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brief historyYou might think clean, green electric cars are a relatively new addition to the automotive industry, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, electric vehicles predate the gas-powered cars that most people drive today. While modern iterations of electric vehicles are far superior to those invented nearly 200 years ago, it's important to understand that the roots of this revolution in individual transport run deep. Here's a brief history of how electric cars came to be.

 

The First Electric Cars

Interestingly, several countries started to develop the concept of electric vehicles around the same time, in the early part of the 19th century (several decades before Ford got his assembly line up and running).

fp articleVehicle maintenance, including monthly fluid checks and regular visits for professional servicing, is essential to ensuring your car performs as it should. Over time, wear and tear will necessitate repair and eventually, replacement of parts, but with proper maintenance, you can generally stave off disaster.

While most drivers understand the importance of checking their oil and tire pressure on a monthly basis (at least), they may not realize that there are certain tasks that should be performed seasonally to ensure a car is ready to handle changes in weather. Regardless of whether you live in a predominantly cold or hot climate (or somewhere in between), you need your car to work. Here are a few tips for smart seasonal upkeep.

fp article 2If you own a car for very long, you know that there are maintenance tasks you must perform regularly to ensure that your vehicle continues to function properly. This includes checking the oil, antifreeze, and brake fluid, as well as tire air pressure and tread depth frequently, and taking your car for servicing every 5,000-10,000 miles (or every 3 months or 3,000 miles for older vehicles) to get fluids and filters changed.

There are also semi-regular maintenance tasks that need to be performed to avoid costly damage to your engine and automotive parts. These are spaced out over tens of thousands of miles, so you won't have to do them often, but you cannot neglect them. What are these tasks and when should they take place? Most happen at 30,000-mile or 60,000-mile-plus intervals.

fp article 3You rely on your car to get to work, run errands, and generally manage your busy life. This can all be derailed in an instant if your vehicle breaks down. While wear and tear is par for the course when you own and operate an automobile, you can do a lot to prevent potential problems, or at least catch and repair them early, when you practice proper maintenance. Here's your essential guide to vehicle maintenance and upkeep.

Fluids and Filters

Most of your engine parts are designed to last for years without repair or replacement. Fluids and filters, however, need to be checked and changed frequently. To be honest, you should be checking oil and coolant levels on your own between scheduled maintenance visits to make sure you're not running low. Checking once a month when you fill your gas tank is a good rule of thumb.

fp article 4As busy adults, we have a lot going on, so most of us don't have expertise in plumbing, computers, or vehicle maintenance. We hire professionals to manage these concerns for us. That said, you rely on your car for essential tasks like getting you to work each day. While you'll certainly need regular professional checkups to keep it in good working order, there's also a lot you can do to ensure optimal performance and avoid problems in between. Here are a few regular vehicle maintenance tasks every driver should perform.

Fluid Levels

Fluids become filthy and depleted over time, compromising engine performance and resulting in even bigger concerns if they aren't changed regularly. While your mechanic will check and change fluids for you during servicing, you should check oil, coolant, wiper, and brake fluid about once a month to make sure they're within acceptable levels.