- 45,000 accidents a year are caused by vehicle malfunctions
- The average vehicle needs an oil change every 7,500 miles
- It can take over 160 ft to stop from 40 mph, even with well maintained brakes
Now that it’s the New Year, you are likely making resolutions to take care of yourself and improve your finances. At Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon, we would like to suggest that one overlooked way to accomplish both goals is to care for your vehicle throughout the year.
As experienced Pensacola car accident attorneys, we’ve had plenty of cases illustrating how improper vehicle maintenance can lead to serious accidents. In turn, these accidents can have devastating, life-altering effects that include severe personal injuries and major financial setbacks.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that 45,000 accidents each year, on average, result from vehicle malfunctions. Slow brakes, sluggish steering, and even seized engines can all be the triggering incident that leads to an accident — or makes what could have been a minor accident far worse.
To prevent costly repairs and even costlier accidents from occurring, consider adding the following car maintenance tasks onto your routine as part of your New Year’s resolutions.
Change Your Oil Every 5k to 10k Miles
Changing your oil is a basic car ownership responsibility, yet many people ignore it. While it may be true that you no longer need to change your oil every 3,000 miles as once recommended by manufacturers, you should stay on top of your engine oil quantity and quality around that time.
According to a study conducted by the New York Times, the average vehicle will need an oil change every 7,500 mile intervals. However, if you drive your vehicle in heavy traffic or extreme weather, such as during Pensacola, Florida’s sweltering summers, your vehicle could need a change in as little as 5,000 miles.
To be able to tell when your oil needs changing, simply check the dipstick every 1-2 weeks. Keep an eye out for oil volume as well as quality. Dark, sticky oil that smells a bit burnt is a sure sign you may need an oil change ASAP.
Tire Pressure and Rotation
Your car’s tires are what keeps it on the road. If you have low treads or the improper tire pressure, your vehicle’s entire performance will suffer. Worse, you may increase the risk of a catastrophic blowout at highway speeds.
Check your tire pressure at least monthly using a reliable gauge. You can use the penny test to see if your tire treads are getting low at the same time. Fill your tires to the manufacturer-recommended PSI as indicated in your driver’s side door frame sticker.
Rotating your tires every 10,000 miles or so can keep your tire tread wear more even, giving you more reliable grip while extending the life of your tire. Consult your owner’s manual for a maintenance schedule to see the particulars for your make and model.
Brake Pads and Rotors
Every time you get an oil change, you should ask your mechanic to take a look at your brake pads and rotors. Your brake pads will need to be replaced every 20k to 70k miles, at an average of 50,000 miles.
A typical car takes around 160 feet to stop completely from 40 mph. Worn brake pads can cause this distance to increase, as can warped rotors or dirty brake fluid.
Check your owner manual for the recommended intervals to check and replace vital brake components, and do not hesitate to have these systems inspected as part of routine maintenance.
The overall life of your car battery can shrink dramatically under extreme conditions. If you have dirty contacts, for instance, or drive your vehicle in the extreme summer heat, you could be facing a surprise dead battery right in the middle of a highway trip.
Prevent this by visually inspecting your battery every month or so. You can also have the battery’s charge tested during routine appointments. Do not hesitate to replace batteries with problematic charge capacities.
Windshield Wipers and Wiper Fluid
They may seem like a simple thing, but your windshield wipers provide a vital safety function when driving. Replace your wipers at least once every six months to keep them functioning, and check your fluid regularly. Otherwise, you could be effectively blinded by rain, dirt, or even bugs while traveling at high speeds.
Contact Our Pensacola Car Accident Lawyers After You’ve Been in an Accident
Even if you take perfectly good care of your vehicle, you may find yourself injured in a Florida car accident. Your accident could have been caused by the negligent behavior of the other drivers involved, which can include reckless driving as well as neglect of their vehicle’s vital safety systems.