December 1

The Top 8 Things Every Car Owner Should Know and Regularly Check


Owning a car provides you with freedom and flexibility but also requires responsibility. Caring for your vehicle properly can prevent many expensive repairs, save on gas costs, and keep you on the road for years. At Huffines Hyundai Plano, we understand truck, minivan, or SUV ownership can be overwhelming, so we suggest that every car owner become familiar with and regularly check these areas of their vehicle.

Maintenance Schedule

Image by Skica911 is licensed with Pixabay License

As a car owner, it’s important to know your vehicle’s specific maintenance schedule. Not only will this keep your truck, car, or minivan in top-notch condition, but it may also prevent major damage and expensive repairs. A typical maintenance schedule usually includes oil, fluid, and filter changes. These essential parts produce clean air and clean fuel to keep the engine running at its best.

While most vehicles follow a similar maintenance schedule, some cars, SUVs, and minivans require maintenance specific to their make and model. Whether your vehicle needs regular maintenance or special upkeep services, we recommend checking the owner’s manual or calling one of our factory-trained technicians. We are happy to explain the type of regular maintenance your vehicle needs and the service intervals you should follow.

Oil Changes

Without oil, your car’s engine would seize up from overheating and suffer significant harm. Oil is responsible for coating and lubricating all the engine’s moving parts, cooling it down, and protecting it from debris and unusual wear and tear. A routine oil change regimen makes all the difference between a healthy running vehicle and a poorly performing machine. Most vehicles do fine if the oil is changed every three months or every 3,000 miles. To be safe, check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your particular truck or SUV.

Engine Fluids

While changing your car’s oil is important, several other engine fluids also need to be checked regularly. Transmission fluid keeps the vehicle’s drivetrain cool, clean, and well-lubricated. Differential fluid minimizes friction in the differential system so it can seamlessly deliver power to the wheels. Some vehicles have both a front and rear differential, so be sure to check with your Plano mechanic or the owner’s manual to find out if the fluid needs to be regularly serviced and replaced in both systems.

In addition to transmission and differential fluid, it’s necessary to check other fluid levels in your car, such as coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. Coolant helps regulate the engine’s temperature, so it doesn’t end up overheating. Without proper levels of brake fluid or power steering fluid, both of these systems will be much more difficult to operate. No one wants to drive a car that doesn’t brake in time or requires a weightlifter’s muscles to steer.

Tire Pressure and Tread

Another crucial area you’ll want to become familiar with is the tire pressure and tread. The condition of your tires can make or break your gasoline budget. A visual inspection is usually enough to see if the tires need more air. If the tires seem low, use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure. This should be done about once a month or before you take a long road trip. Check the owner’s manual to determine the recommended PSI for your particular vehicle.

If you’ve ever noticed your vehicle losing traction while driving on ice or the brakes not working as fast as they should in snow or rain, you definitely want to examine the tire’s tread depth. Tires with good tread can properly grip the road and keep the vehicle from sliding during unfavorable road conditions. New tires typically have a tread depth of either 10/32 inches or 11/32 inches. If that tread dips below 2/32 inches, it’s time to get some new tires.

Lights and Turn Signals

Driving with lights or turn signals that aren’t working can easily cause an accident and land you a ticket with a hefty fine. Turn signals, headlights, and brake lights are relatively easy to check. Turn your headlights and high beams on when you’re parked in front of a building or your garage. You can enlist the help of a friend to check the parking and brake lights. Have them inspect these lights as you turn them off and on or as you step on the brake.

Spark Plugs

While spark plugs are small, they pack a punch when it comes to giving your vehicle the power it needs. If they’re not functioning properly, the engine will lose power, and you may be stuck in your Plano driveway or the grocery store parking lot, going nowhere fast. A decrease in the engine’s power is a tell-tale sign that the spark plugs may be going bad.

Battery Performance

In addition to the spark plugs, without a properly working battery, your vehicle will not run. The battery provides electricity to important vehicle systems like the starter and engine and many other features such as interior and exterior lights, infotainment systems, and power locks and windows. Dim headlights, a cracked battery, and an engine that cranks but won’t start are all indications that the battery may be on its way out.

Engine Warning Signs

We often think the worst when one of the warning signs on our car’s dashboard lights up. While some warning signs aren’t necessarily a cause for panic, there are a few that you should have checked immediately. These lights — the engine oil light, engine temperature gauge, and brake light — indicate a more serious problem with your vehicle. A hot engine, low oil pressure, or damaged brake light can result in a dangerous car accident or vastly expensive car repairs.

When your truck, SUV, or minivan needs important maintenance performed, contact our service center to make an appointment. Our factory-trained technicians have the knowledge and education necessary to get your vehicle back in working condition quickly. With our modern service center and high-quality parts, we are more than capable of handling any type of auto repair. We gladly serve Plano and all surrounding areas with our exceptional car maintenance and repair services.


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