakdowns if not properly monitored and filled.
- Check engine belts, hoses and fuel filter: Belts and hoses under the hood play an important part in the proper function and performance of the engine. Prevent breakdowns or serious engine damage by replacing belts and hoses at recommended intervals. Checking and replacing the fuel filter is also key to ensuring that the engine is running at its optimal level and maximizes fuel economy.
- Check battery: Having reserve power to run the air conditioning and other vehicle accessories in the summer is priceless. When checking the battery, be sure to look for corroded terminals, and inspect for a bulging or cracked case.
- Check shocks and struts: Following the traditional cold-weather pothole season, shocks and struts should be checked. Shocks and struts are vital to a smooth ride and may also affect a number of related parts on your vehicle. Mopar shocks and struts optimize vehicle handling, tire life and keep vehicles riding smoothly.
These maintenance tips provided by FCA US LLC. As a member of SAF, you, your household family members and employees are eligible for a $500 cash allowance toward the purchase or lease of select Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram or FIAT® Brand vehicles. Visit safnow.org/fca for more information.