If you had access to a car while living at home, chances are your parents took care of its maintenance or offered reminders as to when to take it in for service. When you’re on your own, car maintenance becomes your responsibility. Yes, it can be expensive and time consuming, but the investment you make today will save you money down the road.
Your car won’t magically take care of itself. Get in the habit of regular car maintenance.
Below are some tips to help you take better care of your car and ensure it stays in tip-top shape.
1. Check tire pressure regularly
Maintaining proper tire pressure will keep you safe and even save you some money. Improperly inflated tires — and this may mean over-inflated or under-inflated — don’t handle or stop as well as tires with the correct pressure. They also increase your chance of a blowout. Plus, tires with the correct pressure have a longer life and increase your fuel efficiency.
You’ll often find your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure on a sticker inside the driver’s side door. Car manufacturers spend a lot of time coming up with this number, and it’s the one you should use.
Tire pressure is something you have to keep your eye on, as it constantly changes as the tires log miles and the temperature fluctuates. That’s why it’s so important to check it regularly and add air when needed. Here is a guide on how to check your tire pressure.
2. Check oil level and top up when needed.
Motor oil is essential to your car’s performance. Its most important job is to lubricate all the moving parts in your engine so they don’t grind and tear themselves into dysfunction. It also transfers heat away from the combustion cycle and traps and holds all the nasty byproducts of combustion, sending it to the oil filter. If your engine doesn’t have enough oil, your car is at risk of damage.
To ensure your car always has enough oil, it’s important to get in the habit of regularly checking it.
3. Invest in a good oil filter
Oil filters are very important. If your oil filter is of poor quality, it can shorten the life of your engine and cause other parts to fail as well. This small part of your car’s lubrication system plays an important role in protecting your engine from premature wear. All the moving parts in the engine need clean oil to properly lubricate them. It is very important to choose a high quality oil filter because the internal construction and quality of the filter help increase the performance and lifespan of your engine by preventing debris from finding its way into where it shouldn't be.
4. Change air filter every 12,000 miles
Regularly changing your car’s air filter will increase fuel efficiency, prolong your engine’s life, and reduce emissions.
While changing your car’s oil comes with the hassle of finding a way to dispose of the used oil properly, no such inconvenience exists for the air filter, and doing it yourself will easily save you half the cost of having a service shop take care of it. Here is a guide on how to change your air filter.
5. Keep Your Car Clean
Besides performing regular maintenance, another important part of taking care of your car is keeping it clean.
Wash your car regularly. Every day our cars are subjected to sun, grease and grime, tree sap, dead bugs, etc. These things eat away at paint, and once that’s gone, they will eat at the metal in your car. While failing to wash your car won’t result in immediate damage, over time the elements will corrode your vehicle, along with its potential re-sell value so wash your car regularly.
Don’t forget to detail your car after you wash it!
Also, don’t use the inside of your car as a garbage can.
Any other car maintenance tips? Share them with us in the comments!