We rely a lot on cars in our daily lives and sometimes we put them through a lot … hot summer days, icy winter conditions, inflated rocks, pits and more. Since your car can be one of your biggest expenses, knowing the basics of car maintenance can help you save on car costs. Even the basics, such as changing oil, checking your tire pressure and getting scheduled inspections, help your car drive more smoothly on the road.
Keep your car on a well-oiled machine by following these eight maintenance tips:
- Check the oil. One of the most important things you can do for your car is to make sure the engine has the right type and amount of engine oil. Read the instruction manual for recommendations. Routine oil and filter changes can remove particles and sludge and keep your engine in top condition. The frequency of oil changes varies depending on the vehicle, but a general recommendation is every 3000-7500 miles. You can check the oil level between oil changes using the dipstick ̵
- Test the battery. Car batteries last an average of two to five years. You can promote longer battery life by testing the output voltage level with a car battery tester or multimeter. The reading of the battery voltage shows how "charged" the battery is. Contact your owner's manual or mechanic if the battery test shows that it is not at an optimal level.
- Add liquids. From lubrication to cooling, your car's fluids have important jobs to do. Refill fluids in early summer to prevent overheating and check levels again in late fall.
- Run the heater and AC. There's nothing worse than turning on the air conditioning for the first hot day, just to get hotter air to blow you up. Improper climate control can cause major problems such as a leak in the system. Keep your car comfortable and your heater / AC running smoothly by testing it regularly.
- Check tire pressure. As the temperature rises and falls throughout the year, your tire pressure may vary. Improperly inflated tires can affect the handling of the car, lower your mileage, increase wear and even lead to a flat tire. Check the recommended psi on the sticker that is often inside the driver's door. If there is no sticker attached to the driver 's door or side, read your operating instructions. Adjust the tire pressure accordingly. When doing so, check your tire tread and look for other wear or damage.
- Inspecting the brakes. The best way to take care of car brakes is to adhere to the suggested maintenance schedule in the car manual. Following a routine car maintenance schedule can prevent catastrophic brake failures and costly repairs.
- Repair scratches and rust. Scratches can lead to peeling paint, peeling paint can lead to rust and rust can lead to structural damage to a vehicle. Improve your car's appearance and longevity by fixing scratches and rust when they appear.
- Maintain an emergency kit. Be prepared at all times by storing an emergency kit for your car with extra fluids, cables, tools, spare tires and more in the trunk.
Along with following the basics of car maintenance, protect your vehicle with a car insurance policy. Talk to an agent about driving with one today.