Car Maintenance 101: How to Keep Your Car in Prime Condition
Buying a car and owning a car are two very different things. Anyone who has saved up enough money can go and buy a car. But very few people actually know the meaning of owning a vehicle, of maintaining it properly and making sure that it continues to run smoothly. Experienced drivers are able to figure out if something is wrong with their vehicles simply by noticing changes in the sound of their engines. However, you don’t really have to be an expert at vehicles to figure out if something is wrong with yours.
Car maintenance begins the moment that you bring your brand-new vehicle home. Every time you drive the vehicle, you have to check a few things. From time to time, you will need to take your vehicle for a professional inspection as well. Just as with any other machine, properly maintaining your car could greatly improve its useful life and ensure that it gives you a handsome return on your investment. At the end of the day, it’s always better to have a well-maintained vehicle than to be stuck stranded on the road looking for help after your car breaks down.
Most people think that maintaining a car costs a lot of money. In fact, it’s the opposite; maintenance doesn’t cost a lot of money and can eventually help you save a considerable amount that would otherwise be spent in maintenance and repair work on your vehicle. Most new car owners don’t really know where to begin when it comes to performing maintenance on their vehicles. Here are a few simple tips that you should follow to keep your car running smoothly without any hitches.
Check Fluid Levels Regularly
The oil in your vehicle needs to be changed after every three to four months or if you hit 4,000 kilometres before that. You need to get it done at the earlier of the two. Make sure that you check the engine oil on a regular basis so that you are able to see if the oil begins to blacken. If the oil begins to blacken, it’s a clear sign that you either need to get the oil replaced or get your engine checked.
However, the engine oil is not the only fluid in the car that you need to check. The brake fluids, gear oil, and power steering motor oil all need to be replaced after a while too. It takes hardly a minute to check the fluid levels in your car. Many people often skip out on checking the fluid levels and end up with severe issues. For example, if there’s a lack of engine oil in your car, there’s a very high chance that your engine will seize up completely. You can set reminders on your phone to make sure that you get the oil changed and other fluid levels filled up on time. When you take your car to get the oil changed, always remember to replace the oil filter as well. Buy a new one from the automotive store and supervise the worker as he or she changes it.
Keep an Ear Out for Weird Sounds
Do you notice more excessive sound coming from the engine than before? Many people often dismiss it as overthinking; however, in such cases, it’s usually best to go along with your gut. If you feel that you can hear a sound that wasn’t audible before, it’s best to get your car checked. It might be a case of loose or damaged engine bearings. You can take your vehicle for car servicing and repairs to get it checked for any weird sounds that you are suspicious about. In nine out of ten cases, your intuition and gut instinct will prove to be correct. Driving around with damaged or broken bearings is a bad idea and could just lead to even more problems in your vehicle.
Get Your Car Serviced
If you haven’t gotten your car serviced in quite some time, now might be the perfect time to take it for a thorough cleanup. The buildup of dirt and grime underneath the vehicle could prove to be quite damaging to the vehicle in the long run. When you take your car for a thorough service, it will be lifted onto a platform and cleaned thoroughly from the underside. In addition to the exterior wash, the air filter will be cleaned as well. The air filter is used for air intake in the engine and is designed to filter all harmful particles from the air. With time, the filter will get terribly dirty so you will need to either replace it or change it altogether.
Another very important thing that you need to do to keep your car running smoothly is to rotate the tires after every year or so. You can change the tyres in the front with the ones in the back to ensure smooth performance and divide the wear and tear evenly over the entire set of wheels.
Check the Fuel Economy
If your car is consuming more fuel than it should, there’s probably something wrong inside. Rather than simply topping up on petrol every now and then, take some time off and go to your local mechanic. He or she might be able to figure out the problem with your vehicle and bring the fuel economy back to its original levels. Sometimes it’s as simple as cleaning the filters and the spark plugs. In other cases, it might be a problem caused by a malfunctioning component in your vehicle.
You should also fill up the battery fluid and check its levels from time to time. If you have a wet battery, it’s very important that you take your car to a local mechanic to check the battery and fill it up with the appropriate battery acid. Do not use saltwater or any other type of water in the battery acid as those can cause damage to the battery.