Under-inflated tires can cause excess heat when driving, which will damage tires.
“Properly inflated tires help you save money at the pump, an average of $200 to $500 a year,” says Milchtein, who suggests keeping a tire pressure gauge – which costs under $15 – in your glove box.
Also, learn the proper inflation specs for your tires by looking in your owner’s manual or inside your driver’s door, adds Bennett.
“Do not go by what’s listed on the sidewall of the tire,” he cautions.
It’s vital to check the tread levels on your tires, whether they’re all-weather or snow tires, says Klongerbo.
“During the summer, we might not notice our tires starting to wear, but when winter comes, the road’s going to tell you your tires are worn – by putting you into a spin or into another vehicle,” he says.
You can buy a tread depth gauge for about $3, or simply insert a penny upside down into the tire’s groove, says Cornillie.
“If you see the top of Abe Lincoln’s head, that means they’re legally bald,” he explains. “Also, look for any cosmetic damage, bulges or abnormalities on your tires.”
Every month, while your car is sitting on a flat surface, make sure all your fluids are topped off, advises Bennett.
“Check your engine oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid,” he says. “To check your transmission fluid, your vehicle has to be running and up to operating temperature.”
With some vehicles, you can see the tanks containing the liquids, but most have gauges or dipsticks that pull out so you can check the levels and color. Always look in your owner’s manual for instructions, and look around and under your car to check for fluid leaks, which could signal a problem with the car.
Driving safely requires good visibility, so check your wipers to see if they are lying flat or standing up, advises Bennett.
“If they’re laying down, that indicates they’re worn,” he says. “Also, lift them up from the windshield, and make sure they’re not torn. Take some windshield washer