Have you been a responsible car owner lately? If you’re unsure whether you’re giving your vehicle enough TLC, read on. Here’s a comprehensive guide on car maintenance advice to keep your vehicle in the best shape possible.
Drive With Care Everywhere
Whether you’re making a quick stop to the post office or road-tripping across the country, you should always drive with care. Staying alert keeps you and your passengers safe, but it also protects your car. Always be on the lookout for potholes or curbs, and stick to the speed limit.
Make sure you are also keeping a safe distance between you and the car in front of you for maximum safety. Five to eight seconds is best, but if you’re driving in dangerous weather, increase this distance to 12 seconds.
Lastly, avoid texting while driving, as this is the ultimate way to land yourself in an auto accident. If you do find yourself in an accident down the line, contact an auto body repair shop right away to sort out the damage from the collision.
Where You Buy Your Gas Matters
All fuel pumps are not created equally, meaning that if you want your car to last as long as possible, it’s time to upgrade your gasoline. This doesn’t mean to use premium gasoline if your car doesn’t take it; this can actually harm your car. Stick to reputable gas stations instead and read your driver’s manual to learn more about your car’s specific fuel needs.
If you see the tankers out in front of the gas station, avoid filling up there and drive down to the road to another gas station. When the underground reservoirs are being filled, the turbulence can stir up lose sediment, which is harmful to your car’s tank. Anyone giving car maintenance advice would warn you to avoid the possibility of auto damage.
Avoid Common Washing Mistakes
Washing your car under the hot sun can leave water spots, but it can also damage the exterior. Either take it to the car wash or wait until the sun has gone down.
While it may seem like a good idea to use dish soap in lieu of automotive soap, these should not be used interchangeably. Yes, the grease-killing action is strong, but perhaps dish soap is a little too tough on your car. The harsh chemicals may be damaging your paint job with every wash.
When detailing your own car, pay special attention to the tires if you want your car to last as long as possible. Don’t think of tire maintenance as an afterthought. Many people believe they must work from the top-down, but since the tires are usually the dirtiest part of the entire car, start with a good tire scrub and remember to replace them every six years or so.
Wax gives your vehicle that new car shine. However, make sure you’re using wax with an applicator and not pouring it directly onto your car’s body, as this is another way you can ruin the exterior of your car over time.
Invest in Good Insurance
Another piece of car maintenance advice? Shop around and find a policy that best suits you. Insurance can be tailored to fit your lifestyle, so you want to make sure you’re covered in case of an emergency.
Park in the Shade When You Can
People often wear sunscreen and stay in the shade when we want to protect their skin from the sun. But what kind of precautions do you take for your car? The sun’s rays can also be damaging to your vehicle’s interior, so try to park in the shade when you can.
It’s also a good idea to keep a sun visor in the trunk. This will ensure that the seats and steering wheel aren’t scorching in when you hop in for your daily drive.
Lighten the Load On Your Keychain
All the keychains on your keyring may say a lot about your shining personality, but they also may be weighing heavily on your ignition. Over time, the weight of your keys paired with your car bouncing every time you hit the road can wear the tumblers inside the ignition. This can cause your car to stall and even fail completely if you’re unlucky. This is a piece of car maintenance advice many drivers overlook.
Don’t Wait to Get Your Oil Changed
Get an oil change every 7,500 to 10,000 miles. Doing so can prevent longterm damage. For instance, your car’s engine can overheat and may eventually shut down and have to be replaced.
Keep It Smelling Clean
Catch bad odors immediately! Funky smells can linger, and you don’t want them sticking around for long. To prioritize high-quality auto maintenance, clean spills immediately and avoid leaving food in your car.
When Not in Use, Store the Car Properly
Let’s say you’re traveling or leaving for college for the next few months or years. Whatever the case may be, if you won’t be driving your car for the next six months, make sure to store it properly to avoid damage or even theft.
If you’re leaving it in your front yard, make sure the gas tank is full. You also want to bring it to your mechanic and get the oil changed. Use a gas stabilizer, and check the anti-freeze strength. These steps will prepare your vehicle for the winter as well. You can also keep it in storage to protect it from the elements.
Check Your Air Filters Often
Aside from your oil, another part of your car you should be continuously checking are the air filters. These filters can get dirty and clogged, and can also affect the way your car drives if you’re not keeping up with the maintenance.
