As a general rule, if you notice anything that’s not quite right with the way your car is running, it’s best to get it checked as soon as possible. Preventative maintenance can help you extend the life of your car. It can also save you from breaking down, having to call a towing company, and possibly needing costly repairs.
Every maintenance plan requires a checklist to make sure you’re not missing any crucial steps. Here are some top car maintenance tips you should be keeping tabs on regularly to keep everything working properly:
Oil and Other Fluids
You need to make sure vehicle fluids are at the proper levels at all times. Oil is crucial for your engine, and the level getting too low can damage your engine. A few tips:
- Keep an eye on the oil indicator light and check the oil level dipstick at least once per week.
- Change your oil regularly. This can improve performance and prolong engine life.
- Other fluids to watch are brake, transmission, power steering, windshield washer fluid, and coolant.
If you get your oil changed at an oil change service center, the staff will usually check and replace items such as the air filter and oil filter. You should check these regularly on your own as well, and change your oil filter whenever you change the oil. Other filters to check and change when needed are the cabin air filter and fuel filter.
Check Your Battery
Your car’s battery is crucial for keeping the vehicle running smoothly. If you ever got stuck and needed a jump-start, you probably wished you’d replaced your old battery sooner. Look for signs of wear such as rust or grime on the battery, especially the battery terminals. Today’s batteries last about three years, but this range varies according to the make of the car and how often you drive.
Your tires are another crucial aspect of vehicle safety. The miles take their toll on tires — more so during harsh weather and if you travel on rough roads. Measure your tire pressure regularly and rotate them as the manufacturer recommends. Change your tires when they become worn.
You depend on your car’s lights for navigating at night. They also serve to warn others of your approach. A broken light, in addition to being a safety issue, can get you a ticket. Promptly replace any broken bulbs, including headlights, tail lights, hazard lights, and turn signals.
Other Useful Tips To Keep Your Car In Top Condition
Maintenance is important, but it’s not the only thing that impacts the longevity of your investment in a vehicle. Aside from the mechanical issues listed above, you can help keep your car in optimal condition by paying attention to the following factors.
- Keep Your Car Clean
Cleaning your car makes it look better and keeps it safer and running more smoothly. It’s especially important to keep the windshield and windows clean so your vision is unobstructed, as mud and other debris can cause blind spots. Giving the exterior of your car a thorough cleaning removes from the wheels and undercarriage, which can cause rust and body damage. It’s also nice to keep the interior clean and free of clutter. Vacuum the interior regularly.
- Drive Conscientiously
The way you drive has an impact on your engine and other auto parts. Bad habits such as slamming on your brakes and rapid acceleration contribute to wear and tear on your car. They also reduce fuel efficiency. It’s also safer and more considerate to other drivers to speed and slow down gradually unless there’s an emergency that demands a fast response.