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Keeping your older car running smooth

By Matt Boyce - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

In this tough economy people are keeping their vehicles longer making car maintenance more important than ever.

With that in mind AAA is promoting "Car Karma" with free 40 point checks at area repair shops.

More older vehicles on the road means more breakdowns and AAA has seen it first hand.

"Our call volume has actually gone up for simple things such as dead batteries. So, we're hoping if your good to your car you're car is going to be good to you thus the car karma," said Windy VanCuren with AAA Mid-Atlantic.

One way to be good to your car is to get it checked out by a professional before the harsh winter season arrives.

"Checking your tires and everything under the hood," said Keith Carpenter, manager of Fletcher's Towing.

Carpenter says the problem he sees the most is bad batteries.

"If the battery terminals aren't clean they will cause loss of power with the corrosion that will build up around your battery terminals. If they're not tight you will have a loose connection which will cause it not to start," he said.

Another big offender is your car's belts. A broken belt can do big damage to your car's engine and the repairs it can cause will hit your purse even worse.

"$50 or $60 bucks to change a belt compared to an alternator or water pump or one of the other components to go out and it could range from $100 to $500," he said.

Low or leaking fluids in your car can be dangerous, leaving you stranded on the side of the road or worse.

"If you don't have enough brake fluid it'll cause you loss of braking power and can cause an accident," he said.

Winter driving conditions make good tire maintenance essential too.

"Tread depth is very important especially in rainy or wet conditions you'll lose traction, hydroplane and skid off the road," he said.

"Your car is what keeps you between the pavement and what protects you while you're driving. You don't want to be stranded on the side of the road, that puts you in unnecessary danger."

AAA's 40 point inspections are free and available to everyone who owns a car, not just members.

You can get your car checked Thursday from 4:00 to 6:30pm at the Brook Road Wawa.

You can't make it then you can check AAA's website or call 1-866-636-2377 to find a participating repair shop near you.

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