Owning a car is a necessity for most people. It is also one of the largest financial investments you might ever make. Taking care of your car can help preserve that investment and lengthen the overall life of your vehicle. Performing regular maintenance either on your own or by taking your vehicle to a mechanic is an important part of being a responsible car owner.
Vehicle maintenance is about more than just extending a car’s lifespan or cutting down on unexpected repair bills. Just like you follow the rules of the road and practice good defensive driving habits, you can lower your risk of being involved in a car accident by being proactive with car maintenance.
Not everyone takes this responsibility so seriously, though. Delayed car maintenance has been definitively linked to car accidents. The Louisville auto accident attorneys of Thomas Law Offices suggest performing the following regular vehicle maintenance to help reduce your risk of causing a serious car crash.
Car Maintenance You Can Perform on Your Own
You do not have to be an auto expert to perform some routine maintenance on your own vehicle. The owner’s manual for your vehicle can provide a wealth of knowledge, and you can access car maintenance DIY information from credible online sources. Consider the following maintenance that can be performed at home with few to no tools and the timeline for which you should be performing it.
- Check your engine oil – Every 30 days, before a long road trip, or when your indicator light comes on. Replace engine oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles or if it is running low.
- Check your tire treads – Every 30 days or before a long road trip. It’s time for a replacement if your treads are below 2/32 of an inch.
- Check your tire pressure – Every 30 days, before a long road trip, or when your indicator light comes on. Fill the tires with air if the pressure measures less than the pounds per square inch (psi) described in your owner’s manual.
- Change your cabin air filters. – Every 6 to 12 months. Refer to your owner’s manual for information about which air filters to purchase and how to change them. The filter will either be located behind the glove box under the dashboard, or under the hood close to the base of your front windshield.
- Replace wiper blades – Every 6 to 12 months or when they no longer clear water from the windshield. Most vehicles use two different size windshield wiper blades—one for the driver’s side and one for the passenger’s side. Refer to your owner’s manual to locate the sizes you need to purchase. Always lay a towel across your windshield when changing the wipers. The windshield wipers attach to arms at the base of the windshield that you must lift up when changing out blades, and they may accidentally crack your windshield if you drop one on accident.
- Check your windshield washer fluid – Every two months or when your vehicle seems to be running low. You can purchase replacement windshield wiper fluid at auto stores and even many big box stores like Walmart, Target, or Costco.
These are all relatively easy, low-cost DIY maintenance tasks that you can perform to keep your vehicle running in optimal condition. Having a well-running vehicle also reduces your risk of causing an accident. When you are not worried about a weird sound your car is making or wondering why the windshield wipers are leaving streaks across your windshield, you’ll be able to better focus on the road and the task at hand.
Car Maintenance You Should Leave to Mechanics
While there are many maintenance tasks that the average car owner can do themselves, others should be left to professionals. If you do not have any area of expertise in vehicle maintenance, you’re best leaving the following up to your auto mechanic when you take your vehicle in for maintenance every 6 to 12 months:
- Radiator flushes
- Checking and changing brake pads
- Fuel filter replacements
- Spark plug replacements
- Belt and hose maintenance and replacements
- Checking and topping off fluid levels
You should also take your vehicle to the mechanic for any maintenance tasks you do not feel competent enough to complete. While learning as you go is always a possibility, never force yourself to complete a task that is obviously going awry. Auto mechanics are professionals with expert knowledge in a specialized area, and you should rely on that expertise when necessary.
If you are struggling to find the time or motivation to take care of maintenance tasks yourself, take your vehicle to the mechanic instead. It is never worth putting off vehicle maintenance, as it may damage your car while also putting you and others in harm’s way.
The Link Between Delaying Car Maintenance and Car Accidents
Vehicle malfunction causes an average of 45,000 car accidents every year. Of those, many can be directly linked to inadequate or poor vehicle maintenance. In this way, delaying car maintenance can cause accidents. A poorly maintained vehicle is more likely to:
- Suddenly stall
- Blow a tire
- Have steering problems
- Brake too slowly
When poor vehicle maintenance leads to a collision, the vehicle’s owner can often be held responsible for any resulting injuries or damages.
Proving that another driver was at fault for a maintenance-related accident can be a challenge, though. Car accident lawyers often rely on a number of different sources when demonstrating how a vehicle owner failed to properly maintain their car. Whether that means requesting access to maintenance records or vehicle damage reports from after the crash, Thomas Law Offices works tirelessly to make sure our clients are able to secure the compensation they deserve.
You do not have to deal with medical bills, lost wages, auto repairs, and other car accident-related damages all on your own. When you contact Thomas Law Offices to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer, we will go over the facts, the potential merits of your case, and your options for pursuing legal actions. Prioritize yourself and your recovery—contact us today.
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