Simple car maintenance ideas to extend the life of your vehicle through Southern Illinois weather

January 13th, 2022 by

Whether you drive a new or used car, it is one of your most valuable assets, and you want it to keep running like new for many years to come. That’s why it’s important to have a regular maintenance schedule for your vehicle. The varied seasons in Illinois bring different challenges for your car, with many components suffering from extremely hot or cold temperatures.

A well-maintained car is safer, runs more efficiently, has a longer life span, and saves you money. Drivers in Marion, Illinois, can carry out some basic maintenance jobs themselves, while other tasks should be left to professional technicians at a reliable service center, such as Ike Honda. Here, we’ll look at some of the routine maintenance that can extend the life of your vehicle.

Fluid Levels

Several fluids are essential for keeping your car running smoothly. As part of scheduled service at Ike Honda, our technicians will check and change the fluids as necessary, but you should check the levels every week and top them up if needed. It’s one of the easiest but most important jobs on your car.

Your car’s engine oil lubricates the metal parts and helps absorb heat to keep the components moving smoothly. Use the dipstick to check that your oil is at the recommended level, which is between the minimum and maximum marks on the dipstick. If the oil needs topping up, be sure to use the correct grade and don’t overfill it.

Similar to engine oil, transmission fluid helps keep the gears in your automatic transmission working smoothly together. When the fluid drops below the recommended level, it could become contaminated, causing excess wear and shortening your transmission’s life. The transmission dipstick is at the rear of the engine bay.

The cooling system needs to be topped up with the correct mix and level of water and antifreeze. This mixture stops the engine from overheating, stops it from freezing in the cold Marion winters, and helps prevent rust from forming. If you notice the coolant level falling rapidly, bring the car to the service center at Ike Honda to have the system and hoses checked for leaks.

The brake fluid in your car’s hydraulic braking system is vital for safe and efficient slowing down and stopping. Brake fluid doesn’t evaporate, so if you notice it dropping below the recommended level, the system might have a leak. Bring your car to Ike Honda so one of our factory-trained technicians can inspect the braking system.

Your vehicle’s power steering fluid helps you steer and maneuver your car smoothly. If the fluid drops too low, your car will become difficult to steer, making it dangerous to drive around the streets of Marion.

Oil Change

Over time, your car’s engine oil becomes contaminated with dirt and other particles from the engine, reducing its lubricating and heat-absorbing properties. Depending on the type of driving you mostly do, we recommend bringing your car to our Ike Honda service department every 3,000 to 7,000 miles to have the oil and oil filter changed.

Brake Inspection

For safe driving, it’s essential that your car’s braking system is working properly. You should check your brake pads for wear every month, and if they are less than a quarter-inch thick, you should have them replaced. If you leave it too long to change the pads, you could end up with the calipers grinding on the rotors, leading to a more expensive repair.

A number of signs can tell you if your brakes need to be inspected. When you apply the brakes and the car pulls to one side or the other, you feel juddering, you hear grinding or squealing noises or the pedal feels spongy, bring your car to Ike Honda for us to check and fix the problem.

Tire Check and Rotation

Your car’s tires are the vehicle’s only connection to the road, and it’s important to keep them in good condition and at the correct pressure. If the tire pressure is too high or too low, your vehicle’s cornering, braking, and stability could be affected. You should check the tire pressure every week. At the same time, check the tread for wear and inspect the sidewalls for bulges and cracks.

Every six months or so, your car’s tires should be rotated. This will help them wear more evenly, maintain their optimum grip, and last longer. At Ike Honda, while rotating your tires, our technicians will also perform tire services, including checking the tire pressure and tread depth to help keep you safe on the road.

Wheel Balancing and Alignment

As you drive on the roads of Williamson and Johnson Counties, bumps and potholes in the road can throw out the balance and alignment of the wheels. If you notice vibration through the steering wheel, your wheels are probably out of balance. The Ike Honda tire specialists can adjust the weights on the wheels to make them turn smoothly.

If your steering pulls to one side or the other, your steering wheel is off-center when you drive straight, or the tire tread is wearing unevenly, your wheel alignment is off. That can also put extra strain on the steering and suspension components. Our technicians can check and adjust the direction and angle of the wheels using our specialized alignment system to ensure your car runs straight and true.

Battery Inspection

To avoid a faulty or dead battery, you should inspect it regularly. Dirty connections can weaken the battery’s charge, so check the clamps for dirt, grease, and oxidation, and clean them as necessary. Keep the battery casing clean and make sure it’s secure. If you haven’t had a new battery for a couple of years, bring the car to Ike Honda, and our technicians can check the charging capacity and advise you if the battery needs to be replaced.

These simple maintenance tasks will help prevent expensive future repairs, keep your car running like new, prolong its life, and save you money. Contact us today at Ike Honda to schedule a service. To save even more money, check out the service specials on our website.