Even a 10/15-year old vehicle can be reliable and safe if you treat it right. Taking care of your car will save you a lot of bucks on repairs in the long run, as well as ensure a very prosperous and healthy lifespan for your steel friend. There are a lot of details and nuances to consider, but I’ll make it simple for you: I’ve got a top-5 list of things you need to do to maintain your vehicle properly. Pay attention, make notes and tell your friends – this is the good stuff.
#1 – Keep Up With The Maintenance Schedule
You can find your car’s maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. Just follow the instructions and that will help you keep your car in a good shape. Plus, doing so will also save you money, simply because you’ll be cutting the roots of any problems before they grow into something serious. The usual maintenance routine includes replacing fluids in the engine and transmission, changing oil, checking the brakes, steering, suspension, etc. Don’t get any smart ideas – just follow the manual and you’ll be fine. And make sure to write down any significant maintenance job you do. If it’s too much of a drag for you, there are a lot of free and pretty useful apps in the net like aCar or Car Maintenance Reminder. If you’re not an expert in all that “garage” stuff, just pay a pro mechanic to do all the work.
#2 – Check Your Car’s Fluids Regularly
All you have to do is frequently look at the level of your car’s engine oil, the transmission and coolant fluids, and finally, the brake and power steering fluids. If you want to keep it 100%, you should do this check-up every 2 weeks (or at least once a month).
Remember, we’re talking about a used car, not a shiny new one. You can actually top up the coolant or engine oil by yourself, but ALWAYS remember NOT not check the coolant while the engine is running or hot. If the fluids in transmission, brakes or power steering are low, that’s a clear sign that something’s wrong and it’s time to have a mechanic check your car. If you wanna do the “autopsy” by yourself, the owner’s manual might come in handy.
#3 – Don’t Drive Reckless And Learn To Listen
A quick acceleration, a careless gear shifting, as well as overloading often lead to troubles with the car and – eventually – big expenses on repairs.
Yep, the way you drive can determine your vehicle’s condition in a lot of ways. So, generally, be gentle, don’t rush anything, and be a Good Samaritan :). In addition, teach yourself to listen to your car while driving and notice any unusual noises. Over time you’ll start to differentiate a tickling sound from a rattling noise and figure out the problem by yourself. Still, it’s a good idea to have a mechanic check it, but this kind of knowledge will always be of great use.
#4 – Don’t Forget To Check Your Tires’ Pressure
This is one of the best ways to take care of your car. The majority of pros recommend checking tire pressure every 2 weeks or so – soft tires tend to overheat a lot, so, it would be wise to make a habit of this. In addition, rotating your tires will ensure they are even and steady. On average, you should do this every 6-8K miles.
#5 – Clean Car = Healthy Car
Regular washing will help you ensure there are no build-ups of dirt and rust.
The frequency of car-wash is determined by a lot of things, mainly the climate, the season, as well as the roads you roll on. If you live somewhere in the desert, or some muddy village, then you’ll have to wash your vehicle pretty often (obviously). However, even during winter it’s important to give your car a bath every week or so. As for waxing, you should do it 4-5 times a year – that’s more than enough.
So, not that hard to maintain your car, now is it? How often do you check on your car and wash it? Got any pointers on maintenance? Do share in the comments!
Watch this video about how to keep your car in a good condition: