Six tips for maintaining a used car -

6 tips for used car maintenance

More than three million used vehicles are for sale at any given time across the country. And if you've just bought one, then Steve Strope's got some timely auto maintenance info for you. As an award-winning hot rod and muscle car builder, Steve has bought and sold dozens of used cars.

"You've saved thousands by buying a used car or truck. Now you want to get as many miles out of your investment as possible," says Strope. "The key to doing that is to establish and follow a regular auto maintenance schedule."

"Now, unless the previous owner kept all their service records, you can only guess how the vehicle you now own has been maintained. You now have an opportunity to "re-set" your car's maintenance clock, so here's my six-point checklist to create a new service baseline," he adds.

Number one, check the age of your battery. Look for a decal strip that should tell you, by month and year, how old your battery is.

Number two, you need to check the drive belt, which is often called the fan belt. This big belt provides power to a variety of engine parts, like your water and power steering pumps and your A/C compressor. Drive belts are made of rubber, so you want to check for cracks and frayed edges.

Number three, change the oil and filter so you're starting fresh. When you do this, you now have something to base your oil change intervals on. Change it every 3,000 miles or every 5,000 miles -- check your owner's manual to be sure.

Number four, the transmission like your engine needs to have its fluid changed. These intervals are a little longer, so, once again, check your manual.

Number five, replace the antifreeze. Not only does it prevent overheating, but it also lubricates the cooling system.

Finally, Number six … if you didn't have your brakes checked before you bought the car, now's your chance.  Have a qualified mechanic check and let you know how much life your brakes have left.

Remember, when it comes to cars, new or used, safety first! And that means good, regular maintenance from the start.

Copyright 2011 America Now. All rights reserved.

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