Owning a vehicle requires solid commitment. You know so well that your responsibility and interaction with your vehicle do not end when you park it and you stop driving. Apart from the actual driving, it consists of daily acts of intentional and intelligent maintenance. Owning a vehicle is not for the lazy.
Why is car maintenance important?
Maintenance is important because every vehicle is made up of different machines with varied mechanisms. Each and every single part needs to be taken care of to ensure that your car is in tiptop shape. The following is a summary of the advantages you get if you keep a solid practice of car maintenance:
1. Optimum safety is ensured.
2. Vehicle performance is enhanced.
3. Leads to more savings as it effectively prevents costly repair fees.
4. A high resale value.
5. Helps in maintaining a greener environment.
6. Avoids roadside emergencies.
Essential Maintenance Practice for All Vehicles
There are ultimately eight important vehicle parts and factors that you should always keep in check: general care, wheels, engine, fuel, bodywork, electrics, lights, and accessories. The Automotive Men know everything there is when it comes to your car needs. So to make things easier and simpler for you, we’ve gathered 20 of the most essential and fundamental car maintenance habits for all such parts and factors. Applying everything on this list will ensure that your vehicle will always be in its best shape and performance.
1. Regular vehicle inspection.
This is best done with the help of your car manual. Every car comes with a dedicated car manual that enlists the best and proper way of doing vehicle inspection.
Your car manual comes with a list of every part that you should consistently inspect. You can simply follow this by referring to the manual as you go. Your car manual will clue you in as to how each and every part to be inspected should look at. In practicing this, it will be very easy for you to check if something is off or amiss. It will also greatly improve your knowledge of the different important parts of your car that make it work superbly.
2. Familiarize yourself with the meaning of different warning light indicators in your car.
Yes, car maintenance will require you to do actual reading, learning, and memorizing. Modern cars come with sophisticated warning systems that require users to dedicate time for total comprehension. There are some vehicle factors and dynamics that cannot be inspected in plain sight and this is what warning light indicators are for. Being fully aware of each and every warning light’s meaning will make it easy for you to determine and act promptly whenever something goes wrong. Some of the most common warning light indicators are for engines, electrical faults, brakes, coolants, and oils.
Wheels and Tires
3. You should always check your tire pressures.
Vehicles have different recommended tire pressures. For this, you just need to refer to your owner’s manual. To ensure that you don’t forget, you can input the data on your phone. You can also download apps to ensure that you get timely notifications to check your tire pressure. A weekly check is highly recommended.
4. Check your tires’ tread depth.
A tire’s tread depth will always clearly clue you in if a replacement is already necessary. Always remember that deep grooves are a must. It’s time for replacement when your tires already have low tread depth.
5. Tire rotation and alignment.
Wheel balancing is key in ensuring road safety and good fuel economy. You should have your tires rotated every 5,000 miles to ensure that it is aligned and balanced.
6. Deal with brake dust.
This maintenance is cosmetic. Accumulated drake dust does not affect the performance of your car. However, they’re not good to look at. For this, you can simply use a sponge with clean cold water. Consistent maintenance will prevent you from having stained wheels.
7. You should check your drive belts.
Drive belts are essential as it connects different parts of your vehicles via the sleek transferring of power. They wear through time and need to be replaced. The general rule is to have your serpentine belt replaced every 40,000 miles. On the other hand, timing belts need to be replaced every 60,000 miles. Vehicles vary so it is important to refer to your car’s manual for this. Always visually inspect your drive belts.
8. Have your oil levels checked.
When checking your oil level, always make sure that your car is parked properly. It must be on level ground. Make sure that your dipstick is always cleaned with a rag to eliminate confusion and come up with clear oil level indications. When your oil’s color is black, it’s time to have them replaced.
9. Monitor your coolant level.
Always inspect your coolant reservoir. To know where it is, do refer to your car manual. Ensure that it does not run low.
10. Always consider fuel economy.
Always take note of your odometer and trip readings. Proper evaluation of your gas mileage will help you determine easily if your engine is still in tiptop shape.
11. Check if your air filter needs to be replaced.
Vehicles differ when it comes to mileage to consider when replacing your air filter. Do refer to your car manual for this.
12. Check if your spark plugs need to be replaced.
Spark plugs that need replacement cause higher fuel consumption and poor acceleration. They normally need to be replaced every 30,000 miles. Check on your car manual for the exact recommendation of your vehicle as some can last well with no replacement even up to 100,000 miles. This is usually the case with iridium spark plugs.
Fuel and Gas
13. Always take note of the recommended octane rating for your vehicle.
Higher octane fuel is not always the requirement as it does not always entail more engine power. Different vehicles have different needs so make sure that you stick to your car manual’s recommended octane level.
14. Always use high quality detailing supplies.
Superior polishes and waxes ensure that your vehicle is easier to clean and maintain. TAKE NOTE: Always remove bird poops as soon as possible as they have strong paint-damaging effects when baked under the sun.
15. Know how to care for your batteries.
Make a conscious effort to learn how to disconnect batteries.
16. Keep your battery terminals clean.
Always inspect for unnecessary mineral buildup or corrosion. Clean battery terminals help greatly in prolonging a battery’s life.
17. Check for broken indicator bulbs.
Always ensure that all lights are perfectly working. Be familiar with your vehicle’s lighting modules.
18. Never touch glass bulbs during replacement.
To ensure that you don’t have to deal with unnecessary grime and oil, always remember that you can only touch the metal bulb holder.
19. Check the performance of your windshield wipers.
Squeaking noises and streaky performance indicate that replacement is already necessary.
20. Check your cabin air filter.
Cabin air filters need to be replaced every year or for every 12,000 miles. A good cabin air filter ensures good air quality inside your car.