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    Maintaining your car does not have to be expensive or time consuming. With a few tricks, and even fewer tools, you can keep your car running and looking good without having to visit your local repair shop so often. Some of the items you can use for car maintenance are often found around the house.

    Use Charcoal to Remove Odours

    Keeping the car clean is part of an enjoyable riding and driving experience. Getting your car smelling like new again does not require an expensive detailing job or costly air fresheners. Just throw an open bag of charcoal in the car for a few days and it will naturally absorb odours. Take care to keep the charcoal in the bag to prevent it from turning your interior black.

    Use Vinegar to Remove Stains

    Stains on a car's interior are not uncommon, but thankfully, a bit of vinegar goes a long way in reducing the appearance of those stains. Place vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it thoroughly on the stained areas. Let it sit a few minutes before scrubbing the area with a soft bristled brush. If vinegar is not working, try some club soda. Soak up as much of the liquid as possible when you are finished to prevent it from smelling like mildew.

    Take Photos Before Repairs

    If you are attempting car repairs yourself, but worry that once you take the components apart you will not get them back together properly, take pictures before you begin. Taking several pictures of the setup can help walk you through putting the pieces back into the proper places to finish the repair. If you do not have a camera on hand, it might help to label the components or draw a diagram.

    Use Nail Polish for Scratches

    It is likely that eventually you will find a scratch or two on your car. This does not have to become more than a small scratch however, especially if you have some clear nail polish on hand. Just place a thin coat over the scratch. This will prevent the exposed metal from rusting, which can really save your vehicle's body over time. You can also use touch-up paint designed for cars.

    Use Tyre Pressure Valve Stem Caps

    Under-inflated tyres can decrease petrol performance and increase your chances of a tyre blowing out. Over-inflated tyres can cause the vehicle to lose contact with the road and increase the chance of hydroplaning. To solve this problem, you should check your tyre pressure regularly. To make this even easier, invest in some tyre pressure valve stem caps. These install like regular caps, but turn colours when the pressure is off. For example, when the tyre has too little pressure, the top of the cap turns red.

    Check the Coolant

    Checking the coolant level periodically throughout the year is vital. Low coolant levels can cause catastrophic engine damage, especially if the car overheats for long periods. Just a few minutes of your time can save you thousands in repairs. It is vital to let the car cool down before attempting to remove the radiator cap, as pressure builds inside and this can cause severe injuries.

    Check Oil and Other Fluids

    Oil and other fluids are an essential part of your car functioning properly. When checking the oil, check the other fluids at the same time. This includes the transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid and coolant. If you find yourself constantly topping off one these components, it is a good idea to contact your mechanic, as a leak could be the issue.

    Know the Sounds of Bad Brakes

    Often times when the brakes begin to wear down, they will make plenty of noise to alert you of the issue. Squealing brakes typically indicate that the pads are wearing down, but a metal on metal noise usually indicates the pads have worn so thin that the metal is coming into contact with the rotor. This is not only dangerous, but it can result in expensive repairs. At the first sign of brake problems, you should have them checked and repaired as needed.

    Use a Razor on the Windshield

    If the garden hose or car wash does not rid your windshield of those bugs and other stuck-on pieces, use a razor blade to gently scrape the debris away. Take care of course, as razor blades can pose a danger. After scraping all of the debris, use a squirt of window cleaner and a dry cloth to finish cleaning the window.

    Maintaining a car not only keeps it up and running, but it can keep you safe while you are behind the wheel as well. With a few tricks you can do right at home, car maintenance does not have to break the bank or take too much of your time. Car care is important throughout the year, and especially right before you head out on one of those long road trips.

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