quick auto maintenance tips

n Maintain proper fluid levels: Check all your fluids regularly—brake, power steering, transmission, motor oil and antifreeze. Yes, seasonal changes are great reminders, but this should be done all year.

n Keep your engine tuned: When does your manual say to check and/replace your ignition components? When was the last time you did it? Do you even know what ignition components are? Worn spark plugs, old wires, or a restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.

n Clean out your car to prepare for the upcoming road trips: Take out the picnic basket and beach towels and replace with snow brushes, warm blankets and kitty litter. Don’t forget extra phone chargers, gloves, hats and hand warmers.

n Check battery cables and posts: Inspect battery cables and posts for corrosion and clean them as needed. The battery fluid also should be checked and filled if it is low, except in the case of maintenance-free batteries. This is not only easy, it will give you piece of mind. n Inspect engine belts regularly: Belts

that run your engine are only made of rubber, they get brittle and crack, potentially leaving you stranded on the side of the road. Now that you’re ready to take that road trip, make sure your belts are healthy for the ride.

n Check the air filtration system: You might as well get more for your money and replacing your dirty air filter can give you up to 10 percent better gas mileage.

n Check windshield washer blades: If they are cracked, dry or ripped, replace them. Having clear vision is important during any season. But winter weather, salt and sand can further obstruct vision. Keep those blades and wipers clean.

n Monitor your vehicle’s maintenance schedule year-round: Keeping your car properly maintained is not a seasonal thing. You should be performing regular maintenance all year long in order to keep overall repair costs down and your car’s performance up.