Are we in for another six weeks of winter, or will spring arrive early? Weather-weary motorists want to know and will look to Punxsutawney Phil for the highly anticipated answer.
Every year since 1887, it’s the same old song and dance: At Gobbler’s Knob in western Pennsylvania, a stovepipe-hat-wearing gentleman knocks away on a wooden door that houses the season-predicting rodent. More often than not over the past 128 years, the groundhog has forecasted several more long weeks of cold temperatures, much to the dismay of ever-hopeful onlookers tired of troublesome travel.
The nature of this tradition was perhaps best illustrated in the timeless motion picture “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray as down-on-his-luck, self-absorbed weatherman Phil Connors. Due to an unexplained phenomenon that happens while he’s asleep, Connors ends up living the same day – Groundhog Day – over and over again, seemingly stuck in a never-ending cycle.
It isn’t until Connors refocuses his priorities to those of bettering himself and serving the people around him that he breaks free of his life on rerun.
Though the 1993 comedy takes it to the extreme, much of everyday life is repetition, perhaps none better illustrated than the various functions of the car that enables it to operate day in and day out. With today being Groundhog Day, consider servicing some of the following features so it can continue getting you where you need to go mile after mile.
Examine your tires
The tires could very well be the most important aspect to the car, seeing as how they’re the only elements that touch the ground…and do so over and over again. This leads to wear and tear, diminishing tire tread over time. Using a penny, insert the coin into the tires’ tread wear, with the head facing down. If you can see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s noggin, it’s time to have your tires replaced.
Check windshield wipers
Your windshield wipers, swishing back and forth on a rainy or snow day, are another feature you should check out. Wiper blades are more resilient than they used to be, but they’re far from indestructible. A good way to determine if they need to be replaced is if they leave streaks behind on the windshield. Also, make sure that your windshield washer reservoir is filled to the brim.
Check engine oil
If it weren’t for the oscillating pistons and push rods that line the structure of an engine, a car would be nothing but a hunk of metal. To prevent it from seizing, make sure you know when the last time you had the oil changed. Generally speaking, synthetic oil lasts between 5,000 and 6,000 miles before it needs a fresh batch.
Time for a timing belt change?
When you start up your car, does your engine release an ear-piercing squeal? That could be the timing belt, which enables the crank and camshafts to fire at the right time every time. You’ll be needing a new one if it’s making a lot of noise whenever you start the car up. Maintenance experts say a timing belt should be replaced every five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.
In honor of Groundhog Day, make sure that these car parts remain predictable in their function. The proper maintenance schedule can spare you from the unpredictable.