Cars are wonderful machines, capable of transporting us to faraway places in a short amount of time. Because cars are so amazing, it's essential to take care of them. Every car owner should know about the basic maintenance tasks for cars.
You know you need to change your oil and make sure the tires are properly inflated. Also, wash and wax your car at least once a month and check your cabin air filter. Over time these practices will help extend the life of your vehicle and save you money on costly repairs.
Whether you're driving your car for the first time or have had it for years, there are always things you can do to keep up its health and prolong its life. Here’s a list of 10 essential car maintenance tips that will help extend the life of your vehicle.
1. Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly
One of the most dangerous things that can happen to your tire is running over a nail. When this happens, it will make the tire go flat and give you a hard time trying to change it.
With many pins around streets and highways, it's essential to check your pressure regularly to avoid getting a nail stuck in your tire. Keeping it inflated correctly will help extend the life of your tire and also prevent a dangerous blowout.
When checking your tire pressure, you should do it with a quality gauge that can provide an accurate reading. This means that they must be calibrated regularly to guarantee accuracy.
2. Keep an Eye On the Oil Level In Your Car
Another common cause of engine failure is low oil levels. That's why it's essential to check your car's oil regularly. It should always be between the two lines on the stick. If it's below or above them, that means that you need to add some or remove some oil, respectively.
By keeping a close eye on the oil levels, you will avoid adding too much or removing too much, which could cause damage to your engine. You can check your car's manual for instructions on how often you should change it.
3. Get into The Habit of Checking for Signs Of Wear And Tear
We understand that most drivers are in a rush. But taking just a few minutes to check your car before you drive is always better than risking an accident.
Make checking for loose parts or tears on the tires into a habit whenever you get in your car. Balding tires, loose parts, and patches coming off the tire are signs of wear and tear.
It's essential to do this every time. If any of these things happen, you can prevent them from becoming a bigger and more costly problem by taking care of them right away.
4. Inspect Your Brakes Frequently
You should inspect your brakes regularly to make sure they're not wearing down too quickly. If you notice the indentations on the rotors becoming shallower, it means your brake pads need to be changed because they're low. But if they're not changed in time, the rotors can get damaged, and you'll be risking an accident.
Also, check if your brake fluid has enough level. If it's low, add more to avoid damage or the risk of stalling while driving on steep hills. Make sure you have a quality brake fluid to ensure it doesn't affect your braking.
5. Keep Your Car's Fluids Topped Off
It's important to check your fluids regularly. This includes checking the level of brake fluid, engine oil, and coolant. Your owner's manual will indicate how often you should check them so you can avoid running out.
Running an engine or car with little or no oil can lead to severe damage. Not to mention that it could also affect your braking. Make checking the oil level in your car a habit, and top it off whenever you run low.
If you're driving on the highway frequently, it's essential to keep an eye out for rocks or debris that could damage your undercarriage. A stone chip or crack can cause leaks in the cooling system leading to overheating.
Check under the car for oil leaks or other damage, like loose hoses or clamps, which can lead to further problems.
If you notice oil stains under your car, check your engine to ensure that it's not leaking oil. But if there are no signs of leakage, but you're still finding traces of oil, then take your car to a mechanic. You could have hidden engine damage that can be costly to fix.
When your car makes strange noises, it's usually a sign of something wrong with the bearings or rotors. If they're not fixed soon, the noise will only get worse and become highly annoying.
6. Change Spark Plugs When Needed
The spark plugs are also an important part of your car that needs to be checked on a regular basis. You can check them yourself by removing one or two of the old ones with a socket wrench. If you have trouble, take it to a professional, so they don't strip the bolts.
Your owner's manual will indicate how often you should change your spark plugs, which is usually around 60k miles. If you wait too long, the spark plugs can wear down and become damaged. When this happens, your car will not run as well as it should.
7. Replace Your Air Filter
Replace your air filter once every 12,000 miles to keep your car running at optimum efficiency. If you drive a lot during the winter months, consider changing it more often. That’s because of all the salt and sand that gets kicked up onto the roads.
This is an integral part of your car's maintenance that not many drivers know about. While you might not think it's doing anything, the air filter is actually responsible for the airflow into your car.
If it gets clogged up with dirt and debris, it won't be able to suck enough oxygen into the engine to keep it running at its best. This will affect your gas mileage and performance on the road.
8. Get A Professional Tune-Up
Getting a professional tune-up twice a year is another critical step of car maintenance. This will make sure your car's spark plugs, filters, and oil are all changed on time so you can avoid damage or costlier repairs down the line.
If you're not great at doing these things yourself, hire a professional to do it for you. It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your car. So take the time to make sure all of these services are done!
9. Keep Your Car Clean Inside and Out
Regularly cleaning your car is one of the best ways to protect it from damage. Keeping all that dirt and debris off your paint job will also help extend its life. This means you'll have a better-looking car for much longer!
Make sure to wash off any chemicals you might accidentally spill onto the exterior. They could eat away at the paint job. If your car is really messy, take it to a professional detailing service. They can get rid of all that dirt and grime safely.
On the interior, you'll want to vacuum out your floor mats and upholstery from time to time. You should also make sure there aren't any spills on the seats or in the trunk.
10. Keep An Emergency Kit In Your Trunk
If you ever get stranded on the side of the road, having an emergency car kit will make sure you're prepared for anything.
The kit should include jumper cables, flares or triangles, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, tire inflator, extra gas (in case you run out when you're on the side of the road) and any other tools or parts that might come in handy.
This is especially important during the winter months. That's because weather conditions can put you in grave danger if your car breaks down.
Be sure to take care of your emergency kit every few months by checking the batteries, replacing anything which might have gotten wet, and filling it with new extra supplies.
The most important thing to do is check your owner's manual or talk to a professional when it comes time for car maintenance. This way, you can keep your car running in tip-top shape and avoid costly repairs down the line. It might seem like no big deal now, but eventually, these minor problems will pile up and become much bigger burdens.
If you don't know how to do any of this stuff yourself or can't afford to take it to a professional, there are always alternatives! You could try following these 10 essential car maintenance tips.
You could also ask your friends or family members for help. You never do know when you could get in an accident. So, it's always better to be prepared than sorry!