If you are like most drivers, you use your vehicle on a regular basis. It takes you to work and back, to the grocery store on weekends, to visits with friends and family members, and much, much more. Obviously, your car is an integral part of your daily life. Therefore, you want to make sure that your car remains in good health. Fortunately, there’s a lot of valuable information online that can help you maintain your vehicle properly. To that end, here are 8 Car Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Car in Shape.
1. Follow the Guidelines of the Manual
If you want to extend the life of your vehicle, one of the first things you need to do is follow the manual. It really does not matter the make, model or the year, these manuals are meant to give the owner a heads-up on what they can do to provide their vehicles with every thing they need. When followed properly, the manual will not only save time but also money due to helping you avoid repairs. This is particularly true when you are proactive in ensuring the car is maintained at the recommended schedule. For instance, if the owner’s manual recommends an oil change every 7500 or 10,000 miles, you should follow these guidelines exactly. If you go over the recommended miles, then you could cause extra wear and tear on your vehicle’s engine.
2. Check Under the Hood
If you want the parts under the hood to last for a long time, you will need to check the engine compartment to see what is going on. In fact, you should make a regular schedule of checking so that you don’t miss anything as the adverse results can be costly. Some of the most important parts that should be monitored with special care are:
All of these add to the function of a specific part of the vehicle. If you want to keep your car running smoothly, you will need to check to see if something is wearing out or needs to be replaced. For instance, if you do not want a dead battery to interrupt your driving, you should regularly check the battery to see if it has enough voltage. If not, the battery might need to be recharged. In some cases, you will need to buy a new battery so that the car starts up every time you turn the key.
3. Learn How to Listen to Your Car
Even if you know very little about how to maintain or the repair your vehicle, you need to make sure that you know how to listen to your car to hear if something sounds “off”. By listening and paying close attention to the sounds of your car there are a number of problems that you can catch before they become worse. Just like the first symptoms of a cold can indicate something is wrong with the immune system, cars show certain symptoms that might indicate a problem is starting. Some of the more notable symptoms are:
- Dim Lights – alternator or electrical system may be failing.
- Warning Light – bad battery or engine failure.
- Weak or Dead Battery – low battery charge or problems with the alternator.
- Burnt Rubber Smell – belt heating up or car over heating.
- Squealing Noise – worn bearings or belts that need to be replaced.
4. Check the Tires for Wear and Tear
Tires are a big part of vehicle safety. They should be checked regularly for wear and tear and not allowed to become too worn. If they do become worn, you will need to replace them. Putting new tires on your car can increase performance, safety, and even gas mileage. It is recommended that at least two tires be replaced at the same time to keep your car even on both sides. In some cases, you may want to change out all 4 tires at once to keep the car perfectly balanced.
5. Check Windshield Wipers
Another essential part of any vehicle is its ability to wipe away rain and other outside elements when they fall on the wind shield. Because heavy rains can easily obstruct the driver’s view, the windshield wipers must remain in good working order all of the time. By checking the performance in advance, you can avoid potential accidents from occurring when driving in bad weather.
6. Keep the Car Clean and Waxed
The lifespan of any vehicle will depend a lot on how it is treated both on the inside and the outside. For instance, if you want your paint job to last the life of your car, you will need to wash and wax it on a regular basis. The salt that is used on some roads can eat away at the paint job and corrode the inside of wheel wells. Regular detailing can prevent this from happening. It is best to buy a good quality car wash soap to assist with keeping it clean and shining.
7. Take Your Vehicle to a Professional Mechanic
Some people will let anyone repair their vehicle to save on cost. While the savings can be enticing, it may come at the price of an inferior job that will cost more in the long run. For example, if you need a new alternator, you want to hire a professional to do the installation. If not, the job may not be done incorrectly and the poor wiring may cost you the price of your new alternator. You may even end up needing a new battery.
8. Check Your Brakes
If you don’t have your brakes checked they can possibly fail and cause you to have an accident. Just like changing the oil on the vehicle, a brake inspection is vital to the safety of your vehicle. If you hear chattering or squealing when you brake, your brake pads may be worn out. Luckily, it is required by many states to check your brakes once a year when you get your car inspected. This will let you know how your brakes are looking and how much longer you can expect them to last. According to the owner’s guide, and based on the amount of driving you do, you will likely need to replace your brakes every 2 years.