The Preventive Maintenance You Should Do on Your Car
Driving might well be one of the greatest skills that anyone can
ever learn, but car ownership doesn’t come cheap. By the time you’ve bought and
insured your vehicle, it’s likely that you’ll have spent quite a sum – and
that’s before you’ve taken the price of gas and maintenance into account.
Consequently, the last thing any driver needs is to face the
crippling costs of expensive repair jobs. Prevention is always the best form of
protection, which is why all motorists should familiarize themselves with the
jobs below. While some are quite simple to do yourself, others may require
special tools and a car lift, which may be better left to a professional. But
even if you can’t do the job yourself, it’s important to have them done when
required, to save on costly repair bills down the road. They’ll enhance your
experiences behind the wheel, while saving you a lot of money in the long run.
In some cases, they might just save your life too.
Your tires cover a lot of miles, and that constant contact with
various terrains means that they need more attention than most parts of the
vehicle. Given that they have a huge influence on safety, comfort, and fuel
economy, you’d be a fool to ignore the air pressure any longer.
Checking tire pressure is as easy as unscrewing the cap and
putting a tire pressure gauge into the valve. Simply set
the recommended PSI for your vehicle (found on the side of the driver’s door
and in the manual) and most air pump machines will indicate once you’ve reached
that level. Screw the cap back on, and your drive will instantly feel smoother.
This can slow the general wear and tear on treads to extend the tire life too. Keep
in mind the tire pressure will increase when the tires are hot, such as after a
long drive, and will decrease in cold weather.
Many late-model cars will indicate when there is an issue with air
pressure. Other maintenance jobs can include alignment and balance. This way,
you’ll be far less likely to encounter the need to change all four at once –
which is very expensive indeed.
Late model cars don’t require oil changes as often as they once
did. Nonetheless, ensuring that you do this job when it is recommended will
keep the engine parts properly lubricated. This keeps the whole car performing
as it should for a far longer lifespan. If you are physically able to do the
job yourself, it’s not very difficult. And if that’s not the case, there are
often discounted prices available at many service centers.
Before completing an oil change, you must let the car cool down.
Locate the oil pan and drain the old oil while also removing the filter.
Replace with a new filter, filling it to around the two-third mark. Fill the
engine’s oil using a funnel and check the levels using your dip stick. Job
In addition to the oil, there are various other fluids that need
to be monitored. From transmission fluids and brake fluids to windshield washer
fluids, those elements are crucial for smoother running. Not only do they aid
comfort and safety, but they can prevent small issues from escalating into
Most of those things can be seen either directly or via dip
sticks. Meanwhile, checking antifreeze can go a long way to protecting the
vehicle throughout the colder months. Given that this is the time of year where
those annoying problems are likely to surface, taking those precautions is key.
Falling victim to a dead battery is usually something that only
happens once. No driver is foolish enough to let such a simple issue ruin their
experience twice. However, it’s far better to avoid the problem altogether.
Being vigilant for the signs, such as white residue around the terminals, will
allow you to do just that. Battery maintenance involves removing the
terminals and replacing them with new ones. While doing this, you should clean
the posts with a suitable solution. Make sure that they are dry before
inserting the new terminals, and the battery will be sure to keep performing.
There’s no denying the importance of the battery’s condition, and this simple
job could prevent a breakdown and the subsequent trip to a repair shop.
Spark Plug Maintenance
As a rule of thumb, spark plugs should serve you anywhere
from about 30,000 for copper tip plugs to 100,000 miles for platinum and
iridium tip plugs, which are used in later model cars. But even the longer
lasting plugs will generate less spark well before they reach 100k miles.
To do it yourself, you’ll need a socket wrench with an extension,
and buying pre-gapped plugs makes the job much easier. Remove the wire before
taking out the old spark plug and installing the new one. Make sure that you do
this one spark plug at a time, in the right order. The number of spark plugs
will be determined by the number of cylinders, which vary between car models.
So, if it seems slightly different to what you’ve seen friends do, this is
probably the reason.
Windshield Wiper Replacement
The importance of the wiper blades is often overlooked by many
vehicle owners. However, visibility is integral for safe driving, which is why
wipers must be kept in great health. Thankfully, it’s a very easy job that does
not need the help of an expert. Lift the wipers and disconnect the blades from
the arm. Simply fix your new blades to the arm, ensuring the connection is
suitably secured. Do this annually, testing that they work before taking your
next drive, and you’ll be just fine.
Timing Belt Replacement
While this is a job usually left to the
professionals, it is something that should not be overlooked. The timing belt is
made of high-quality rubber with teeth that will eventually wear down, causing
a variety of engine-related problems. If the belt breaks while the engine is
on, costly damage to the engine itself usually occurs. So, at whatever mileage
the manufacturer recommends replacement, (usually 60,000 miles) it is wise to
have it done.
Cabin Air Filter
Not all jobs are focused on the car’s performance. You should also
take your comfort and general health into consideration. With this in mind, keeping
the air ventilation system working properly is one of the most crucial jobs you
could ever complete. Replacing the cabin air filter is an easy task that makes
a huge difference, and cleaning the drain should help too. Finish the job by
swabbing the external areas and spraying a disinfectant. Do this once a year to
avoid that stale smell forever. The owner’s manual should provide instructions
on how to replace the filter, but if not, do a google search for your year and
model car, and you’ll find plenty of instructional sites.
Following these few recommendations should help keep
unexpected repair costs at a minimum, and give you more enjoyment from your