General Vehicle Maintenance


Basic Car Maintenance That You Can’t Skip

Taking care of your car can extend its useful life for many years. The best part is that taking care of your car doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. All you need to do is bring it your local service center to have the work done for you. In some cases, you may be able to get a tire rotation or oil change for free when done at the dealership. You don’t need to know how to change brake pads but knowing what certain sounds mean for your vehicle can greatly reduce the time you spend in the shop and how much you pay.

The Importance of a Regular Oil Change

You should aim to change your oil once every 5,000 miles or whenever your owners manual says it should be changed. Depending on the make and model of car that you have, it may be possible to have this done once every 10,000 miles or more. While your mechanic or car dealer may suggest that you get your oil changed every 3,000 miles, this is more a tactic to make money as opposed to proper car maintenance.

However, it is important that you get your oil changed at regular intervals to protect the engine and keep your warranty intact. You may be required to get the oil changed at least once a year even if you don’t hit the mileage threshold for getting this done. If you fail to change the oil, it could become start to clog up the pistons and other engine components. In severe cases, this gunk could cause the engine to seize.

Why Rotate the Tires?

Ideally, you will have the tire rotated each time you have the car inspected or the oil changed. It only takes a few minutes for this to happen, and you allow the tires to wear evenly, which makes it easier for them to last for their entire useful life. Uneven tire wear could increase the odds of a blowout or reduce your car’s gas mileage. It may also make it harder to brake in snowy or icy conditions. Rotating and inspecting your tires can help to prevent dry rot tires. Like getting your oil changed, rotating your tires may enable you to retain your warranty if you have one.

A System Check Ensures All Electrical Components Work Properly

Even if the car is gassed up and you have four properly inflated tires on the car, it still isn’t going anywhere unless the electrical components work. Checking the electrical components regularly ensures that you won’t suffer from a poor alternator or weak battery while you are on the highway or while you are driving in a rural area. You don’t need to know how to change spark plugs, but understanding the electrical signals your car is telling you will help to keep it on the road longer. If you see that a warning light has gone on, you should take the car in for service right away. A professional can diagnose the problem and keep a minor issue from becoming a major problem in the future.

Don’t Forget the Annual Tune Up

Once a year, you should ask your mechanic or service center professional to give the car a full tune up. This generally involves checking and tightening the brakes, checking fluid levels and ensuring that your air conditioning and heating system works properly. You may also ask that your engine fluids are flushed and that your battery is tested to make sure that it still creates another power to run your car. Finally, you may also ask that engine oil and other fluids are topped off before the winter begins.

Check for Rust and Damage Throughout the Year

A small ding can turn into a larger dent if you don’t get it fixed right away. This is because it may expand and contract as the temperatures change throughout the day and as the seasons change. For many people in colder climates, it is possible to have high temperatures above freezing and low temperatures below freezing, which only speeds up the expansion and contraction. Rust can eat away at the car and make its way to the interior. It can rust through brake lines and eat through your gas tank. Therefore, it is important to look for and take care of these issues as soon as possible.

Your car represents your ability to get to work to make a living or get to school to earn your education. It may also be the only thing that can get you to the doctor when you’re sick or if a loved one is sick. Therefore, you need to take care of it to ensure that it is always there for you when you need it.

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