A car is a substantial and necessary investment. It should be properly maintained to ensure that it serves you for as long as possible.
Proper car maintenance will help keep your car running and looking good as new for a long time. It will also save you a lot of money in repair and replacement costs. More importantly, it will help keep you safe on the road by preventing mechanical complications that can cause accidents.
Fortunately, many aspects of car maintenance are easy enough to do yourself. Here are X aspects to focus on when doing routine car maintenance checks:
Oil lubricates the engine to keep it – and the car – running smoothly. Your car should always have enough oil, and it should be clean.
It is recommended to change your car’s oil every 12,000 miles. Check the oil-life monitor in your car to tell when it is time to change or refill. Alternatively, use a dipstick to check the oil yourself if the car’s indicator is unreliable. Change it if it looks dirty or refill it if it is less than the recommended amount.
2. Air Filter
The air filter is designed to filter the air going to the engine for combustion. It traps small particles that can affect combustion and cause damage to the engine. It is one of the most-used accessories, so you need to monitor it more frequently.
Clogging will limit the amount of air going to the engine, consequently affecting combustion and overall performance. As such, check your air filter regularly for clogging. Look for dirt particles between the filter’s small holes. You have two options: cleaning or replacing it.
You can wash the dirt away, but ensure that you get every hole unclogged and that you don’t damage the air filter in the process. However, it is necessary to change the filter if it is too dirty or worn to salvage.
Wheels and tyres are a crucial part of the car’s overall performance. Tyres are always holding the car’s weight and running on the tarmac, exposing them to considerable wear. As such, they should be checked and serviced regularly.
For starters, check to see that the tyres have the recommended air pressure. Too little or too much air pressure can increase wear (including blowouts) and decrease fuel efficiency. Additionally, check the tread for signs of wear. The tread grips the road, keeping your car stable and reducing the risk of accidents. Finally, check for problems with the wheels’ rotation, balancing, and alignment.
Your car cannot move without wheels. As such, it is recommendable to always have a spare wheel or two, depending on the roads’ terrain and travelling distances.
Brakes are a primary safety measure designed to help you control your speeds and avoid collisions. It is important that they always work properly for your safety – and for the car’s overall performance.
You may not have the technical skills to check your car’s brakes. However, you can check for signs of wear and damage. Common signs include squealing, grinding sounds, the steering wheel vibration when stopping, and longer braking times. It is advisable to consult a mechanic when you notice these signs.
The battery provides the power your engine needs to start. It also provides power to the car’s electronics, including lights and navigation systems. As such, it should always have enough energy.
Your car’s battery indicator will tell you when your battery is running out of power. Alternatively, you can measure the battery’s power capacity using a multimeter – your car should be off to avoid electrical shock and potential damages to the electrical components.
Charge the battery when it runs low on power. Additionally, replace it if it develops technical problems, such as depleted battery cells. Finally, check the alternator if the battery underperforms for no apparent reason.
Car lights have a range of uses. For example, headlights illuminate the road at night, enabling you to see where you are going. Other lights function as indicators letting other road users know when you are turning light or left, backing up, braking, and more.
Check the lights regularly to see that they are functioning properly. Clean stains that can block the light and change broken bulbs.
7. Hoses & Belts
Hoses and belts are some of the most fragile components in a car. They harden up and start wearing after some time, especially when the weather seasons change. They are also important for the car’s overall functionality and performance. For example, hoses transmit fluids to parts such as the steering wheel and brakes, while belts keep the engine parts moving.
Check the hoses and belts regularly for breakages and wears. Be especially cautious of leaking hoses, as your car will not operate efficiently without all the necessary fluids. You can replace damaged hoses and belts yourself if you have the technical skills, but it is advisable to consult a professional.
A dirty car is aesthetically unpleasing and will make your car unpresentable. Dirt can also accelerate damages. For example, dirt in the interior can damage electronics and upholstery. Additionally, dirt in the exterior can corrode the body and get in between moving parts, causing damages and compromising the car’s overall performance.
As such, it is recommendable to keep your car clean at all times. Wash it regularly, depending on its exposure to dirt and dust.
Schedule Regular Checkups
These are easy maintenance tips that anyone can practice with basic technical and mechanical skills. However, the whole car needs regular maintenance, and some of this work should be left to professionals.
As such, schedule regular maintenance with a professional mechanic. The recommended duration is every three months, but be the judge depending on how much you use the car. Finally, call a mechanic immediately if you notice mechanical or technical complications.
You will take fewer trips to the car dealership and mechanic if you take proper care of your car. These basic car maintenance tips will uphold its performance. However, don’t leave anything to chance – schedule regular car checkups for overall maintenance.