Use Your Tax Refund to Keep Your Car in Tip-Top Shape

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Tax season is here once again, and you might be anticipating a sizeable check from the IRS. If you are wondering what you should spend your windfall of cash on, we suggest vehicle maintenance. Here at Sun Devil Auto, we’d like to offer our tips on keeping your vehicle performing at its best and save you money in the long run.

1. Brake Service 

Do your brakes screech when you apply pressure to the pedal? Does the pedal feel soft when you apply the brake? With either situation, it’s likely that you need to have your brakes serviced to keep your vehicle operating at peak condition. 

2. Oil & Filter Changes

It might also be time to take your car in for an oil and filter change. The heat your engine churns out when you’re behind the wheel takes its toll on engine Oil.   Having clean oil and a new filter helps keep everything moving and lubricated as it should be. Additionally, keeping up with oil and filter changes can boost your gas mileage.

3. General Replacements

There are several components that should be checked regularly on your vehicle to keep it fully operational and to boost its performance. Examples include the oxygen sensor, catalytic converter, ignition coil, and thermostat. Have these parts checked out by a trained technician to see what condition they’re currently in and have them replaced if necessary.

4. Tire Rotation

When you have your oil changed, check to see if it’s time to have your tires rotated as well. Usually, you want to rotate your tires every oil change or as deemed necessary by your technician. Much like regularly changing your oil, regularly rotating your tires saves you on the overall condition of the tires, helping them to last longer.

5. Evaporative Emissions Purge Control Valve/Solenoid Repair

The evaporative emissions purge system, also known as the solenoid, in your car funnels all gas vapor built up in your fuel tank back into the engine to cut down on the amount of emissions pouring from your exhaust. The EVAP valve ensures the system works as it should. Have this checked at every oil change.

6. Loose Fuel Cap

That “check engine” light illuminating on your dashboard console might be something as simple as a loose fuel cap. It’s an undoubted relief to know that the issue could be as minor as your fuel cap but know that it’s essential you have the issue taken care of ASAP.  That light is your engine’s way of telling you something is wrong and ignoring it could cost you more down the road.

7. New Wiper Blades

Almost as seemingly minor as a new fuel cap, quality wiper blades are essential for your overall safety while behind the wheel. When rain is coming down in sheets, you’ll need good wiper blades to clear off your windshield, so you can see clearly and drive with confidence.  Check your blades often, especially in Arizona, where the heat of the sun can turn the soft rubber into brittle little pieces.  It may be a good idea to keep a spare pair in your vehicle in case you get caught unexpectedly in a down pour. We’d be happy to check your blades for you, and if needed, replace them.

8. Engine Tune-up

It might seem as though your engine is operating fine, but there could be problems you aren’t yet aware of. During an engine tune-up, we’ll check to see if there are any clogs in your filters, wear on your spark plugs, or low coolant levels. Can’t remember the last time your engine had a tune-up? Bring your vehicle in and let us look at to see that everything is in proper order.

9. Wheel Alignment & Balance

Vibrations while driving could be an indication that your tires are in need of balancing and alignment. Those vibrations can also make it difficult for you to easily handle your vehicle. Additionally, poorly balanced wheels can put unnecessary stress on your car’s suspension as well as damage your vehicle’s steering components.

10. Battery Replacement

Signs that you might want to spend your tax refund on a new car battery include an engine that’s slow to turn over, the dreaded “check engine” light, and the existence of corrosion around your posts. If your battery is near it’s 2-year old mark, it is best to have it tested by a certified technician. The heat in Arizona is very difficult on car batteries.

Do yourself a favor and look into these maintenance suggestions by scheduling an appointment with Sun Devil Auto, once your tax refund arrives. While these might not be as exciting as a shopping spree, they can go a long way in saving you money in the long run.