Nobody likes to be stuck with a big car repair bill. But you’re more likely to put yourself in that position if you neglect regular car maintenance, like replacing a dirty air filter and maintaining good tire pressure.
Why Is Car Maintenance Important?
Your vehicle is instrumental in your day-to-day life. It gets you to work, school, the market and to friends’ and family’s homes. You don’t rely on it just for transportation; you also rely on it to keep you safe. It can’t do that if you neglect its health. Regularly maintaining your car:
- Improves the gas mileage
- Proactively solves little problems before they are costly issues
- Increases driver and passenger safety
- Reduces stress and saves valuable time
- Extends vehicle life
Easy Vehicle Maintenance Tips
- Replace the air filter. The engine’s air filter should be replaced every 10,000-15,000 miles. A dirty filter will reduce airflow into the engine and decrease gas mileage. Feel free to replace it any time you see that it’s dirty; it should only cost you around $30.
- Keep an eye on tire pressure. Tire pressure is always fluctuating but if you are continuously driving on low tires you will decrease fuel efficiency and also increase your risk of a blowout. The tires won’t grip rain drenched roads as well, either. Check the pressure of each tire once a week with a tire pressure gauge and keep it as close to the manufacturer’s recommendation as possible.
- Watch the fluids. Your vehicle needs adequate lubrication to function properly. Ignoring the right fluid levels will create an opportunity for the engine and other vehicle components to seize or degrade in effectiveness. Fluids to keep an eye on include engine coolant, engine oil, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, transmission fluid and power steering fluid.
- Replace worn windshield wipers. If you can hear your wipers squeaking or they are leaving a smudge or skipping you will want to replace them. They are easy to install. Review your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the right size.
- Keep the battery terminals clean. Don’t be intimidated by the power of the battery, it’s easy to keep the terminals clean and extend their life. All it takes is a little baking soda mixed with water and an old toothbrush. Lightly scrub off the corrosion and use a spray bottle with water to clean and then thoroughly dry. Check out an online tutorial for added confidence!
- Inspect your windshield. When cracks and chips are small they are manageable. It’s when they get bigger that you’ll run into issues. Clean the windshield regularly so the cracks and chips are more easily spotted. Fixing a minor issue will only cost about $100, but waiting until it branches out will cost you around $500 or possibly an entire windshield replacement.
- Check your lights regularly. Faulty brake or headlights are not just a safety concern for you and other drivers; they are also a financial one. If a cop pulls you over you could be facing a hefty fine.
- Stick with the schedule. Every car manufacturer puts out recommendations for scheduled car maintenance. Belts, hoses, oil changes, etc. are all necessary to be checked and replaced. Although it might feel you are shelling out more money to keep up on this, you’re fending off possible costly repairs if you were to let them go, and bonus, you’re extending the life of the vehicle.
- Wash it! Occasionally washing your car will keep the sand, dirt, salt, and general grime from eating away at the protective paint coating. If you want to avoid rust, drive it through the car wash or spend a Saturday afternoon doing it yourself.
- Tune the engine. Ah, if only there was a people tune-up! Luckily, you can take your car into the shop for a basic engine tune up for spark plug and spark wire replacement. You might not see the value of it from the outside but you’ll actually get much better gas mileage and improve the fuel economy of the car by nearly 4%.
- Pay attention to noises. Better than anyone, you know what your car feels and sounds like when it’s running in optimum condition. If there is a sudden squeaking noise or a thump that’s coming from the back wheel, don’t wait. Take it to your trusted mechanic to get it checked out. Or, if you’re feeling brave, research online to see if it’s a quick and easy fix you can make yourself.
Don’t run your car into the ground by ignoring easy strategies to keep it running like the cream puff you want it to be. With a little love your car will save money on gas, keep you safe, and last you a long time. Don’t forget to provide protection with legal car insurance. Finding car insurance quotes that are accurate and proactive, rather than reactive, will also help save you money.