One of the best parts about staying on top of this task is that it’s so easy to maintain yourself. No need to wait until your next tuneup. Just follow this bit of car maintenance advice and benefit from clearer air.
If you wish to switch out your filters for newer and cleaner ones, follow these steps.
- Park your car on a dry and flat surface and prop the hood open.
- Next, locate the air filter housing. It should be secured with either clamps or screws. If it’s been bolted with screws, use a screwdriver to get it open.
- Thirdly, paying attention to how the old filter has been installed, remove it with clean hands.
- Match the placement and direction of the old filter when installing your new one. Lastly, latch the housing unit, and you should be set for several road trips.
Clean filters play an important role in your safety when you’re cruising down the road. These filters can remove up to 90% of the airborne contaminants in the air while you’re driving, protecting your motor as a result!
Replace the Windshield Wipers
Driving in the rain would be impossible without your windshield wipers clearing your field of vision as you drive down the road. Therefore, you want to make sure that they are always working as best as they can. Look into auto windshield repair if you notice these key signs.
- It’s been six months to a year.
- You’re struggling to see the road during a rainstorm.
- The frames are visibly bent.
- You can hear the wipers make a chattering noise across your windshield.
Fix Cracks and Chips in the Glass ASAP
This has happened to nearly every driver. In this scenario, they are stuck behind a massive eighteen-wheeler throwing up gravel — and before they know it, one of those airborne rocks has hit and damaged the glass!
While no one ever wants to be in this situation, it’s best to act fast if you have a chip in your windshield. Waiting too long to get it fixed can result in weakened protection from accidents. Larger cracks can also obscure your vision. A great piece of car maintenance advice is to fix glass damage right away to protect yourself and others.
Set Strict Rules For Your Passengers
If you’re frequently driving friends and family around, make sure they are aware of the rules you’ve set to maintain a more orderly vehicle. For example, ask them to leave their feet off the dash. You may also implement a “no food” policy if you want to prevent spills and stains.
Clean the Interior Thoroughly
Crumbs and other tiny pieces of junk can make their way through the cracks in between your seats, so vacuum your car often. You should also wash the seats with an appropriate cleanser and dual-fiber towel. If you have pets or small children, purchase a cover to keep your seats looking new at all times.
Get Your Tires Rotated
Get your tires rotated to ensure they wear down evenly. It’s suggested to do this every 5,000 miles. Don’t forget to check your tire pressure, too.
Check Your Fluids
A car is a well-oiled machine, so make sure to check your fluids when conducting routine maintenance. This can include the followings liquids.
- power steering fluid
- transmission fluid
- brake fluid
Don’t Take Used Cars for Granted
It can be easy to brush off a maintenance routine when your car is already a few years old — however, the complete opposite is true. Used cars are beneficial when you’re on a budget, but they require as much care as a brand new cars. Ensure you’re applying all of these tips to your car care routine regardless of the age or condition of your vehicle. By following leading car maintenance advice, you can increase the longevity of your auto.
Know When You Need Brake Repair
When it comes to conducting regular maintenance on your car, don’t ignore the brakes. They can save your life, so put some time and effort into getting them looked at by an auto shop every six months.
You should also bring your car in for brake repair if you notice any of the following signs.
- If you notice a loud squealing when braking, bring your car in.
- If you notice that your steering wheel is vibrating whenever you drive downhill, this is another sign that your brakes need to be looked at.
- If you’re experiencing pulling or reduced responsiveness, your brakes may be failing.
Know When to Contact a Pro
Unless you have extensive experience with cars, leave the bigger projects, like transmission repair, to the professionals as to not risk damaging your vehicle even further.
Stick to light maintenance, like changing the filters, washing the exterior, and keeping the interior neat and smelling clean.
Check Your AC Compressor When Temperatures Rise
Call an auto AC service as soon as you notice your air conditioner failing. You may notice that your car feels warmer than usual. Other symptoms include loud noises coming from the compressor, or an immobile clutch.
A Final Word on Auto Maintenance For the Everyday Driver
There are many ways you can prolong your car’s lifespan. Some are obvious, and some are not so clear cut. Regardless, this car maintenance advice should help you learn how to be a more responsible driver and car owner, so you don’t have to worry about your car completely losing its value the second your drive off the lot.