Do you feel anxious every time you hit the road because you can’t remember the last time you did basic car care? You are not alone. One study conducted on behalf of Cooper Tires found that 25% of 2000 Americans surveyed are not confident when driving because their vehicle needs repairs.
Car maintenance can easily fall into the non-essentials list. Yet, as with most maintenance practices, car maintenance can make you less anxious when driving, keep other road users safe and protect you from unexpected inconveniences. You could use a basic car maintenance list to guide your maintenance efforts.
Some aspects of maintenance must be done by a professional, but you could do others. A basic car maintenance list will keep you from guessing which part of your car needs inspection next. It will also keep you from always reacting to breakdowns. You will learn the top priorities for maintenance using an in-depth list.
Benefits of Doing Basic Maintenance of Your Car
Car maintenance may seem like a burden, especially when your car seems to be in good condition. You may do it spontaneously when you are convinced a car part failure will impact your driving experience. However, basic car maintenance has multiple benefits for both your car and you as the driver. Here are five reasons car maintenance is necessary.
To Enhance Safety: One of the primary reasons to do basic car maintenance is safety. Poorly maintained vehicles are likely to pose more risks to other road users than properly maintained vehicles. For example, if your brakes are having problems and you are in a situation you need to make a sudden stop, the unmaintained brakes could be the cause of the accident.
To Save on Costs: According to Yahoo Finance, one study revealed that accidents caused by lack of maintenance cost about $2 billion annually. Individually, a lack of maintenance will cost you unscheduled repairs. Lack of maintenance will also reduce your mileage. Yet doing preventive maintenance will save you on costs accrued from crashes, accidents, and breakdowns.
To Increase Performance: Your car may perform satisfactorily even without maintenance, especially in its early days. However, usage and time will take a toll on your machine, and soon performance levels will decrease. Regular maintenance, such as checking fluid levels and tire pressure, will increase your performance.
To Save on Time: Regular maintenance will help you detect problems early before a problem arises. If an auto repair issue arises, you may not use your car for some time. Similarly, you will have to wait for towing companies to tow your vehicle if your car breaks down on the highway. Following a basic car maintenance list can save time and make you less anxious when driving.
To Maintain a Car’s Value: An unmaintained car will slowly lose its value. You may fetch a lower price if you decide to sell it. However, scheduled maintenance will increase your mileage, car’s appearance, and performance. A buyer will be more confident about the functionality of a vehicle.
A Basic Maintenance List for Your Car
Now you know the multiple advantages of basic car maintenance. Yet it may seem like too much work to think of the different things you need to do. That’s why we curated a basic car maintenance list so you can consider the essential aspects first.
The list is not exhaustive, so you can add other items depending on the season and circumstances. For example, you might prioritize wiper replacement before winter because visibility is more critical. The list will help you understand why certain car aspects require regular maintenance.
1. Make Sure You Have a Lawyer
Do you really need a lawyer if you have a car? Unfortunately, even though you probably observe all the traffic rules and keep your car in good condition, sometimes accidents are inevitable. Even when you are cautious, another driver’s careless driving can make you a victim. So, you might need an auto accident lawyer to represent you.
In the U.S., 95% of all fatal accidents involve passenger cars and light trucks, according to Safer America. If you are a car owner in the U.S, you are vulnerable to crashes, fender-benders, and accidents. Having a lawyer won’t reduce your chances of an unfortunate event, but a lawyer will provide expert advice should you be involved in a crash or accident.
2. Clean Out the Inside of Your Car
Interior washing is another critical aspect to add to your basic car maintenance list. It’s often easier and more convenient to wash your car’s exterior. However, cleaning the interior will help keep germs at bay and keep your interior from deteriorating. Whether you drive a dump trailer or personal SUV, cleaning out the inside of your car is necessary for the longevity of your car.
Cleaning your car’s interior will increase the usability and life of components, including electronic systems. Similarly, cleaning your seats will ensure you remove stains and grime before they can spread and develop mold. Apart from maintaining your car, an interior car wash will leave your vehicle smelling nice and fresh.
3. Repair Your Brakes
According to a survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2% of all fatal accidents are caused by brake failure. You probably don’t want your car ending up in such statistics. Brake problems are preventable through regular checks and inspections. You can always look for local brake repairs and keep your car’s brakes at optimum levels.
Brake maintenance involves ensuring the brake fluid cylinder is full and regular manual inspections. The master brake cylinder does more work if the fluid goes too low. Manual brake inspections can pinpoint problems in the calipers, pads, or motors that require repair. Furthermore, modern cars also have dashboard lights that can highlight a problem to which it’s best to respond immediately.
