Prevention is better than cure: this is a saying we all grew up hearing and knowing.
When it comes to vehicle maintenance, make this saying your mantra.
To ensure that your car keeps running smoothly, you must go the extra mile with auto care.
Taking care of your vehicle helps extend its life, warrants safer movement, and contributes to a healthier environment.
Ignoring your car’s maintenance needs is never a good idea. According to a recent WHO world report on traffic injury prevention, automobile maintenance negligence contributes to approximately 5% of road traffic accident-related fatalities.
When it comes to your car, the little things make all the difference in the world. Minor issues aggravate over time and turn into significant hindrances. Major problems are much more challenging to deal with. Therefore, we suggest making an effort to resolve the smaller issue at hand instead of waiting for it to evolve into a monster of a task.
Proper vehicle maintenance helps reduce future repair costs, optimizes your car’s performance, maintains its value, and extends its lifespan.
Here are some maintenance tips to help your car running smoothly.
1.Ensure Optimum Fluid Levels
In order to ensure that your car is running smoothly, you must make sure that your car’s fluid levels are full and at the manufacturer’s recommended levels. Whether it is fuel, brake fluid, engine coolant, power steering fluid, or windshield washer fluid, your car needs them all.
Power steering fluid lubricates the steering system. Regularly check fluid levels with the help of the dipstick inside the fluid reservoir.
The cooling system keeps your engine at the optimum operating temperature by propelling coolant between the engine and the radiator.
The engine coolant serves multiple functions, including cooling down the engine, resisting corrosion, and serving as an anti-freezing agent.
Optimum fluid levels will ensure that your car stays in good shape. Apart from guaranteeing a smooth and safe drive, they also help increase your car’s functional durability.
A common mistake that we often make is letting the fluids in our vehicles run very low before filling them up. This seemingly insignificant blunder can be very dangerous because it can accelerate your car’s deterioration with time.
Therefore, you should make it a regular habit to check your car’s fluids every few days. If you notice they are running low, top them up immediately.
Similar to how your body needs fluids to function, your car also needs fluids to maintain efficiency and longevity.
2. Park Indoors
Parking your car indoors is always a good idea. Manufacturers recommend that you park your car in a covered area all year round. Not only does this protect your vehicle from exposure to weather extremes, but it also protects your engine and other body parts from experiencing temperature fluctuations as well.
Parking indoors is especially recommended during the cold winters and the hot summers when the temperatures surge and drop significantly.
Protection from ultraviolet radiation is critical. Similar to how UV rays damage the skin, they cause car paint to faint and the underlying metal to oxidize owing to prolonged exposure. This also helps preserve the car’s wax coat.
Additionally, parking indoors keeps your car safe from the elements of nature, including rain, mud, snow, hail, and sun exposure. Leaving the car exposed to these elements results in the formation of acid and dirt on the car’s paint, both of which contribute to accelerated wear and tear.
Not only does this protect the car’s paint, but it also helps protect the various rubber components of the car, including its wipers, bushes, pipes, etc. Rubber parts wear out prematurely if left exposed to hot or cold temperatures, rain, and wind.
3. Wash Your Car Regularly
Weather extremes can take quite a toll on your vehicle. Winters, in particular, can be very rough on your car. The snow accumulates over time and is a pain to get rid of.
Although road salt is essential for safe winter driving, it is also responsible for numerous car troubles. Road salt lowers the freezing point of water. However, it is quite corrosive. Road salt deposits can accelerate rusting in points of accumulation.
Most salt damage occurs underneath the car and, as a result, can be quite a challenge to detect. This corrosion can harm the car’s exhaust systems, coil springs, as well as its frame.
The corrosion damage caused by rock salt costs approximately $3.5 to $7 billion per year in the U.S.
To prevent road salts from prematurely corroding your vehicle, we recommend getting regular car washes. Car washes help remove salt deposits, dirt, snow, and ice from the car’s body as well as undercarriage.
4. Use the Right Engine Oil
Many of us acknowledge that any engine oil is the right engine oil for our car. Well, it is not. It is imperative to understand that using the wrong type of engine oil, especially for an extended time, can do more harm than good to your car.
Think of it this way. You are feeling thirsty. You want to drink water. However, you choose to replenish your thirst with some juice. While juice will rejuvenate you, it will not get the work done in the same way water would.
