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-Head and Tail lights, Brakes and Turn signals Check these often, simply have someone move around your automobile and verify that all of these light functions are operable. -Lighting: Your vehicle lighting should be checked periodically is the light system. With the exception of the bright-white halide-gas headlights on expensive new sports cars, many automotive lights are just bulbs, downsized versions of the ones in your house. As such, they do eventually burn out.

Periodically check the lights to make sure they're all working. Turn on your emergency flasher and see if all four lights flash. Then individually try the right and left turn signal to make sure they are working front and rear. Ask a friend to apply the brakes to see if the brake lights are functioning. Obviously, it's extremely dangerous to drive a car with faulty brake lights.

If any of the lights aren't working, replace that bulb. If the brake lights aren't working first check the bulbs, then the brake switch. If your dash lights are not functioning, check for burned out fuses, or for defective bulbs in older vehicles. For passenger safety, make sure that the courtesy lamps illuminate. Don't forget any under the hood bulbs as well as the trunk lamp. -Wiper Blades. Check your wipers for tears, frayed edges or (the rubber blades should be smooth) unusual pattern on the windshield, when driving in the rain. If they are simply dirty with oil or soot. Wipe the blades with soap and water, or use Armor All Vinyl/rubber cleaner. This can significantly extend the life of your wiper blades. There are various products to aid in driving in the rain, such as Rain X, which is applied to the windshield and cause's water to bead up and blow away while driving. -Automobile engine Belts: Before starting any long trip or after every 50,000 miles of use, check all of the engine's accessory belts. Most cars are now equipped with a *serpentine belt that runs all of the accessories, so if that belt breaks, you can lose your power steering, water pump and charging system immediately. Inspect the engine and look at the belt (or belts) to see if there is visible damage, abnormal wear or small hairline cracks. Replace any belt that shows signs of wear. Even if a belt appears to be in good condition, it should be replaced every 50,000 miles as preventative maintenance. If your belts squeal, they are either loose or in bad condition.

-Timing Belt

The timing belt is a notched rubber belt that allows the crankshaft to turn the camshaft. The camshaft opens and closes the valves in synchronicity with the movement of the pistons.

If your timing belt breaks, your engine will stop working, stranding you wherever you may be. Worse yet, it can cause major engine damage.

Generally, timing belts should be replaced every sixty thousand miles.

-Serpentine Belt*

Serpentine belts, also known as drive belts, provide power to the air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, cooling fan, air injection pump, and more.

If your serpentine belt breaks, all of the engine parts it is powering will stop working. Your engine could overheat and be damaged.

-Radiator and heater hoses are also made of rubber. Their condition should be checked periodically. Both the upper and lower radiator hoses can rupture from internal pressure and age without the driver knowing it. When that happens, the coolant flows out, and the engine can freeze from excessive heat buildup.

In general, inspect all hoses for wear, including hairline cracks and soft, bulging spots. Hoses that come in contact with brackets or other metal parts are prone to wear in these areas. Even if the hoses pass visual inspection, Changing all the water hoses every 50,000 miles is the way to go, for preventative maintenance. * When you look under your hood, right behind the radiator, you will see a flat rubber drive belt that is used to turn multiple accessories on the front of an engine. It is called a "serpentine belt" because of the way it snakes around the various pulleys. Many vehicles now have a single serpentine drive belt because it eliminates the need for several separate V-belts. A spring-loaded pulley maintains tension on the serpentine belt. This does away with the need to re-tension the belt when it is replaced. Serpentine belts generally last 25% to 50% longer than conventional V-belts.

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