Having a car these days is more than a luxury. It’s a necessity. Everyone knows how inconvenient and tiring commuting can be especially if you have to go out with your whole family. Having a car saves you time, effort, and money on transportation.
But cars are expensive. So are car repairs. Without proper care and maintenance, your car can be your source of a headache. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent costly damage in your car. By following these regular maintenance tips, you can keep your car in shape not only this Holiday season (when road trips, vacations, and grocery shopping are inevitable) but throughout the year as well!
Don’t just keep your owner’s manual
Every car is different. Just because your neighbor is changing oil every after 3,000 miles doesn’t mean you should do the same. All the possible questions you have regarding what it takes to keep your car in top shape is right there in your owner’s manual. It covers everything, particularly the most important maintenance checks you should perform and how often. So don’t just stash it away. Read your owner’s manual and learn more about your car!
Listen to your car
You have to know your car more than anyone else. It might take some time getting familiar with your vehicle but once you are, you can easily spot minor problems even before they escalate to big, costly issues. Weird sounds, such as scratches, could mean that something is not right. Listen to the engine and check for anything that doesn’t sound right. Do it directly in front of the car, on the right side of the engine compartment (passenger’s side), and on side of the engine compartment (driver’s side).
Check your oil and oil filter
Changing oil is something you can do by yourself. But there are some important things you should know before you do. First, never change your oil when your engine is hot. Park your car and wait for your engine to cool down. Second, you have to jack up your car so you need to be savvy in safely handling a jack.
When in doubt, make sure to look into your car’s repair manual beforehand and follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedure.
Protect your car from bad weather
Whenever possible, park in the shade. Even if your car is just resting in your driveway, you need to ensure that it is fully covered and protected against extreme weather conditions. This will reduce the likelihood of having to repaint your car every now and then. Each car comes with its own cover. But just in case yours was lost, a heavy-duty tarp is a great alternative. Use tarps that are large enough to cover your vehicle completely.
Conduct a routine check under the hood
Among the most important parts of your care are the battery, fluids, belt, and hoses. Your car depends on fluids to run smoothly. But like your gas, these fluids run out after a certain mileage. Thus, make it a habit to check on their levels, especially the oil (it helps to keep a note of when you last refueled your car). Check the belts for wear and the belt edges any damage.
Take it to a pro
Even if you are performing DIY checks on your car, you also want to take it to the shop at least once every few months. Look around for the best car service provider in your area. There are just some things that involve the services of a professional. They also can perform a more thorough inspection of your vehicle and uncover potential issues.
Buy gas at reputable service stations
Be careful where you buy your gas. Some stations don’t have pump filters. Dirty gasoline could make your engine vulnerable to damage. Furthermore, other stations don’t mix alcohol and fuel properly which could lead to costly problems in your vehicle too. Find a station you trust and ask about their policy in changing pump filters regularly.
Protect your car from pest
Just like your home, your car is vulnerable to pest infestation too! By design, cars have gaps, crevices, and cracks where those little pesky insects and rodents can pass through. Removing food from your car after use and parking indoors are simple strategies to prevent pest infestation. Do invest in car vacuum cleaner for easy cleaning. A steam cleaner is more effective in cleaning your car seats, carpet and cushions, and for destroying bed bugs. If your car has serious infestation, it’s time to call a professional. They have the equipment and know-how to get rid of pests from your car.
Fix bad weather-stripping ASAP
If your car has worn-out weather-stripping, have it fixed immediately. Small leaks can be addressed by brush-on seam sealers while loose sections are better fixed with trim adhesive. For torn sections, you might need special caulking which is available in most auto repair shops. If your car’s weather-stripping needs replacement, make sure to buy one that matches your car.
Fix small windshield chips
Got a crack, chip or ding in your windshield? Don’t ignore it and wait for the problem to get worse. Having to replace your entire windshield is much costlier!
Keeping your car in top shape is a must if you want to be able to use it with ease for many years. By following these simple maintenance tips, you can save time, hassle and money, and most of all – ensure your safety on the road, by preventing major problems. Happy driving!