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Give Your Car a Onceover

How are you celebrating National Car Care Month ? Hopefully by keeping your vehicle in good running shape. Maintenance can improve your car's safety and dependability, as well as help to avoid costly repairs that might come down the proverbial road.

The Car Care Council recommends these basic maintenance steps to help keep your car in peak condition.

* Check oil, filters and fluids regularly.

* Inspect hoses at each oil change and replace when leaking, brittle, cracked, rusted, swollen or restricted.

* Check brake system every year and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.

* Check battery connection for clean, tight and corrosion-free connection.

* Schedule a tune-up so your engine will deliver a balance of power and fuel economy and produce low levels of emissions.

* Check the car's heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

* Inspect steering and suspension system annually, including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts, such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other components.

* Check pressure of all tires, including the spare, at least once a month. Also check treads for uneven or irregular wear, as well as cuts and bruises along the sidewalls.

* Test both exterior and interior lights and replace inoperable bulbs immediatley. Replace windshield wiper blades every six months or when cracked, cut, torn, streaking or chattering for optimum wiping performance and safety.

Do you routinely maintain your car? I don't until I receive a letter from the manufacturer. But don't tell anyone.

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