When you keep your car in good shape, your household budget will be in good shape as well. Any car owner who’s spent a lot of money on fixing their car will tell you that they regret not having taken better care of it. Car repairs can be hefty expenses, and by tending to problems while they are still small, you will avoid costly visits to a mechanic. If you follow your car’s manual instructions and provide it with care it deserves, your car will be durable and in tip-top shape. Here’s what you can do.
The simplest way to extend the life of your car and save money on unnecessary car repairs is by following the guidelines from the owner’s manual. Trusting the people who built your car and following their maintenance recommendations are the basis of a proper do-it-yourself car maintenance.
Paying attention to anything out of the ordinary on your car and checking it should be an obligatory routine, even if you don’t know much about cars.
Wipers. How can you stay on the road during a snowstorm or downpour if you can’t see a thing? Wiper blades should be changed every 6 months. To extend their life, clean your windshield regularly and replace worn-out wipers to prevent windshield scratches.
Lights. To check your car’s lights will take just 5 minutes of your time. Any bulbs that don’t work should be replaced, foggy headlights cleaned and broken or cracked taillights fixed. You can buy high-quality auto parts online, such as taillights, and change them with some basic tools in no time.
Tires. Overinflated tires can reduce traction and damage your car’s suspension, while underinflated tires wear out faster and burn extra fuel. Examine them monthly to reduce the chance of an accident and prevent premature tire wear. Have them rotated regularly and make sure to switch between summer and winter tires in accordance with the weather conditions.
If you happen to hear noises that are unusual for your car, it can be an indication that something is wrong.
Brakes. Inspect your brakes if you hear squealing, grinding, or screeching noises when pressing the brake pedal. If you notice that the brake pedal feels mushy, your car pulls to one side when slowing down, or brake fluid is dripping, your brakes need to be checked and replaced.
Shocks. If you hear a rattling noise, it may be coming from loose bolts on your shocks. Also, other signals can be bouncing either while you’re driving or pushing the bumper down, or if your car looks lopsided. Shock absorbers should be replaced every 80,000 kilometers.
Muffler. When the car gets louder while you drive or you start noticing rattling sounds, your muffler is probably about to go. Check your exhaust system, which includes mufflers, tailpipes, oxygen sensors, hangers, clamps, and exhaust manifolds, after every 6 months or 10,000 kilometers.
Most important processes that keep your car running occur under the hood, so that’s the part of your car you should keep an eye on.
Check your fluids. Your car depends on them, from the brakes to the transmission. It’s easy to see whether the fluids are at optimal levels because most fluids have dipsticks, gauges, and reservoirs. Check the oil at every other gas fill-up, top up the power-steering fluid, add engine coolant, and look for any signs of fluid dripping.
Check the battery. First, if your battery contacts are corroded, you should clean them with a wire brush by scrubbing inside the connector clamps and both battery posts. Excess mineral tends to build up here. Remove your battery’s vent caps to check electrolyte fluids, and if necessary – top them up to the recommended levels with distilled water.
Replace filters. The engine has to be kept clean, both on the inside and outside. Check the filters, such as fuel filters, oil filter, transmission fluid filter, and engine air filter, because sensors, valves, and hoses can be clogged up by grime and dust.
Even if you don’t know much about cars, there are things you can do yourself in order to maintain it properly. However, some things can only be done by a professional mechanic, such as checking your car’s wheel alignment, pushing the power steering system, or changing the spark plugs. Our advice is to find a trusted mechanic long before you need one.