4. Install New Metal
If you own a beloved classic car, you may have had to deal with damaged bodywork. Even in modern cars, car repainting is often insufficient to restore body panels. You may need to install new metal to replace damaged bodywork to increase the life of your car. It’s best to have a professional provide a custom metal fabrication service and install it for you since the process is quite technical.
Installing new metal should be part of your basic car maintenance list, especially if your car is an older model or you use it in extreme conditions such as rocky terrain. You might not need to install new metal every two years, but you can replace it once as part of maintenance. Installing new metal uses different techniques, such as bending and stamping, giving your car a new look.
5. Get New Tires for the Winter
When curating a basic car maintenance list, it’s important to factor in seasons. For example, winter is harsher on your car’s fluids and tires. So you might do preventive maintenance to prepare your car for winter. For example, you can get new tires for the winter. According to Consumer Reports, getting winter tires will improve your safety and reduce crashes.
Getting new winter tires from a tire shop will help you navigate snowy roads. New tires will help you gain traction on an icy road, which is critical in ensuring your safety and that of other road users. Further, winter tires have better traction than all-season tires. However, even if you buy all-season tires, they will have better traction because they are new.
6. Install New Roofing for Your Vehicle
Most cars’ roofs are made of firm metal that can last a long time. However, some aspects of the roof may require regular maintenance. For example, the car roof’s lining is vulnerable to scorching sun and cold conditions, which leads to sagging. You can get the roof lining replaced to keep water from leaking and cold from penetrating your car.
You may also need to have your roof replaced if your car’s roof is damaged by extreme weather conditions or carrying heavy loads. If you have a roof rack, you can replace it if the hinges and screws are loose or the metal is bending.
7. Wash Your Car Regularly
One of the essentials you should be aware of in your basic car maintenance list is washing your car regularly. A manual car wash may seem basic and superficial. Yet regularly washing your car could help maintain its aesthetic appearance and improve your safety.
Mud and debris can easily cover your car if you drive on icy, muddy roads. The debris will reduce your visibility in your windows and mirrors. A simple cleanup will improve the visibility and the condition of your car. Part of washing the exterior is removing debris and mud near the engine, which could help reduce engine damage or scratching the paint. You can also open your car’s trunk without handing dirt.
8. Replace Your Car’s Heating
Your car’s heating system keeps you warm. It comprises multiple components, including HVAC control, thermostat, and antifreeze. If your car’s heating is working well, you should feel warm when you want to and at comfortable temperatures. Car maintenance will ensure your system is working at optimum levels.
You can easily get repair parts at a heating equipment business. One of the often forgotten aspects during maintenance is the heater hose. You can notice signs that a replacement is required if you notice a deformity on the rubber or leaking fluid from the hose. If you notice problems with multiple aspects of your car’s heating system, it’s time to replace it.
9. Have a Professional Look at It
In the modern DIY world, it’s always tempting to do maintenance of your car. Some projects, such as doing a manual car wash, are easy DIY and might not have serious implications on your vehicle. However, most car maintenance projects, such as installing a metal panel, require professional auto body services. While you should have a basic car maintenance list to monitor progress, it’s advisable to have a professional in an auto repair shop inspect your vehicle.
A professional has seen multiple car problems and will guide you on what to give priority during maintenance. They can also advise on the best car components to add to your vehicle. If you have repair issues, a professional will save you the cost of redoing a repair by doing it right the first time.
10. Keep Your Manufacturer’s Manual Handy
One of the easily ignored basic maintenance tips is following the manufacturer’s manual. They know your vehicle more than anyone else and are best poised to guide you on its maintenance. Most manufacturers will have a maintenance schedule and recommended auto shops to visit. Keep the manual handy to refer to when you should do maintenance next.
Following the manufacturer’s manual will help you avoid common mistakes, such as using the wrong octane rating. It will also come in handy when seeking warranty interventions. A manufacturer might only compensate you if you follow their manual. If the manual requires you to change the motor oil every 10,000 miles, you can keep a reminder to change the oil.
Your car is a worthy long-term investment and thus requires regular maintenance and care. While certain maintenance practices are best suited for professional auto mechanics, you can practice certain basic car care tips to improve your car’s longevity, performance, and safety. A basic car maintenance list can help you schedule regular maintenance for your car.
You can always use resources by maintaining your vehicle, even if it never breaks down. So you could use this checklist to maintain your car and still add other aspects without overdoing it. It will help to have a professional check your car regularly if it makes your work easier.