We can’t all be mechanics or automotive enthusiasts, but most of us still have to drive. Just because you don’t know a lot about cars doesn’t mean you can’t perform the base maintenance every car needs. Keeping your vehicle in good working order is best for your safety and, importantly, the potential resale value. These tips can be used by anyone with a few tools and a little patience. Most of the maintenance on this list takes less than half and hour to complete, and you could add months or years to the life of your car by keeping up on simple problems.
1. Tire Condition and Inflation
Clearly, worn tires are at a risk of going flat, but that’s not the only reason to check your tires. Over time, they may lose pressure and become uneven, which in turn may negatively impact your alignment. Additionally, if the tread on your tire is too low, they could be ineffective in bad weather or road conditions.
Regularly check your tires and rims for any obvious signs of damage, and check your tread quality with a coin test if you have any doubts. A penny between your treads should cover most of Lincoln’s head. If you can see his full face over the tread, it’s time for new tires.
Here’s a list of all the signs there might be something wrong with your tires and the solutions.
2. Engine Oi
Oil lubricates the moving parts of your engine but it doesn’t last forever. Over the course of about 5,000 miles or 3 months of driving, oil breaks down and its integrity as a lubricant deteriorates. The point of the oil is to keep your engine cool, so using old oil will repeatedly subject your engine to overheated and overworked conditions.
Although it is often overlooked, you should regularly check your oil every 5,000 miles. If the oil on your dipstick is low or muddy-looking, it’s essential to get an oil change.
3. Interior Cleaning
You may think that the stains on your passenger’s seat and the food crumbs on your car’s floor are just aesthetic issues, but did you know that the dirt and oils from every day use are slowly eroding your interior? The fabrics, metals and plastics that make up our vehicles should be treated like those in our homes to preserve their quality and functionality.
Don’t ignore your interior:
- Never allow stains to set.
- Don’t eat in the car.
- Don’t smoke in the car.
- Contain pets.
- Check your shoes and use mats.
If your lifestyle requires you to break these rules, consider regular scheduled mobile car detailing, a service which comes to you and professionally cleans your vehicle.
4. Windshield Wiper Blades
Our poor wiper blades take a lot of abuse on the road, from swiping away bugs and leaves to snow and rain. They often get damaged and don’t work as well as they should, and most people believe it would be too expensive or difficult to fix them.
Believe it or not, most windshield wiper blades cost well under $30 and can be installed in less than 20 minutes. Most cars have easy snap-on buttons or similar instructions, and the blades themselves should come with user-friendly instructions.
Check your wiper blades regularly for chewed or damaged parts so you can be safe on the road.
5. Coolant Levels
The coolant, or antifreeze, is easy to find in your car as it typically has a plastic recovery tank. This solution is used to disperse heat from the engine and keep things cool, much like the purpose of engine oil.
As you use your vehicle, debris can get caught in your coolant which causes corrosion. It also breaks down over time and must be replaced. Check your levels and the clarity of your coolant seasonally.
It’s not difficult to be a responsible motorist if you maintain a few commonly ignored issues- anyone can pop their hood and check fluid levels! Forgoing this maintenance will be costly in the end, so spend a few moments today securing your car for tomorrow
Image Credits elljay, CC0