Similarly, every vehicle is designed to work with a particular type of engine oil. If you fail to provide your car with what it requires, then it might not work the same way. Over time, that deficit will contribute to severe internal damage.
For this reason, to certify that your car keeps running smoothly, you must consult your car’s manual and find out what kind of engine oil it needs.
Not only will this small detail protect you from the headache of dealing with untimely breakdowns, but it will also reward you with an increased driving lifespan.
5. Monitor Car Battery Connections
Batteries are the powerhouses that kick start your engine. An essential aspect of vehicle maintenance is keeping your battery running smoothly.
How often do you actively attend to your car’s battery?
Many of us think simply replacing battery fluid is enough to ensure proper battery function.
In reality, however, one of the most significant issues that present with car batteries is in regards to their connections. Car battery connections often become loose, clogged with engine gunk, or corroded.
A loose or dirty battery connection can take a significant toll on your engine, as it makes it very difficult to start the car. There is a straightforward and easy way to fix this issue.
Disconnect the car battery cables, clean the connectors by removing any corroded material, and then firmly reattach the connector cables. This small tweak will help your car achieve maximum charging and improve starting power.
Despite taking care of your battery, you must understand that your battery will require replacement at some point. Manufacturers typically recommend changing your car’s battery after 4 to 5 years.
We suggest investing in the battery recommended by the manufacturer to ensure optimum function. You can also choose to upgrade to advanced cells that compensate for the hefty price with enhanced performance and extended lifespan.
6. Change the Air Filter
The air filter of your car is responsible for preventing dust and grit from entering your car’s engine. Experts recommend getting your air filter replaced after your vehicle has traveled more than 12000 miles or after a year.
A clean air filter improves efficiency by ensuring that your fuel is adequately consumed. Dirty filter results in reduced gas mileage and increased chances of your engine shutting down.
An air filter is not very expensive and does not take much time to replace. Despite that, you would be surprised to learn how many people come to the mechanic with busted and clogged up air filters.
Instead of dealing with breakdowns and bills, do yourself a favor and get your filter checked regularly, or at any time, you feel like your gas mileage is exhibiting fluctuations.
Every vehicle comes with its recommendations. See which one applies to yours.
7. Rotate Your Tires
Tires are prone to deterioration over time. They often tend to wear unevenly. Additionally, their wear patterns can tell about the nature of one’s driving, amount of tire inflation, as well as the condition of the suspension’s components.
The front tires are most commonly known to endure more damage. Therefore, it is a good idea to rotate your tires from time to time to ensure even wear.
Not only does rotating your tires extend their lifespan, but it also reduces the burden on your vehicle’s suspension stemming from unevenly worn-out tires. It also helps you identify any alignment issues as well.
When it comes to replacement, it is best to get new tires every 6 to 10 years or at the minimum safe tread depth.
8. Keep Brake System in Check
You can never undermine the importance of your car’s brake system. No system failure is potentially lethal except that of brakes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as many as 22% of all car crashes directly result from brake failure.
Brakes send out warning signs when they need attention. For instance, low spongy pedals point towards the possibility of air in the hydraulic system. Similarly, a red brake warning light signals a hydraulic system imbalance. Unusual sounds like grinding, squealing, or chirping should alert you that it is time for a replacement.
The best way to avoid expensive repair bills and potentially catastrophic brake failure accidents is to keep your brake fluid levels and brake pad’s condition in regular check.
9. Change Oil Regularly
Changing your car oil regularly is one of the best ways to maintain your car’s efficiency for years to come.
Your engine oil works as a lubricant. A good quality lubricant helps protect your vehicle from excessive wear and tear. Additionally, it protects your engine from the damaging effects of friction, heat, and combustion by-products.
Many who buy and sell cars for business purposes often report incidences of worn-out engines simply because the previous owner made the unfortunate mistake of not changing their car’s engine oil regularly.
Make it a habit to note down your car’s mileage and date after every oil change so you can assess when you will need to come back for the next one.
– Parting Thoughts
Car maintenance is no easy feat. However, purchasing a new vehicle every time you encounter a minor problem is not exactly the solution to the problem now, is it?
Regular maintenance prevents you from unexpected mechanical failures and thus helps you save money in the form of bills. Following a regular maintenance schedule is a vital step in keeping your car safe and running for years to come.
Be mindful of the little problems. Keep a close eye on them before they evolve into more significant issues. Consult your owner’s manual or mechanic to assess when your car should have its next maintenance checkup.