The 4 Rules of Car Maintenance

You probably don’t realize just how much you rely on your car day-to-day. Things like going to work, grocery shopping and even going to the post office to mail a letter are all simple things we take for granted that suddenly become much harder – if not impossible – without the aid of a vehicle.

Proper maintenance is often the only thing between a well-oiled driving experience and a break down at the worst possible time.

Here are four basic car care tips and tricks to keep you in the driver’s seat with confidence.

1. Keep it clean.

First, you should really think about washing your car. No really! That thing is filthy. Many people believe car washing is all about aesthetics, and to a certain extent, they’re right. But car washing has other, often unseen, benefits.

As you drive, dirt, mud, road salt and other debris accumulate on your car. If left too long unchecked, these can cause serious problems with your vehicle’s performance. In some worse case scenarios, not washing your car regularly can lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage as parts break or cracks form in your windshield. So always remember, even if your car looks clean, a regular, thorough washing ensures it’s free of junk from the road and in tip-top shape.

2. Get familiar.

Surprisingly, many Americans don’t know the first thing to do after popping the hood. Making sure your oil’s topped off, or that you have enough windshield wiper fluid is something the savvy car owner knows to do a few times a year at least. Being able to identify these different fluid ports and knowing how to use them is a must.

Also, be familiar with your car’s tire pressure. In most vehicles, a small chart listing manufacturer’s guidelines for tire pressure is found on the inside of the driver’s side door, near the bottom. While you shouldn’t have to check this as often as your fluids, knowing how to check it can be the difference between a flat tire and a fun night out. Not only will this knowledge save you if you ever find yourself on the shoulder of the road in a bind, but it’ll save you hundreds of dollars each year in maintenance fees.

3. Don’t ignore the warning.

If a strange light on your dashboard comes on, don’t ignore it! Vehicle manufacturers put those lights there to tell us when something goes wrong. Every vehicle should come with a manual with descriptions and explanations of all dashboard warning lights.

Always try to fix car problems as soon as they appear, even if it means risking a hefty repair bill by taking your vehicle into the shop. The longer these problems persist, the worse they can become until you suffer a serious breakdown that’ll make the bill for dealing with the check engine light look like chump change.

4. Have the basics.

Always have an emergency kit in your car that includes necessary supplies. Keep a pair of jumper cables, reflective road markers and flares in your car at all times. It’s also wise to invest in a spare tire and a can of Fix-a-Flat. These aren’t permanent solutions, but they’ll keep you on the road long enough to get somewhere you can get more serious help.

Additionally, it’s wise to invest in a tire pressure gauge to keep in your glove compartment. In a pinch, tire pressure gauges can help diagnose issues with your tires before they become big problems.

Be Prepared!

The best way to be prepared is with a Madison Mutual auto insurance policy. You get 24/7 roadside assistance, so no matter where you’re going, you can rest assured the going will never be tough.

We partner with an entire network of pre-approved body shops to ensure you can get back on your feet after an accident with ease. And with a whole list of discounts ranging from Safe Driver to Multi-policy, you always get a great deal.

Don’t let your car drive you crazy. Let us help you hit the brakes on unexpected vehicle trouble. For additional information, visit, or talk to an agent today.