Bruce Chidsey, Vice President of Operations and of Technical Support for Aamco, says, "The average car on the road today is over 10 years old and they are nearing 100,000 miles. The average consumer today, they have to keep their car longer, so you have to maintain the vehicle."
Chidsey says preventive maintenance is key, especially in summer, to avoid big repair bills.
"The consequences of not maintaining your vehicle are dramatic in that it becomes very expensive," he explains. "If the engine has not been maintained, you could have internal damage to the engine, it'll set up fuel mileage issues with you, you won't get as good fuel mileage, and that's the same thing with the engine, the transmission and the other pieces and items that are in that car that also have oils and lubricants and lluids."
Among the simple, inexpensive steps you can take, Chidsey suggests checking the battery for corrosion and cleaning the terminals if you see white powder around them. If your battery is more than five years old, you might want to buy a new one before it dies.
"Heat is much more damaging to the battery than the cold is," he says.
You'll also want to check all the belts and hoses, which can get loose and dry out over time.
Chidsey says, "Belts and hoses are a rubber product, they do dry out, they do get dry-rotted, so you need to take a look at that. The drive belt today is a single belt. If that drive belt breaks, not only do you not have cooling, but you don't have steering anymore either."
It's also important to check fluid levels. Even anti-freeze, which you might think is just important in winter.
He adds, "If you don't have the right anti-freeze or the anti-freeze gets really old, you start losing the cooling properties and lubricating properties, and the anti-freeze properties that are in that coolant."
And before you take a summer road trip, rotate your tires and make sure they have good tread.
"If you continue to rotate them, they're going to continue to last a lot longer. You're going to get more wear out of that and better gas mileage with the air being properly inflated."
Aamco locations and other service centers will perform a free service check on many of these items.
And if you do need service, you can find Aamco coupons on their site, or on their iGaauge app.