Rules of the Road

Car Care 101 Rules of the Road by Sears Auto

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Car Care 101

Car Care 101

Regular maintenance is the most effective way to prevent costly repairs and keep your car running smoothly down the road. The Car Care Council and experts at Sears Auto Center recommend a full vehicle check-up every six months. Below, find some terms to help you understand the basics of automotive maintenance, and be sure to bring your car into Sears Auto Center for a free multi-point inspection.

Antifreeze: cooling agent used to keep engine from overheating.

Ball joints: connect the wheels and the steering and suspension system of a vehicle; play a critical role in the steering and suspension system of a vehicle. Ball joints allow for the adjustment of caster, camber and toe to make vehicles more stable and easier to steer.

Exhaust system: piping used to guide exhaust gases away from the vehicle’s engine

Fluid exchange: the process of flushing out old radiator fluid, followed by adding new radiator fluid as well as checking pressure conditions, radiator belts and hoses, engine belts and the radiator cap

Fuel efficiency: the measurement of fuel economy; refers to the ratio of distance traveled per unit of fuel consumed. Fuel efficient vehicles have better fuel economy.

Irregular tread wear: the result of a variety of things, including misalignment, worn shocks or struts, over- or under-inflation of tires, and more.

Multi-point inspection: a visual inspection of your car; includes checks of the following parts:

  • Under Hood:
    • Battery
    • Battery cables
    • Air filter
    • Belts
    • Hoses
    • Fluids
  • Under Car:
    • Brakes
    • Steering & suspension
    • Drive axles
  • Tires
  • Exterior lights
  • Wiper blades

Power steering fluid: keeps components of your steering system lubricated to prevent friction and wear; a power steering fluid exchange is recommended every 50,000 miles in the absence of an OEM recommendation

Rolling resistance: (sometimes called rolling friction or rolling drag) the force resisting the motion when a tire rolls on a surface; the lower the rolling resistance of a tire, the better the fuel efficiency

Slip angle: the angle between a rolling wheel’s actual direction of travel and the direction towards which it is pointing

Tie rods: help push and pull the front tires as the steering wheel is turned; integral part of the steering and suspension system

Transmission fluid: keeps the transmission gears well-lubricated to prevent friction and ensure smooth operation

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