Owning a car is a huge responsibility. Sure, there’s the rush of buying and driving a new car for the first few months, but it’s followed by the onslaught of mechanical issues and tune-ups.
That is unless you make sure to use proper vehicle maintenance.
You can get a lot more mileage out of a car if you know how to handle it. Additionally, a few key maintenance tips can keep you away from years of auto shop fees.
We’re going to discuss a few key ways to keep your car in shape in this article, hopefully giving you the knowledge you need to make your vehicle last.
Vehicle Maintenance 101: What You Need to Know
The items in this article will apply broadly to car owners everywhere. Even if a couple of the points don’t apply to you, we’re sure that you’ll find some of the information below to be valuable.
Let’s get started:
1. Keep an Eye on Your Tires
Many accidents are caused by issues with one of the cars’ tires. Low tire pressure is an objectively dangerous thing and can lead to reduced steering control, blown tires, and internal problems within the vehicle.
It’s important to have a tire gauge in your car and ensure that your pressure is at the recommended PSI for your vehicle. Additionally, make sure you rotate your tires regularly and have them aligned when needed.
2. Make Sure Your Battery Still Has Life
Finding yourself with a dead battery can actually be a very dangerous thing. Getting stranded somewhere with no phone and no car battery could be an equation for serious trouble.
It’s not difficult to check your battery’s life here and there. There are also things you can do to keep the battery running longer. Take a look at these maintenance tips to get the scoop on how to treat your battery well.
3. Get Your Oil Changed
Changing your own oil is one thing, but going in to get an oil change is exceptionally easy. It’s also cheap.
You may not want to spend the money to get an oil change, but, rest assured, the costs of not getting one will be much higher. When you have dirty or low oil, your vehicle is liable to a number of issues that are very expensive to fix.
So, do yourself a favor and get that oil change.
4. Check Your Lights
If you have a slightly older vehicle, it might be difficult to know when your lights are low or not working. It’s important, though, that you don’t just wait for someone to tell you that they’re not working.
Check your lights regularly, especially in winter, to prevent a potential collision as a result of other drivers not knowing your intentions. Not only do faulty lights put you in danger, but they put the lives of others at risk.
5. Clear Debris
No, we’re not talking about the pile of garbage underneath your seat (although, you should probably clear that out). We’re talking about any debris that might be floating around under the hood.
Clearing out all of the extra materials from the radiator and ensuring that there’s no debris clogging things up can prevent significant problems.
6. Invest in Wipers
You don’t know how badly you need wipers until they aren’t working. Having faulty wipers can lead to a seriously dangerous situation, especially because you typically need wipers in already-dangerous instances.
Make sure that you replace wipers whenever they start to show serious signs of waring. They’re cheap, easy to replace, and could save your life.
7. Swap Air Filters
Air filters are another simple, yet important piece of car maintenance that many people neglect.
Take your air filter out, see if you can still see through it when you hold it up to a light, and take your car in for a check-up if it’s too dirty to let any light through. You could also just replace the filter if that’s the case, but if your filter’s that dirty, odds are there are some other odds and ends that could get cleared up under the hood.
8. Get Car Washes
Those of you who live in areas that get regular snow need to make regular stops to get your car washed.
While it may seem like your vehicle is extra shiny and clean after the snow occasionally melts off of it, you need to remember that all of the snow and ice on the road is getting doused with salt.
Salt can seep its way into the framework and engine of your car, rusting out important metals without you knowing. Many old, rusted out cars got that way because of excessive salt.
9. Read Your Owner’s Manual
All cars are different. The make and model you have will come with its own specific set of requirements.
If you neglect the owner’s manual and assume that you know just what your car needs, you’re putting yourself at a huge risk. If nothing else, read the manual so that you know what different alerts mean when they pop up on the dash.
Otherwise, make sure that the owner’s manual is in the glove compartment whenever you take your car out.
10. Get Regular Check-Ups
Too many of us make the mistake of only getting checkups when we notice something is wrong with our car. When we hear that old tick or rumble, we rush over to the mechanic wondering what could have gone wrong.
Instead of taking that approach and spending loads of money on repairs, why not just take your vehicle in at regular intervals and prevent any serious problems from getting worse?
A good idea is to have your car inspected whenever you get your oil changed, which should be every few thousand miles or so.
Want to Learn More?
Proper vehicle maintenance can make a huge difference if you know how to do it right. If you’re in need of a little more information on how to move forward with your car, we’re here to help.
Explore our site for more information on how to keep your ride in tip-top shape.