We rely heavily on cars in our daily lives, and sometimes we push them too hard… hot summer days, icy winter conditions, kicking rocks, potholes and more. Since your car can be one of your biggest expenses, knowing the basics of car maintenance can help you save on car costs. Even the basics like changing your oil, checking your tire pressure, and having scheduled checks will help your vehicle run smoother on the road.
Keep your car a well-oiled machine by following these eight maintenance tips:
Check the oil. One of the most important things you can do for your vehicle is to make sure the engine has the right type and amount of engine oil. See your owner’s manual for recommendations. Routine oil and filter changes can remove particles and deposits and keep your engine in top condition. The frequency of oil changes varies by vehicle, but a general recommendation is every 3,000-7,500 km. You can check the oil level between oil changes using the dipstick – make sure your car is off before doing this. See also other tips for controlling your oil safely.
Test the battery. Car batteries last an average of two to five years. You can support longer battery life by testing the output voltage level with a car battery tester or multimeter. The battery voltage reading will show how “charged” the battery is. Consult your owner’s manual or mechanic if the battery test shows it is not at optimum level.
At the beginning of the liquids. From lubrication to cooling, your vehicle’s fluids have important jobs to do. To prevent overheating, replenish fluids in early summer and recheck levels in late autumn.
Turn on the heater and AC. There is nothing worse than turning on the air conditioner for the first hot day, just more warm air is blown. Faulty climate control can mean bigger problems like a leak in the system. Make sure your car is comfortable and your heater/AC is working smoothly by testing it periodically.
Check tire pressure. As temperatures rise and fall throughout the year, your tire pressure may fluctuate. Incorrectly inflated tires can affect the car’s handling, reduce your fuel consumption, increase wear and even cause a flat tire. Check the recommended psi on the sticker commonly found on the driver’s door. Consult your owner’s manual if there is no sticker affixed to or near the driver’s door. Adjust tire pressure accordingly. While doing this, check your tire tread and look for other wear or damage.
Inspect the brakes. The best way to look at car brakes is to stick to the recommended maintenance schedule in your car’s manual. Following a routine car maintenance schedule can prevent catastrophic brake failures and expensive repairs.
Repair scratches and rust. Scratches can cause paint to flake, spilled paint can corrode and rust can cause structural damage to the vehicle. Improve the appearance and longevity of your vehicle by fixing scratches and rust as they occur.
Have your emergency kit. Always be prepared by having an emergency kit in your trunk that includes extra fluids, cables, tools, spare tire and more.
In addition to following the basics of vehicle maintenance, protect your vehicle with an auto insurance policy. Talk to an agent today about hitting the road.
Car care basics post: 8 tips to follow. It first appeared on the Home Page.