Many customers ask my advice for ways to add more years of life to their vehicles. Here are a few pointers from my 35 years of experience in the auto repair industry, as well as some tips to keep you safer on the road.  

1.    Pull Through a Parking Spot.  Pull through to the other side of a parking space so your vehicle faces forward out of the space.  When you avoid backing out of a space you greatly reduce the chance of accidentally hitting another vehicle or a pedestrian walking behind your car.

2.    Keep Your Keyring Simple.  The weight of your keys, garage door openers and large keychain can become quite heavy.  This is not good for the ignition cylinder lock of your car and can damage it. Try to only carry the keys you need to drive your car.

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3.    Think Straight When Stopped at a Turn.  Whenever you are stopped at a light or are waiting to turn into a business or driveway, keep the wheels straight until you are actually moving into the turn.  Many drivers have been in severe and fatal accidents when stopped with their wheels turned and another vehicle hits them from behind and pushes their vehicle into oncoming traffic.  

4.    Be Gentle Removing Snow from A Vehicle.  After a heavy snow, many of us grab a household broom to make quick work of removing snow from our cars.  Using a broom meant for sweeping floors can scratch the paint on your car.  Instead, buy a soft car broom meant for snow removal or in heavy snow, try a foam snow pushing tool that can remove mounds of snow that can accumulate on the roof of your car.

5.    Tap Your Brakes to Alert a Distracted Driver.  When stopped in traffic or at a toll, keep an eye on your rearview mirror for anyone coming up fast behind you.  If you suspect the driver is distracted, tap your brakes repeatedly to get their attention.  The blinking of your brake lights will get noticed quicker than hitting your horn.

6.    Think Twice About Adding Oil When You Fill Up.  Many of today’s gas stations no longer repair cars, they simply fill our tanks with gas.  It’s fine to ask the attendant to check your oil but if you are low, time to get an oil change or that quart of oil as soon as possible from a certified repair facility.  Way too often a well-meaning gas station attendant has unwittingly poured oil into the brake or coolant systems and caused expensive damage to a vehicle.

7.    Check for Proper Air Pressure in Your Tires.  When a tire looks low it’s a good idea to fill it with air to avoid a problem on the road.  Check your driver’s side door jamb for the proper inflation level or your vehicle’s owner’s manual.  Check the psi reading with tire gauge before you add any air.  Once you add air, keep checking the pressure until you reach the recommended level.  (If your tires are overinflated, press the gauge tip on the valve stem until you hear air leak out.) When in doubt, give Knight's Automotive Repair a call and we can determine the proper inflation level or if you might have a slow leak.

8.    Never Change a Flat Tire on A Busy or Unsafe Road.  When you get a flat on a highway or a dark road it is safer to stay inside the vehicle and call for some roadside assistance than attempt changing the tire yourself.  Keep tire changing to driveways or a safe parking lot.   

9.    Wipers Up Before Snow Comes Down.  Before a snow or ice storm, always pull up your windshield wipers away from your windshield.  Wipers have a small transmission that moves the wipers back and forth to clear your windshield.  If snow or ice encumbers that mechanism too much it will burn it out and be a costly replacement. 

10.  Keep a Look-Out WAY Ahead When Driving.  When heading down the highway it’s better to look two or three cars ahead to be aware of what’s happening further up in traffic.  Too often we just watch the car in front of and that’s not enough time to react if there is a problem. Instead, anticipate any chain reaction of trouble – chances are you can steer out of it with plenty of time to spare.

Knight's Automotive Repair, a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, is located at 171 East Main Street in Ledgewood, NJ.  Give us a call at 973-927-0114 or visit us online to discuss any of the above pointers or for any maintenance or repair your vehicle may need.