Not everyone can replace ball bearings on the wheel of a car, install a new headlight or change spark plugs.
But there are some basic automotive maintenance tasks that Bridgestone Tire recommends completing on a regular basis “to maximize the life and performance of your vehicle.” According to the law firm of Phillips & Millman, some of these tasks can also bolster your case if you’re ever in court because of a motor vehicle accident.
First, the Bridgestone list:
- Check your oil and coolant levels at least once a month.
- Allow your car’s engine to maintain proper air flow by checking the air filter.
- Check tire pressure and tread depth, and don’t forget the spare. You’ll need a tire pressure gauge and don’t forget that, during the winter, tire pressure drops because of the cold.
- Conduct a simple visual inspection of your headlights, turn signals, brake lights and parking lights. You’ll need a family member or friend to help with the brake lights.
- The importance of checking and changing the oil in your car cannot be overstated. Motor oil lubricates your cars moving parts; serves as a sealant against debris; cools the engine; reduces wear and tear; and helps prevent corrosion. Oil change service centers are typically easy to find in any community, if you’re unable to perform this task yourself.
- Rotating the car’s tires will help extend the life of each tire by balancing the tread wear. This task will also prevent noise and vibration issues.
“Worn brakes, rusty shock absorbers, tires low on air,” according to speedwaymedia.com, “these can all contribute to the effectiveness of your car’s ability to react properly in the event of a dangerous situation…”
Some of Speedway’s suggestions for keeping an eye on your car’s condition include:
- Taking a penny and placing it in a groove of the tire tread with President Abraham Lincoln’s head upright and facing you. If you can see any part of the 16th president’s head, you might want to get your tires checked for wear by a professional.
- Checking your oil by first wiping the dipstick clean with a paper towel or rag, then re-inserting the dipstick and checking the level.
Sure, this is pretty basic stuff. But car maintenance records can play a pivotal role in court if you or the other driver files a lawsuit and claims the other person was negligent when it came to routine motor vehicle maintenance.
“Clearly, taking care of your car can help prevent an accident,” according to Phillips & Millman. “But it can also help you in litigation if the accident wasn’t your fault.”
In the process of taking depositions and during any trial the other side’s attorney may ask when you last had new brakes installed, or simply had them inspected. Opposing counsel may also ask when you last changed the tires on your car.
“This is typically asked to raise the issue and cloud the issues at hand about who actually caused the accident. If you take care of your vehicle, you can cast all this doubt aside and keep the story focused on you, your damages and everything that you’ve suffered.”