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Prevent Common Car Problems

Prevent Common Car Problems

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — especially when it comes to avoiding or preventing common car problems. These helpful tips can help keep you safely on the road.

Roadside Emergencies

Sooner or later almost everyone has a roadside emergency. Keep an inconvenience from turning into a crisis by remaining prepared.

  • Have a Backup Plan: Whether you get a roadside assistance policy or just keep a friend’s phone number on the speed dial of your cell phone, make sure you have someone to call in emergency situations you can’t handle on your own.
  • Carry a Kit: For areas with harsh winters, you should include a blanket or even salt. On the other hand, while traveling through the hot, humid climate of Florida, bring insect repellant. You should always include a tire patch, flares and jumper cables.
  • Know How to Use It: All your equipment and tools won’t do any good if you don’t know how to use them. Whether you own or rent a car, always know how to open the hood, change a tire and other basic repairs.

Flat Tires

Without a doubt, flat tires are one of the most common car problems. Fortunately, with a little planning and preparation this is also one of the easiest to fix.

  • Regularly Inspect: Get into the habit of taking a quick walk around your vehicle to inspect the tires for possible damage or excessive wear and tear.
  • Periodic Maintenance: Don’t skimp on routine maintenance; in the long run, it's cheaper. Regular maintenance extends the life of your car and increases gas mileage. It’s easy to schedule your car for routine maintenance while you shop or taking care of other errands. Ask the tire technician to perform a more thorough inspection while testing the tire pressure and schedule a rotation and balance adjustment.
  • Inspect the Spare: At least once per year, have the spare tire inspected to make sure it's ready when you need it. Check that all the other equipment is available and in good working order. Many cars require a special key to remove the wheels as well as a jack and crowbar.
  • Practice. If you've never changed a wheel, practice in advance. Don’t just watch someone else change the tire; it can be hard to remove tightly locked nuts and replace a heavy tire, so make sure you try it yourself.

Maintenance Issues

Squeaks and Sounds: If your car starts making strange noises, chances are it needs to be fixed. Take the vehicle in for service or prevent the problem in the first place by scheduling routine maintenance.

Battery Problems: Dim lights, trouble getting the car started in the morning and a rough ride are just a few of the signs of potential battery problems. Find out the type and lifespan of your battery and plan to replace it before it becomes problematic. Your technician will make sure the battery terminals and wires are clean and in good condition during a routine inspection. If jumper cables seem a little intimidating or you don’t like the idea of asking strangers for help, consider buying an easy-to-operate Powerpack — many have a built-in radio, lights and emergency power sources to recharge other electronics.

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