If you depend on your car, you know that maintaining it is vital in ensuring it gets you where you need to go. Paying attention to your ride and knowing some of the basic care it needs will go a long way in saving you money and the hassle of frequent repairs.
Keep It Clean
While keeping it clean may not seem like an important part of maintaining a vehicle, it truly is. Washing the outside of the vehicle keeps it looking good, while taking care of the inside helps maintain its value. Do not forget to wash the underside where salt and grime tends to build up. If the salt and grime are left in place, it can cause rust and other problems.
Check Tyre Pressure
Having adequate tyre pressure is not only good for preventing a flat tyre, but it can also save you on petrol. Under-inflated tyres increase petrol usage and decrease performance, which can add up over time. Check your tyre pressure at least once per week. This may also end up helping you avoid becoming stranded alongside the road at some point.
Check All Fluids
Checking the oil is important and the same is true of the vehicle's other fluids. Because the fluids are vital to performance, you should periodically check coolant, transmission and brake fluids. Do not forget the power steering fluid and top all of them off as needed. If you discover a leak in one of the systems, have the vehicle checked by a mechanic so you can repair it before the problem gets worse.
Change the Oil Regularly
While you may not necessarily need to change your oil every 4 800 km, especially if your car is newer, it is important to never let it go too long in between changes. At the very least, have the oil changed every 12 500 km. If the oil breaks down too much, it can damage the engine. Do not forget to have a new filter installed at the same time. When you have the oil changed is also a good time to have other parts of the vehicle checked out. If you do this all at once, you are less likely to forget something.
Inspect Belts and Hoses
Belts and hoses are in place for a reason, and when one becomes worn down or develops a leak, it can hinder the car's performance. Every so often, check those belts and hoses to make sure they are in good shape. They need to remain free of cracks, splits and leaks. On average, hoses and belts are inexpensive, but if left unattended, they can ruin other components.
Replace Windshield Wipers
When inclement weather conditions hit, having an unobstructed view of the road and your surroundings is a must. For this reason, check your windshield wiper blades and replace them as needed. They should never be cracked, worn or torn. If the blades are in good shape, but the arms are bent, replace them. If during the winter the blades are frozen to the windshield, do not attempt to turn them on, as this can damage them.
Inspect the Lights
Lights not only keep you safe, but they are needed for your car to remain legal. For these reasons, periodically check them. This includes headlights, turn signals, fog lights and brake lights. A replacement bulb is much cheaper than a traffic ticket. If the lens is broken, replace it as well.
Replace the Air Filter
The air filter is designed to catch dirt and debris before it enters the engine. After time, the filter becomes dirty and possibly clogged. If air cannot flow freely, the engine will not run as it should. Changing the filter is relatively inexpensive and takes just minutes. Have it done with your oil changes.
Check Brake Pads
When the brake pads wear down, they can pose a danger as the brakes will fail to work as they should. If they wear down too much, the metal on metal contact will ruin the rotors and this can result in very costly repairs. Have the brake pads checked every couple of months to make sure a replacement is not needed.
Flush the Radiator
Like oil, coolant breaks down over time and stops working as it should. Once the coolant breaks down, or becomes contaminated, it may not flow freely. The same is true if the radiator becomes clogged. If either of these occurs, you run the risk of your car overheating and ruining your engine. Have the radiator flushed every two years, but check the coolant levels frequently. Most cars require a mixture of 50/50 coolant and water. Auto part stores sell testers so you can check the ratio.
Keeping your car up and running is not all that difficult with a few tips in mind. Most of the things that need checked take only minutes, and doing this can save you tons of money in the long run.