Car owners need to know the basics of maintenance and what services should be performed when to keep a car in its best possible condition. While car maintenance can be intimidating, these nine facts can help you keep your car running well for as long as possible.
1. Know Your Manual
Your car manual is a guide to everything your car needs to stay in good condition. Manuals include information on tire inflation, the location of various parts of your engine, and the special features of your car. If your car didn’t come with a manual, check the manufacturer’s website and download it. Some third-party sites also provide PDF copies of car manuals.
2. It’s Not Just the Oil
Oil is not the only essential fluid that needs to be checked and changed. Learn to check your own transmission, brake, power steering, antifreeze, coolant, and windshield washer fluids. Most of these fluids can be topped up at home, but some, like the brake fluid and power steering fluid, need to be flushed periodically to keep the engine running at its best.
3. You Can Save Money with DIY
Changing cabin air filters and replacing headlamps can be done easily by the car owner. Use YouTube to find easy directions for your make and model. With a little more skill, owners can learn to change their own oil as well, saving significant amounts of money at the garage.
4. Tires Affect Mileage
Car tires can last up to 50,000 miles. Make sure your car has safe tires by doing the tread test, or placing a penny in the tread. If the head is completely visible, your tread is low and your tires need to be replaced. Rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. Make sure to keep your tires at the optimum pressure. Over- or underinflated tires can affect gas mileage and the life of the tires.
5. Belts Wear Out
Timing and serpentine belts need to be checked and changed every 40,000 – 60,000 miles. If you wait until these belts fail, you’ll be in for expensive repairs.
6. Brakes Need Attention Too
Make sure your brakes are inspected regularly. Brake pads and rotors need to be changed periodically. Pads need to be changed roughly every 50,000 miles. Rotors may not need to be changed as often.
7. You Can Shop Around
Garages can be notorious for overcharging for repairs, especially if the car owner doesn’t seem knowledgeable. When going in for repairs, get estimates from multiple garages. They may be able to cut you a deal to compete with other local garages.
8. Use The Right Gas
While there are three grades of gasoline available at most gas stations, only a few cars require the medium and high-octane blends. Make sure you check your manual to see what formulation is best for your vehicle.
9. Keep Your Car Clean
Cleaning your car is not only for parents with messy kids. Everyone should keep their car in order to keep it in the best condition. Your car will have a better resale value if the interior is maintained. In addition, if you live in snowy areas or close to the coast, salt may build up and cause your vehicle to rust. Wash your car regularly to cut down on the damage.
These nine facts will help you take care of your vehicle and protect your investment. Stay informed and keep an eye on the areas that need regular maintenance. Your car and your wallet will thank you.