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We all understand that it is much less expensive to prevent a car problem than it is to fix one. People sometimes avoid getting an annual checkup for their car much like they avoid an annual health checkup for themselves. In the end, both can result in a great deal of damage that can cost more money than you feel comfortable having to spend. You depend on your car on a daily basis so it is important to see that all its systems are working correctly. The California highways are not someplace you want to end up stranded if you can prevent it. Let’s take a look at what an annual checkup should include.

First Things First
Before you rely on what others say needs to be done on your car, your greatest friend is the owner’s manual. It is created specifically for your car and will give you the best idea of when to check various parts. If you have somehow misplaced the owner’s manual, you can most likely find a free copy online.

Self-Inspection
As a general rule, you should learn where the various fluids are in your car and check them monthly. Often, problems with the fluid levels or appearance can alert you to a problem that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible.
Also take a few moments to check that there are no visible bald spots on your tires and the air pressure is at the optimal level for your car. Check that all your lights, including the turn signal lights, are functioning properly and cleaned. Lastly, if your wipers are leaving streaks, it is time to change them.

Professional Annual Inspection
Annually, you want to get a professional check and tune-up. Just as you may miss something important in your own body if you don’t see a doctor, unless you are a licensed mechanic, you may miss something important in your car. While it may vary slightly from place to place, generally an annual inspection will include:

  • Changing the air, fuel and PCV filters
  • Changing your oil and oil filter
  • Rotating your tires and checking that bearings are all working properly
  • Checking your brakes. Often annual inspection will include bleeding your brakes to get rid of the normal contamination that occurs with use.
  • Changing the transmission fluid
  • Inspecting the various belts and replacing any that have become cracked or stretched
  • Replacing the points and plugs as well as the cap and rotor
  • Inspecting the cooling system
  • Inspecting the emission system
  • Checking for any leaks
  • Oiling the chassis
  • Inspect anything else that is required after so many miles, as indicated by your owner’s manual

Final Words
Giving your car the extra care it needs will help it get you where you are going when you need it. Replacing the parts that are showing wear and tear will prevent you having to spend hundreds of dollars down the road on a new radiator, motor, or other major parts. While you are at it, giving your car a regular washing will help keep the outside looking as good as the inside runs. After all, the hot Sun and rainy weather that are both so prevalent in California can do some major damage to the paint job. Being good to your car will keep it treating you well.