With car prices topping $45,000, you might be anxious about the prospect of purchasing a new vehicle. Fortunately, if you make routine maintenance a priority, you may not have to take action for a while.
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Wondering how to take care of a car? Read on to learn 9 effective tips!
1. Stay on Top of Oil Changes
Taking care of a car needs to include regular oil changes. Plan on scheduling oil changes every 5,000 miles or 6 months. This routine servicing won’t break the bank, but it will help minimize the heat produced by your engine.
Oil changes help prevent dirt and sludge from building up in your engine. And a cleaner engine is more efficient and reliable! Plus you’ll enjoy better gas mileage and fewer bad emissions coming from your vehicle.
2. Check Your Tire Pressure
When it comes to car maintenance tips, checking tire pressure is critical for your safety and the life of your tires. Failing to do this could lead to dangerously underinflated tires that cause accidents on the road. That’s because tires without the right amount of air can wear down unevenly.
Driving with tires that are underinflated could ruin your fuel economy, too. Further, having the right amount of pressure keeps your car stable, meaning rollovers are less likely. Watch for underinflation in the winter months, when the temperatures are cooler and air compresses.
3. Top Off Fluids
You always want to have enough brake fluid in your vehicle. Without it, you risk extending your stopping distance. In the event of an emergency and a sudden stop, this could be a dangerous problem!
While you’re looking under the hood, top off other important fluids, as well. You’ll be able to find the recommended levels printed directly on the car or in the manual. Top off your power steering, engine oil, coolant, and transmission fluids.
4. Choose the Best Car Battery
Several factors can impact the lifespan of your car’s battery. But it’s a good idea to test your battery if you’re having problems starting your car — or if you can’t remember when you got a new one. Living in hot climates, taking short drives, and having loose cables can cause your battery to die.
Check for signs of corrosion in your battery, and clean corroded areas with baking soda and water. Likewise, check to ensure that your battery is held in place since it can get loose sometimes. And when it’s time for an upgrade, get this battery!
5. Change the Air Filter
Changing your air filter every 10,000 miles or so is another way to take care of your car. At the very least, make sure that the filter is inspected yearly. And check your car’s manual to see if it has more precise instructions on when to make a change.
You don’t want your car’s air filter to get clogged. Your car’s engine needs air for the combustion process, but it needs clean air.
The filter gets rid of dust and bugs to prevent them from entering the engine and hurting your car’s performance. A dirty filter can lead to poor acceleration and may trigger the dreaded Check Engine light.
6. Rotate Tires
To ensure even wear on your tires, it’s smart to get them rotated at about every 5,000 miles. If you neglect this car maintenance task, you risk wearing down your front tires faster. That’s because your front tires carry the brunt of the load and are more active in braking.
Without good tread on your front tires — or any tires — you could lose traction more easily. And when you’re heading around a curve or driving in snowy weather, you need all the traction you can get.
7. Evaluate the Car’s Lights
The last thing you want is to be driving at night without good illumination. This scenario sets you up for accidents. That’s why it’s important to assess your headlights and tail lights.
You want to look for signs of flickering or dim lighting. Hazy headlights are another indication that it’s time to swap out your current bulb for a better one. Fortunately, replacing a bulb won’t set you back much, and you’ll feel safer driving at night.
8. Look at Your Timing Belt
The timing belt is a critical piece of rubber that helps your car’s camshafts operate normally within your engine. Without it working properly, you’ll be out of a functional engine. This can lead to costly repairs that amount to thousands of dollars.
Typically, you can expect to replace your timing belt sometime between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. Have a mechanic check it to see if there are indications that it might break. While replacing the belt is not a cheap endeavor, it is better than replacing your engine!
9. Get Routine Maintenance
Ultimately, getting your car inspected by a qualified mechanic can help you solve common car problems — and avoid bigger ones. Aim to get a full inspection of your car at least once a year.
A mechanic will check your belts, fluids, and transmission. They can do an oil change, check the radiator, and inspect the fuel system. If anything looks wrong, they’ll recommend repairs to keep your car running smoothly.
Learn How to Take Care of a Car
When you know how to take care of a car, you can extend its life. This means scheduling regular maintenance with a trusted mechanic and checking fluids. Look at your belts, too, and stay on top of lights and brakes.
Find out more advice to extend the lifespan of a car. Check back soon for new articles!