How to Maintain Your Car
Proper care and maintenance are important if your car is to stay on the road for as long as you need it to. Those who will at some point plan to sell their cars and buy a new one understand how important this is, particularly when looking for a good resale value for the car. Other than the resale value, there is also the fact that a properly maintained car will keep you safer on the road, and in terms of aesthetics, nothing could be better than this.
You can in fact go so far in keeping your car in top condition. You basically need to follow some simple guidelines that we will outline in here, and everything else should be a walk in the park. The following are the 6 key areas that you have to pay attention to when thinking of doing some maintenance on the car:
- The interior
- The brakes
- Windows, mirrors and lights
Now, How to Maintain Your Car
One of the most important things you should never ignore about your tires is proper inflation. Each of the manufacturers usually recommend a specific pressure, which you have to adhere to. You will need to perhaps buy a tire gauge. Tire gauges are really simple, easy to use and affordable.
As soon as you notice wear and tear on the tires, it is time to replace them. Be very keen on the spaces between the treads. In the unlikely event that you do not know how to tell apart good tires from those that are wearing out, get in touch with your local dealer for help.
Always make sure your tires have the right pressure at least every other week. This is also the time when you monitor them for damage. Ensure you have them replaced before you can no longer salvage them.
By now most drivers know the importance of this, while for the new drivers, it is still a grey area. Your car needs oil to perform optimally. There are different types of oil in the market at the moment, and from different manufacturers.
Choosing the right oil is key to longevity of your vehicle. It will also help you ensure your car runs smoothly for a long time. If you are not aware about the necessary oil changes or requirements, get in touch with your nearest mechanic and they will help you learn how to change oil, and the signs you should be on the lookout for.
Ideally, you need to get oil changed once every 3,000 miles or so. There are lots of manufacturer brands however that promise their oil will serve you for up to 10,000 miles before you need to change it. However, it is usually advisable not to use the same oil for more than 5,000 miles if you want to get the best out of your vehicle.
Oil checks should be done on a regular basis, probably weekly and changed as soon as you deem it necessary.
Mirrors, windows and lights
On the face of it, you might not see how important these are to proper car maintenance. However, think about how you would handle your car without them. The first and most important rule about these three parts of your car, is that they should be clean at all times, and in top condition (not broken).
Immediately you notice broken mirrors or lights, have them replaced. Head off to the repair center from time to time to have the small cracks on your windshield checked. This will help you know whether they can be repaired or if replacement will work just fine.
While you are on the road, exercise caution, especially when driving behind vehicles that haul significant loads. In most cases, lorries that carry stones and other debris are notorious for causing innocent damage to your car. Even the smallest stone can fall off from the lorry and hit your mirrors, lights or windows, and cause significant damage. Therefore, be very careful when you are on the road.
For the best efficiency when braking, vehicles are constantly having their brake systems improved. You therefore need to make sure you monitor and replace the brakes from time to time. If you were to notice even the slightest problem with your brakes, you need to have them checked immediately.
When it comes to brakes, it is more than just about maintenance, but more about looking after your own life. Look at the brake belts and be on the lookout for tension or wear. If you notice your brake belts are making a squealing sound, they could probably be loose, so you should get them serviced.
Other than the brakes, another important element that you need to pay attention to is the battery. Batteries need to be checked at least once each month. Look for signs of corrosion, and clean them appropriately.
For longer life, try not to run your battery down from time to time. Most people find themselves constantly in a position where they have to jump start the vehicle, or someone else’s. This is usually a significant drain on the battery.
Since the battery will become old at some point and need replacement, after replacing it, you need to look at the alternator to make sure it is still working well before you install a new battery.
When it comes to your car’s interior, this is where aesthetics is important. Not only will an untidy interior look unsightly, but you also risk falling sick from all the pathogens in the vehicle. More often during trade-ins or selling, the condition of the interior counts for so much.
Assuming you are selling your car, you will realize that most people barely pay attention to things like the tires or oil, because they definitely are prepared to change those. However, if simple things like the sound system is not functioning, or perhaps the interior looks disheveled, these usually turn away prospective buyers.
Get yourself a good vacuum cleaner to help in cleaning the interior every so often. Keep the interior clean, and if you need to, have some good fragrance inside. This will eventually pay off in the long run.
Other than fuel and engine oil, there are other fluids that are important in the operational capacity of your vehicle. These have to be checked from time to time, in order to deliver the best performance. Some of the fluids in question include the following:
- Power steering fluid
- Brake fluid
- Windshield washer
- Transmission fluid
It is important that you check these fluids at least once every other week, and change them as required. If you do not know how to change these fluids, get in touch with your mechanic to show you how.
It is important that your car lights are in top condition. You need to ensure that before you leave the house every other day, your lights are all working. Other than the visibility purpose, driving with your lights out could easily land you in jail.
If you park near some reflective glass, you can check for yourself and know whether the lights are okay or not. You can also spend a few minutes before you leave, walk around the car and test all the lights to know if they are okay. These are the key lights that you need to monitor:
- Tail lights
- Brake lights
- Reverse lights
- Turn signals
Remember that just because your lights are working, does not necessarily mean that they are okay. You could have misaligned lights, which have to be changed. If your lights are not aligned properly, they could mislead the other road users, and probably cause an accident. Assuming your lights are working, but they are low, this limits your visibility particularly at night, or when you are driving under foggy conditions.
Take a look at your wipers. If you notice that they are worn out, you should replace them. Generally, wipers can/should be replaced at least once a year or as you need before the rain season sets in. Remember, this is only recommended for the blades.
However, if you feel the entire assembly needs to go, you can also replace it. If your errands see you driving a lot during the rainy season or in wet weather environments, a water repellent treatment on your windshield will be a good addition.
Generally, if you can follow the guidelines that we have discussed, there is a lot that you will be able to achieve for your car. When you do that, you can take good care of your car, and your car will in return take good care of you.
If there is anything you are not too sure about, the best place to seek advice is from your local mechanic, or your preferred mechanic. Ensure you follow the recommended service requirements for your car manufacturer, and if you need to replace anything, always go with original spare parts.