It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that keeping your car in tip-top shape is incredibly important. Other than the simple fact that it gets you from point A to point B, your “baby” is one of the few things you know will always be there for you if you need it. And if you want to make sure that fact remains true, taking care of it is just as important.
Now, most of the things that have to do with car maintenance should definitely be left to a professional. No matter how much of an automobile buff you are, the truth remains that there are experts for a reason, and you don’t want to go tinkering with anything you don’t really understand. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to know a few tips to make sure that dreaded visit to the mechanic remains only for the regular check-ups and serious problems.
So, what can you do to make sure your car doesn’t let you down?
It Starts with You
How you handle your car is the very first thing you need to consider when thinking “safety.” And when we say it starts with you, we’re talking about your driving. Recklessly maneuvering the roads as if you’re in the next Fast and the Furious is definitely something you want to avoid. Besides the fact that you’re putting yourself and others in danger, the strain on your vehicle is tremendous. From wearing down your tires to overworking your engine, there are many things that can go wrong. Hit a speed bump too fast because you’re speeding? There go the suspensions. Overdoing it on the gas? Prepare yourself for brake wear or engine damage if you’re revving too much.
The Wheels Go Round and Round
Probably one of the most important parts of the car to keep an eye on is your tires. Every month, make sure you check your tire pressure and treads. Driving around with poorly inflated tires means they’ll likely wear out faster, and you’ll be spending a lot more money on gas. Either way, it’s a financial burden you don’t want to be carrying around, especially when avoiding it is relatively easy. Equally important is balancing and rotating your tires regularly, preferably every 10,000 miles.
Of course, keep an eye on your spare tire as well. This is just as important as the other four. You don’t want to be caught with a flat tire and no spare to keep you going!
Similar to going to your doctor just to make sure everything is in top shape, taking your car to regular check-ups at the mechanic can ensure that any small problems don’t become major issues that will burn holes in your wallet. Usually, your car manual will give you a pretty good idea of when to do these check-ups, including what regular wear comes with each component and how often they need to be changed.
Another thing that will definitely come in handy is making sure to maintain regular oil checks. Your car needs oil to keep the engine lubricated and make sure all those mechanics under the hood are running smoothly. Not to mention, regularly using an engine degreaser to remove dirt and grease from your engine is equally important. Your mechanic will know the best engine degreasers to use for your car and can probably show you how to use them yourself. At the end of the day, your friendly neighborhood mechanic is your best friend if you want to keep your car running smoothly.
The Basic Checks
Besides regular oil checks, there are a few components that you need to keep a close eye on. One of those is the filters. These keep the grit and dirt off your engine, and if you don’t want to run into trouble, changing these according to your manufacturer’s specifications is very important. These include the air filter, fuel filter, cabin filters, and PCV.
Of course, your battery shouldn’t be ignored either. Make sure the cables are clean and there isn’t any corrosion that might creep up on you later and cause problems. Equally, you need to keep an eye on the fluids in your car. Anti-freeze wears out, so make sure your coolant is changed accordingly. That goes the same for brake fluid, steering fluids, and transmission fluids. And while you’re at it, check your windshield wipers’ washer solvent (and check if the wipers themselves need to be changed).
Protect Your Car
The elements can be harsh, and failing to protect your car from the beating sun or torrential rains can backfire in more ways than you can imagine. If you have a garage, then use it for its original purpose: keeping your car safe. If this isn’t possible and you do have to park your car outdoors, it would be best to invest in a proper dust jacket. Regular washing and waxing can also work wonders, especially when it comes to accumulated dirt and rust.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to stay safe on the open road. And maintaining your car adds to that extra safety. While many of the things you need to do can only be done by an expert, making sure you at least understand the essentials will make all the difference. Treat your car right, and you’ll be thankful you did!