It’s a fact of life – cars need maintenance. And, just like anything else in life, if you don’t do it on a regular basis, it will eventually catch up with you. Unfortunately, many people neglect their car maintenance until it’s too late. This can lead to costly repairs and even engine failure. Here are some of the most important car maintenance tasks that you should be doing on a regular basis.
Owning a car means freedom and convenience. You can get to work, school and generally travel around easily. But sometimes we forget that the cost of owning a car is more than the cost of buying it and gas. Maintaining a car can be expensive, and if you’re not careful, it can become a money pit. Rather than letting a really expensive problem materialize with your car, it’s a much better idea to ensure you maintain your car on an ongoing basis.
Here are some of the car maintenance tasks that many people don’t do regularly enough.
Check The Transmission
The transmission is what helps your car change gears smoothly. Over time, the fluid in the transmission can break down and cause damage to the system. That’s why it’s important to check your transmission fluid level regularly and top it off if necessary. Take your vehicle to a transmission shop to ensure this aspect of your car has been checked by a professional. If transmission fluid levels drop too low, it can cause gears to miss, which can give a grinding sound. The transmission will eventually fail entirely, and can cause costly damage to your car.
Change The Oil
This is probably the most well-known car maintenance task. For most car makes and models, it is recommended that you should change the oil every 3000-5000 miles. Oil helps to keep many of the parts of your car running effectively. It protects these parts from too much friction, heat, and byproducts that are combustible. But over time, the oil in your car will break down and become less effective at lubricating the engine. This can cause all sorts of problems, from decreased fuel economy to engine failure.
Check The Tires
Your tires are what keep you safe on the road, as they are your car’s only contact with the road. This makes them one of the most important parts of your car when it comes to safety. Tires should be checked regularly for tread depth, proper inflation, and damage. Worn tires can cause skidding and decreased braking ability, which can lead to accidents. Damaged tires can cause blowouts, which can also be very dangerous. If you live in a part of the world where there are annual differences in temperature and driving conditions, you may also need to change between winter tires and summer tires. Whatever you do, keep a close eye on your tires to ensure they are effective enough to keep your car running well.
Manage Coolant Levels
Coolant, also called antifreeze, helps to keep your car’s engine from overheating. It does this by circulating through the engine and absorbing heat. Over time, coolant can become less effective at doing this. That’s why it’s important to check your coolant levels regularly and top them off if necessary. You should also have the coolant flushed and replaced every few years to ensure it is still effective.
Check The Brakes
Your brakes are one of the most important safety features on your car. That’s why it’s so important to check them regularly and have any problems fixed as soon as possible. Look for signs of wear, such as thinning brake pads or fluids that are low. These can indicate that your brakes need to be replaced. You should also have your brakes checked by a professional every few years to ensure they are in good condition.
Keep Your Air Filter Flowing
Your car’s air filter helps to keep the air in your engine clean. Over time, it can become clogged with dirt and dust, which can reduce the efficiency of your engine. That’s why it’s important to check your air filter regularly and replace it if necessary. A good rule of thumb is to replace your air filter every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Check Your Lights
Your car’s lights are important for both safety and visibility. That’s why it’s important to check them regularly to ensure they are in good working order. Look for bulbs that are burned out and replace them as soon as possible. You should also clean your lights regularly to ensure they are not obscured by dirt or grime. Not only do working lights keep you safe, they can also prevent you from getting a fine or penalty. This can be different depending what state you are in, but it could be as serious as getting your license suspended.
Wash Your Car
This might seem like a task that is all about the look and ‘vanity’ side of owning a car, but it’s actually quite important. Washing your car regularly helps to remove dirt, salt, and other materials that can damage the paint and cause rusting. If you live in an area where there is a lot of snow, it’s especially important to wash your car often to prevent corrosion. Not only should you wash your car regularly, you should also apply wax to the paint to protect it from the elements.
Owning a car is a big responsibility and regular car maintenance is important if you want to avoid costly repairs and engine problems. These simple tasks will help to prolong the life of your car and prevent costly repairs down the road.