Preventative Car Maintenance: The Basics

Preventative Car Maintenance

New drivers have likely heard about recommended maintenance. However, more experienced drivers may forget to tell them about preventative maintenance. Taking a few minutes out of your week for maintenance can help prevent future problems.

  • Owner’s Manual – Reading a boring manual isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, but the owner’s manual is the literal guide to your vehicle. Learning everything you need to know is pertinent to most owners. Drivers should at least find the manufacturer-recommended service schedule and mark the page for future reference.
  • Windshield Wiper – Windshield wipers should be replaced every six months as a general rule of thumb. A new set is relatively inexpensive, and it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to install. New wipers offer optimized visibility during rain and snow. Increased safety comes cheap when it comes to new windshield wipers. Consult your owner’s manual for specific installation instructions.
  • Engine Air Filter – Regularly replacing the engine air filter is a necessity for every vehicle. The owner’s manual will tell you how many miles or months should pass between each new filter. Consider asking a dealership to give the air filter a good look during your next service appointment.

We here at Nissan of Lake Charles have a few preventative car maintenance tips that could prove useful to both new and experienced drivers- come in and see us if you have any other questions!

How to Change a Flat Tire

change a flat tire

If you find yourself on the side of the road with a flat tire, don’t worry! As long as you have a spare tire and the parts to change it in your trunk, it’s a cinch. Knowing how to change a flat tire is one of the most essential parts of being a car owner, so memorize these steps.

First, make sure you’re a good way off the road, especially if the flat is on the side facing the road. Turn on your hazard lights, then get out your parts. All you need is a wrench and a jack. Loosen the lug nuts, but don’t remove them yet. When they’re loose, consult your owner’s manual to find the right spot for the jack, and jack up the car. Remove the lug nuts the rest of the way and pull the tire off. Keep track of the nuts!

Next, it’s a simple process of putting the spare on, screwing the lug nuts back on partway, lowering the jack, and screwing the nuts the rest of the way on with the wrench. Make sure they’re very tight—you don’t want the tire to go spinning off. And that’s it!  You’ve changed your tire!

To learn more about taking care of your vehicle, or for questions about your vehicle’s service, stop by Nissan of Lake Charles today to find out more!

Get Ready For The Season With These Winter Car Preparation Tips

Winter Road

Gearing up for a cold winter? One of the most important measures you can take this year is to prepare your vehicle for hazardous road conditions ahead of time – and not after you’ve barely survived the year’s first freeze. Here are some winter car preparation tips to get you started:

  • Make sure that your vehicle is caught up on all routine maintenance, including oil changes and any inspections.
  • Top off all your fluids, especially windshield wiper fluid.
  • Inspect your tires thoroughly, ensuring that you have plenty of tread, and consider installing winter tires.
  • Test out your heating system, especially if you haven’t used it since last winter. You won’t want to discover that it’s broken once it’s too late!
  • Update any emergency gear you have in your car for the winter – perhaps adding a warm blanket, a snow shovel, and a cozy hat.
  • Lastly, purchase some deicer fluid and a top-notch ice scraper, and prevent a frosty, icy windshield from ever making you late for work this season.

And of course, pay close attention to the weather forecast, and if possible, avoid dangerous, icy roads as much as you can. To learn more, visit us at Nissan of Lake Charles.

Fall Car Maintenance: Preparing for Colder Weather

Car Maintenance

With fall right around the corner, now is the perfect time to consider preparing your car for colder weather and regular upkeep. From basic service to important repairs, fall car maintenance is an important part of extending your car’s life.

According to Carecare.org, there are four things to keep in mind:

  • Battery—make sure the terminals are free of corrosion, and that the connections are all secure. Also, if you’ve had it for more than two years, consider buying a new one – cold weather can be especially harsh on your electrical system.
  • HVAC—that stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Clean vents with compressed air, clean air filters, and make sure your A/C system is charged. Check your wipers for wear as well.
  • Tires—check tread depth and pressure. Uneven wear, bald spots, and cracks mean you should consider buying new ones. When checking pressure, remember that cold weather decreases air pressure.
  • Brakes—having your brakes checked could save your life, especially with upcoming bad weather. Have your linings, rotors, pads, and drums looks at.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be better prepared for the fall.  Let us know at Nissan of Lake Charles if you have any questions about fall car maintenance and we will be glad to assist you!

Preparing Your Car for a Summer Road Trip

Family Road Trip

Summer is here, which means it’s time for some fun. If you’re planning a road trip in the next few months, here are some tips on preparing your car for a summer road trip:

  • Get a tune-up. Nobody wants any mechanical issues while they’re travelling. Take your car in for some routine maintenance to make sure you won’t be hit with any surprise repairs while on vacation.
  • Clean your car. While you don’t need to do a full wash and wax, clean out the interior from any built-up junk. This will eliminate excess weight and make it much easier to pack the car when you’re getting ready to leave.
  • Be prepared for issues. Yes, you took your car in for a tune-up, but that won’t guarantee you won’t have any issues. Be sure to pack an emergency kit so you’re prepared for the unexpected. You never know when you might accidentally leave your headlights on and need a jump. In that case, something like this portable, rechargeable jump starter will be a life saver.

These tips on preparing your car for a summer road trip are sure to make your travels even more relaxing. Do you have any additional tips to make sure your car is ready for the road?  Tell us at Nissan of Lake Charles in the comments below!

Chilling Out and Other Things to do After a Car Accident

Steps after Car Accident

Drive long enough and it’s highly likely you’ve been involved in a least a fender bender.  That’s the sad truth. The good news is that the vast majority of car accidents cause no injuries and very little damage. But still, there are certain things to do after a car accident, no matter what.

First things first: chill out. Even if you have every reason to be upset, yelling at the other party or being aggressive in any way is never going to pay off. Speaking of blame, don’t ever discuss culpability. That’s for the police to decide.

Document as much as you can about the accident. Take pictures of the damage on your cell phone. As far as talking to the other driver, HowStuffWorks says that generally “you’ll need to get the other driver’s name, address, insurance company, and policy number.”

Do not deny yourself medical attention if you at all feel it is necessary. It’s best to seek treatment at the scene then anytime later when it may prove difficult to make a case that your injury is accident-related.

Accidents happen but their damage and inconvenience can be mitigated by planning and preparation.  At Nissan of Lake Charles, we want to make sure that you are taking the proper steps to keep yourself safe, before and after an accident.

Don’t Forget to Set Your Parking Brake!

Now be honest: how many of you set the parking brake every time you park? We at Nissan of Lake Charles admit we forget at times; but we dare say many of us should be using the parking brake much more often than we do.

Your parking brake is not only for emergencies when the brakes fail or for parking on steep hills. According to Driver’s Ed Guru, the parking brake should be set each time you park your car.

If you set the brake before you release your foot from the brake pedal and move your gearshift into park, the parking brake helps take the pressing weight off the transmission (manual or automatic). It also provides a smoother transition as you shift into drive and hit the road again.

Perhaps you already knew all of this information, but you simply forget to set your parking brake. We suggest you place an item next to the brake handle to remind you to set it and subsequently release it before you get back on the road. For instance, a cell phone charger or a pair of sunglasses work well – something inexpensive that you don’t mind leaving in the vehicle.

Join us as we all make a conscious effort to remember to set our parking brakes.