Keeping Your Older Car Safe – 5 things to Check

Keep Up With the Maintenance on Your Older Car

Every day we drive around in our trusty vehicles. If you are like a lot of people, you only take your car in for service when something goes wrong. Maybe you can’t afford the time without your car or maybe you’re afraid of a big bill (aren’t we all!). Whatever the reason, most of us will occasionally let car maintenance slip through the cracks. And while it’s ok to go a few hundred or even a thousand miles beyond your oil change date, there are some things that shouldn’t be overlooked. These are the things that may pose a safety hazard to you and your loved ones or even the unsuspecting occupant of another car.

At Econo Auto Painting we see all kinds of cars every day. Cars that people cherish with love and regular maintenance and cars that are only used to get from point A to point B. Whatever your feelings for your car, we’ve put together a list of some of the most important safety factors not to be overlooked. They are safety issues that can make a big difference when making your daily commute. Keeping you and those around you a little bit safer.

#1 Tires

For some reason, even very safety conscious people will overlook their tires. Unless they are bald or blown out, many drive around well past the “use-by” date on their tires. Mothers driving their children around on bad tires, church busses carrying elderly people, workmen in vans with heavy ladders and equipment – too many people drive on bad tires.

Many years ago, there was a safety scandal around a certain Ford SUV, seems they were prone to flipping at high speeds. When the investigation was over, the conclusion was that, yes, the vehicle was prone to tipping. But, a large portion of the vehicles involved in crashes were running on bald tires! A tire would blow out and the driver would lose control, causing the vehicle to flip. Potential disasters can be avoided with good tires.

It’s important for people to understand that tires are one of the most important safety features on your car. Good tires grip the road during rain and snow and help the overall handling of your vehicle. Firestone suggests a little test to see how worn your tires are:

From the Firestone blog:

A penny might not be worth much but it can help keep you safe with this easy test!  Take the penny and put it into a groove on your tire with Lincoln’s head facing you and upright. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tires are probably worn and need replacing. If part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread your tires are probably ok. As with anything, this is not a scientific test and your mechanic is the one who can tell you for sure when you need new tires.

You can read more about looking after your tires on the Firestone blog

#2 Windshield wipers

Have you ever not known how bad your wipers were until a heavy downpour happens when you are driving? This has happened to all of us, particularly during times of drought when we don’t have occasion to use our wipers.

Windshield wipers deteriorate over time. The sun, heat, and cold all contribute to the breakdown of the rubber causing the blades to come apart. In addition to the dangers of having bad blades during a rain or snow storm, a shredded wiper blade can permanently scratch your windshield resulting in a big expense to replace.

econo auto painting car safety

Wiper blades are not expensive. You can go to most chain auto parts stores, purchase a pair within your budget and they will even install them free of charge. And don’t forget the back blade if you have one! A small investment for peace of mind, check your blades before you need them!

#3 Headlights

If you drive an older vehicle, chances are your headlights have become yellowed from the sun and scratched from road debris. This is a normal occurrence that happens over time. Because this happens slowly, most people don’t even realize they aren’t getting the full benefit of their headlights at night.

If your car is more than 5 years old, take a moment to look at your headlights to see if they are in need of some attention. Although replacing the entire headlight can be pricey, restoring them can be surprisingly affordable. Many of the top car care lines now carry headlight restoration products that are quick and easy to use.

If your headlights look cloudy or yellow, check out one of the many products on the market. All it takes is about an hour and some elbow grease and you will be surprised at the improvement.

#4 Rusted brake lines

For those who are having regular maintenance checks, your mechanic will be looking at your brake lines. If not, and your car has been in a winter environment with snow and salt, there is a good chance your brake lines could be rusty. It only takes a minute for a mechanic to check. And everyone knows the dangers of faulty brakes!

#5 Recalls

Here is a tip that will cost you nothing! If you have moved since you bought your new car, or bought a used car, there is a good chance the vehicle manufacturer doesn’t have your current address. This means that any notices regarding recalls on your vehicle may not have found you.

vehicle recallsYou can take the VIN from your car (it will be on your registration slip), go to the NHTSA website and check for any recalls on your vehicle. If you find something, call a local dealer and make an appointment to have the item fixed. No charge!

Check for recalls here:

Now that you know your car is safe, it might be a good time to think about how it looks! Why not stop into Econo for a FREE Estimate and see what it might cost to get your car looking good too!

Show your car some love…

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