For most of us, our car serves as our lifeline. We depend on our vehicles to safely transport ourselves and our family from destination to destination. With so much time spent behind the wheel, it is carelessly easy to take our trusty vehicles for granted. Fortunately, the key to keeping our automobiles in tip-top condition is sticking to a car maintenance schedule. The good news is it is not difficult and helps avoid major repairs down the road. Following a few straightforward maintenance tips will keep your car running safely and efficiently for longer than ever thought possible.
Change Oil and Air Filter Regularly
Routinely checking and changing the oil is essential to safeguarding and keeping the engine in running condition. Replacing the oil, as directed in the owner’s manual, maintains and ensures all the moving parts are well-lubricated and prevents damage.
Typically, an oil change should occur every 3,000 miles or three months, whichever comes first. If you seldom drive the car, you can wait a bit longer to replace it. To be on the cautious side, never go more than 5,000 miles between oil changes.
If choosing to change the oil yourself, learn the necessary steps to drain the fluid, set the correct oil level, and dispose of old oil. It is critical to know which type of motor oil is best for your car.
Inspect and Flush the Cooling System
Your cooling system’s health will determine the longevity and performance of your vehicle. If your car undergoes regular maintenance, maintaining your cooling system is easy to do. Check the coolant every other time the oil is changed. It is often sufficient to have the coolant changed once every two to three years, or 24,000 to 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first. If antifreeze trickles out of the water pumps, or fluid leaks under the vehicle, it is critical to replace the water pump and heater hoses.
Additionally, engine oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid should be kept at the appropriate levels to ensure the car runs properly. When there is a leak, you can identify the fluid by its color.
Grease and Lubricate Regularly
You may be wondering which part of your car needs to be lubricated the most. Start with the body of your vehicle, including the steering arms and suspension systems. Generally, this should happen every 10,000 miles. You can grease door hinges, window tracks, door locks, and door seals once a year to prevent nagging problems down the road.
Bleed the Brakes.
The brakes and engine are arguably the most critical components of a car. Your brakes take care of you, so you should make it a priority to take care of them.
Listen to any brake noise and pay attention to shuddering or vibrating from the brake pedal. Additionally, bleed the brakes at least once every two years to keep the calipers and other parts in exceptional condition. If any concerns arise, consult a mechanic as soon as possible.
Perform Tire Maintenance
Tires give a buffer between your car and the road. Therefore, keeping the tires in good shape is a critical aspect of general car maintenance. It is a simple process that mainly consists of ensuring your tires have proper inflation. Both underinflated and overinflated tires can lead to uneven or excessive wear over time. To extend the life of your tires, consult your owner’s manual or tire manufacturer to figure out the recommended inflation level for your tires.
To avoid a flat tire or blowout, use a pressure gauge to test for proper inflation at least once a month, rotate your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, and check the alignment to ensure your tires are wearing evenly. Also, test your tire’s tread and grease your wheel bearings.
Replace Your Wiper Blades
April showers can cause windshield havoc if your windshield wiper blades are not properly working. Do not let damaged or worn-out blades reduce visibility and distort your view of the road. Snapping in a new set of wiper blades is a quick, easy, and affordable fix that could prevent an accident.
Test the Lights
Driving with a broken or burnt-out taillight is dangerous and can cause you to be pulled over and ticketed. While your car is parked, test your headlights, brake lights, taillights, and turn signals. If a bulb is not working, have a mechanic inspect the electrical system to determine if it is just a burnt-out bulb or if the fuse needs replacing.
Wash and Wax Your Car Regularly
Your car travels on streets of all kinds and in diverse conditions, wreaking havoc on the interior and exterior. According to AccuWeather, some unpleasant and unsavory hazards are not only unsightly but can cause damage to paint and the undercarriage of the car. Take care of your car and lifeline by washing it regularly to remove all potentially harmful and disturbing substances.
Also, take the time to wax your vehicle. This added protective layer keeps the paint job in excellent condition and shields the car from cosmetic damage such as rust and corrosion. You should wax your car somewhere between once every six months and once every year.
Review Your Auto Insurance
Just like regular car checkups, it is advisable to review your auto insurance policy bi-annually. Doing this can help ensure your policy’s coverages, limits, and deductibles are up-to-date and suitable for your current situation.
The Bottom Line to Maintenance
There is no magic potion or mysterious formula to making your car last for all eternity. However, following a simple maintenance program, you can rely on a safe and efficient vehicle to transport you wherever you need for years to come.
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