10 Basic Car Maintenance Tips To Keep You On The Go
Regular maintenance of a vehicle can really make all of the difference in longevity and overall performance. Taking time to perform these tips on your car will keep you on the go and will help to ensure safety. Keeping on top of these areas of maintenance can also save you some major dollars, caused by a major breakdown, or worse—a road accident.
Remember, if you are unsure about performing any of these procedures yourself, ask a friend for assistance, or seek a car professional or service specialist for help.
Car engine oil reduces friction on the moving parts of the engine and assists in dispersing heat. It acts as a sealant between piston rings and cylinder liner, preventing combustion pressure from escaping. It also acts as a rust inhibitor and detergent. To maximize engine performance, oil levels should be checked regularly. Oil should only be topped off with the correct type of oil for your engine, while staying below the maximum fill line.
Maintenance on car tires is essential for up-keep and safety of your vehicle. Tires should be checked on a regular basis and before long trips. Check inflation every 2 weeks when cold. The owner’s manual will give you the correct pressure to inflate too.
If you notice abnormal wear patterns, this indicates misalignment or suspension problems. Steering vibrations indicate that the tires might need balancing, and the tires should always have a minimum of 1.6 mm in their tread depth.
Inspect the power steering fluid regularly to make sure that it is filled to capacity. This can be checked via the reservoir indicated in the owner’s manual. Use only the recommended fluid. Never overfill the reservoir. If this fluid needs filling regularly, contact a specialist because this might indicate a larger problem with the car.
Your car battery is the key component in the electrical system and if not maintained or replaced, can cause breakdowns. Ensure that it is working properly by checking the battery terminals which should be clean and tight.
Check that the battery is secure. Consider replacement if it has been 3 or 4 years depending on recommended longevity. Make sure that the electrolyte level is right. Top it off only with distilled water.
Lights and Electrical Components
These are vital to every vehicle. Electrical components power features including your horns and windows. You should check your lights regularly to make sure that they work, use only the recommended bulbs (globes), and test the horn and window demisters regularly as well.
Transmission fluid levels should also be filled to the correct level. Fluid should not be discolored or burnt. Again, refer to the car manual or look up online, the correct type of fluid to use. Care of your transmission can prevent one of the most costly car services — the replacement of your gearbox. Maintenance here will save time and money on this larger problem.
Inspect the cooling system while the engine is cold. Do not ever remove a radiator cap when the engine is hot. Check the coolant level regularly. Again, only refill with the recommended type for the car. If the system is requiring a regular refill in the cooling system, there might be a leak.
Brakes that squeal, grind, or vibrate can indicate that they need replacing. Slow to respond brake performance will also indicate that they are worn down. Check to make sure that the brake fluid is full, and only use the recommended brake fluid.
Paint and Exterior Detailing
If you think being meticulous about the paint job of a car is reserved only for fans of the Fast and the Furious, think again. Proper care and maintenance of your car paint work can help protect a car from scratching and natural elements such as tree sap, mud, dirt, bird droppings and more.
Applying a basic car wax essentially provides a barrier over your car paint work. Today there are also chemically engineered car paint coatings which last longer and offer an advanced level of protection.
Why should you consider this type of car maintenance? If you want to retain as much resale value in your vehicle, as well as keep it looking in top condition, the exterior is important to maintain.
This is also vital to the safety of the vehicle. Worn suspension can increase stopping distance by up to 20%. The components of the suspension should be checked regularly for signs of physical damage or excess wear. The shock absorbers should be looked over for fluid leaks. The suspension can be checked while driving, by keeping an eye on steering wheel vibrations or even ‘nose diving’ when stopping.
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