Avoid Vehicle Breakdown With Semi-Annual Check-Up

Nobody likes to be caught off-guard, especially with vehicle problems. Getting a multipoint inspection should come well before packing up for that road trip this summer.

“Surveys of our certified technicians show a well-maintained vehicle lasts longer, retains more of its resale value, pollutes less, and gets better mileage than one that’s been neglected — to say nothing of being safer to operate,” said Tony Molla, vice president of communications for the National Institute for Automotive Service Association.

A lot can happen during those several thousand miles between oil changes. Parts never seem to fail at convenient times or on your schedule, so routine multi-point inspections can help track your vehicle’s health and avoid surprises.

Oil changes alone aren’t enough to extend the life of your vehicle. A multi-point inspection--similar to a physical from your doctor--takes a thorough inventory of your vehicle’s systems.

Have your vehicle examined at a certified facility or by a factory-trained technician at a dealership, he said.

A multi-point inspection ends with the driver receiving a checklist of all the observations the technicians made. Many dealerships and service centers offer a categorized list to inform customers about scheduled repairs.

The list educates customers about upcoming repairs and what can wait, Molla said.

Molla said the following are typically part of multi-point inspections at dealerships and repair shops:

  • Battery: The inspection will gauge the condition of your battery while checking the terminal and cables for corrosion.
  • Brake wear: Techs will monitor pads. Worn pads can make stopping difficult or damage more expensive brake components.
  • Fluids: Technicians will look for leaks and make sure your coolant, brake and transmission fluids aren’t too low or high.
  • Lights: They will check for brightness and the turn signal’s functionality.
  • Tires: Along with air pressure and tread depth, technicians will check for wear and can rotate the tires.