Like your annual health physical, preventative car maintenance is essential to ensure your vehicle doesn’t bite the dust. Now that 2018 is upon us, you should really consider what needs to be done with your car in the new year—and that means more than just changing your oil! Here are three car care tasks that you should resolve to accomplish when January begins.
- Clean & Test Your Car Battery
If you’ve ever experienced the drama that comes with a dead car battery, you’ll know why this is first on our car maintenance checklist. Missing work in the morning because of a bad battery is stressful—finding yourself stranded in a Lynchburg parking lot during the dead of winter is a whole different story. Don’t let it happen to you!
At BMW of Lynchburg, we recommend popping the hood and taking a gander at your car’s battery. Are the terminals and connections corroded? Do the cables look old and worn down? Is the battery itself plumper than a Christmas ham? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of those questions, you’re probably in need of a new battery or thorough cleaning.
Luckily for you, the solutions are straightforward.
- How to Clean a Car Battery
- You’ll need a few items before beginning to clean your car battery (gloves, goggles, correctly sized wrench, baking soda, petroleum jelly, water, wire brush).
- Remove the battery cables from the terminals, loosening any ends and nuts as needed.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the terminals and cable ends. Use enough to cover any noticeable corrosion.
- Pour small amounts of water on the terminals and cable ends, allowing the chemical reaction to bubble for a few seconds.
- Scrub corrosion thoroughly with a wire Repeat as needed.
- Rinse everything with remaining water, then allow to air dry.
- Add petroleum jelly to terminals before reconnecting the cables.
The cost to clean a battery is negligible, so be sure to do it!
- How to Test a Car Battery
- Grab a multimeter (they’re cheap at most retailers) and don a pair of gloves and goggles.
- Set the multimeter to read “DC current/voltage.”
- Touch the multimeter leads to the appropriate positive and negative terminals.
- If the readings show anything above 12 volts, your battery is sufficiently charged. However, if you notice car problems after a weekend at home, test again.
Vehicle batteries aren’t a huge expense—you can get most generic batteries for about $100 and high-end batteries for approximately $200—and can be installed at your auto repair shop. At our BMW service center in Lynchburg, we can test, order, and install a car or BMW battery for you.
- Check Your Tires
In addition to regular tire rotations, you should also monitor your tires’ PSI and tread level, especially as the colder Lynchburg weather drops in.
For every 10 degrees, tire pressure can change by about 2% (increase with hot weather, decrease with cold weather). Just because your BMW’s TPMS shows an issue doesn’t mean there actually is one—those errors could just be related to the chilly morning temperatures. However, you should make a monthly habit of testing your tire pressure using a tire gauge. If the cold-weather PSI doesn’t match what is in your owner’s manual, pump them up at home or at a gas station.
Poor tire tread is dangerous and the cause of thousands of crashes every year. Although tire rotations help to even out tread wear, you should do more than rely on semi-routine car maintenance to keep you safe. When you check the PSI, be sure to also see how low your tire tread is. Use the penny or quarter test to determine how worn the rubber is, or look at the treadwear indicator lines if you’ve got new BMW tires.
If you notice ongoing tire problems or have bald tires, visit your service center or mechanic. Our Lynchburg Tire Service specialists will inspect, patch, and replace tires on any BMW or vehicle.
- Keep Up with Your Car Maintenance Schedule
Whether you own a BMW or another make of vehicle, you should follow the recommended maintenance schedule as outlined in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Most car maintenance services will be broken down by mileage, so you’ll know exactly when to plan a visit to your auto service shop. And if you’ve got a newer car, staying on top of routine maintenance will protect your warranty.
Of course, if your car service to-do list is getting too long, you may want to change your New Year’s resolution and invest in another vehicle. At BMW of Lynchburg, we have a large selection of new luxury cars and used vehicles for you to look at, as well as various BMW loaner cars for sale. Retired yet still capable of delivering on the promise of being an Ultimate Driving Machine, these BMW courtesy cars provide you with the following benefits:
- Titled only to our Lynchburg BMW dealership
- All BMW loaner vehicles have been factory certified
- Select models come with an extended warranty
- Low miles and like-new condition
- Great auto financing rates
- Exceptional pricing on late-model BMWs
Care to learn about or test drive any of our ex-loaner BMW cars or SUVs? Contact us at 434-385-6226 or head into our Lynchburg luxury car dealership at 2643 Lakeside Dr. Happy New Year!