Keeping on top of car maintenance extends the life of your car. And not only that, but preventative maintenance can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in car repairs. Taking care of your vehicle stops issues before they even begin, giving you peace of mind and sparing your wallet.
But what regular maintenance should you perform? Unless you’re a mechanic, that question is hard to answer. If you need a little help knowing how to care for your car, keep reading to see our car maintenance checklist. We’ve included ten maintenance practices that will keep your car in great shape today and for years to come.
Car Care Checklist
Check and Change Oil
Regular oil checks and oil changes are key to keeping your car running like it should. Oil lubricates your engine. Without enough fresh, clean oil, your engine will overheat, and then you’ll have a serious problem on your hands. Thankfully, checking and changing your oil is easy.
Oil checks confirm your car has enough oil, and that there’s no leak in your oil pan. Checking your oil every other time you fill your car up ensures you’ve got an adequate amount of oil in the pan.
Changing your oil is a little more involved. If you’re not up to doing it yourself or just want to save time, most auto care shops can change your oil in a quick half hour. You want to have your oil changed every 5,000 to 7,000 miles in most cases. Check with your mechanic about the best oil change intervals to ensure your car always has enough clean oil.
Refill Wiper Fluid
Topping off your windshield wiper fluid is a simple car maintenance task that you’ll be glad you did. When you’re splashing through mud or zooming through a swarm of bugs, you don’t want to be left without anything to clean your windshield!
You can find wiper fluid at any automotive store. Simply open your hood, find the wiper fluid container, and, using a funnel, pour the fluid until it reaches the fill line. Refilling wiper fluid enables you to drive safely and confidently regardless of the conditions, because you know you can clean your windshield without making a pit stop.
Check Tire Pressure
Many drivers forget to check their tire pressure because they don’t realize how quickly tires lose PSI. Every month, your tires can lose one PSI. In the winter, this number can be even higher.
But you don’t have to fear low tire pressure. Checking your tire pressure is easy, and it’s a basic car maintenance practice that keeps your tires in great shape. Plus, it keeps you safe out on the road, as tires with low pressure are more likely to get a flat or even a blowout than tires inflated to the recommended PSI.
Top Off Brake Fluid
Keeping your brakes lubricated ensures they work. And if you want your car to last, you want brakes that do the job! Topping off your car’s brake fluid ensures you’ll be driving on safe brakes for a long, long time.
You’ll want to check your brake fluid annually or if you’ve recently made a repair to your braking system. This car maintenance practice keeps the system operating smoothly and extends the life of both your brakes and your car.
Keep Your Car Clean
Car maintenance is more about only what’s under the hood. Regular car washing is basic car maintenance and has a surprising effect on your car’s long-term paint quality.
Dirt, dust, salt, and even construction tar find their way onto your vehicle. And if left on for an extended period of time, all of this grime can begin to eat away at your car’s topcoat. Once an agent compromises your topcoat, you’re exposing your car to corrosion, scratches, and serious damage.
But when you regularly wash your car, you remove the factors that cause paint damage. Keeping your car clean and free of grime promotes a long-lasting paint job that can stay pristine for decades!
Replace Air Filter
Air filters often slip through the cracks when drivers think of basic car maintenance. Unfortunately, neglecting to change your air filter can result in serious damage to your engine. When you’re going through your car maintenance checklist, remember to replace your air filter.
As your engine runs, it takes in air from the outside. Your air filter cleans, or filters, that air before it goes into your engine. The air filter allows your engine to run cleaner and more efficiently, prolonging the life of your car.
Replacing your air filter aids in fuel efficiency, reduces your carbon emissions, and keeps your engine humming as it should.
Tire maintenance is car maintenance. And with that philosophy in mind, you should do everything you can to keep your tires in great shape. Scheduling regular tire rotations allows you to evenly distribute the workload between your front and back tires, promoting even wear.
Tire rotation simply rotates your tires from front to back. Most drivers schedule their tire rotations for every other oil change. Rotating your tires brings the front wheels to the rear of the car and vice versa. Because your front tires bear the brunt of wear and tear, rotating your tires allows for even distribution of work and wear.
Keeping a regular rotation schedule ensures your tires wear at the same rate, and your car runs smoothly with no surprise flats or blowouts.
Replace Timing Belt
Your vehicle’s timing belt keeps the engine and other components running together and in sync, as they should. Timing belts are made of a durable rubber, and most last a long time. In fact, you can easily get 100,000 miles out of a single timing belt.
Once you’ve hit the 100k mark, it’s time to replace your timing belt. Pre-emptive replacement ensures your timing belt doesn’t wear out on you, causing a huge inconvenience and leaving you in need of a tow truck!
Replace Wiper Blades
When you’re driving down the highway in the pouring rain, you want windshield wiper blades that do the job. In the middle of a rainstorm is not the ideal place to replace your wiper blades!
Wiper blades are inexpensive yet make a huge difference in your driving safety during inclement weather. You’ll need to replace wiper blades as soon as you see they aren’t wicking off rainwater as they should. Check them every six months to keep yourself, as well as other drivers, safe on the road.
Have Your Car Inspected
The final maintenance tip we suggest is regular car inspection. You can take all the maintenance precautions on our list, but your vehicle might still have an underlying issue that needs professional attention. Bringing your vehicle in for an inspection every year allows your mechanic to identify problems and make repairs before you’re in serious car trouble.
Car maintenance takes effort and planning. But along with proper maintenance comes a car that runs smoothly and safely. By following our car maintenance checklist, you can be sure that your car will stay in great shape, and you’ll enjoy thousands of miles out on the road!
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