7 Tips for Keeping Your Car Dependable
If you want your vehicle to run smoothly and avoid costly breakdowns, regular preventative maintenance is key for your vehicle.
No matter what make and modern you drive, it’s crucial to follow some general car maintenance tips to keep you on the road safely.
Read on for a list of seven tips to ensure that your car runs the way it should so you can drive in confidence.
1. Don’t Skip Oil Changes
Whenever you drive your vehicle, the engine heats up and metal parts work in synergy to get the vehicle moving. In order to keep those parts lubricated, the engine requires clean oil to make sure everything is going smoothly and to keep the engine cool.
Motor oil can accumulate grit, grime, and tiny metal shavings that can build up over time. If the oil gets too dirty, the engine can’t stay lubricated which can result in overheating or worse – engine failure.
Every vehicle has recommendations for when your oil change should be scheduled. Check your owner’s manual to find out how many miles you should go in-between regular oil and filter changes, then get them done accordingly to protect your vehicle.
2. General Car Maintenance Tips: Check Your Tires
Every vehicle owner should make sure that all four tires are inflated to the correct level. Underinflated or overinflated tires run the risk of a serious blowout, which can be expensive and dangerous.
Make sure your tires are inflated at the correct PSI and get a tire rotation every 5,000 to 10,000 miles to ensure even tread wear. A wheel alignment can also keep your tires in the right position so they’re in level contact with the road.
The proper PSI for your tires should be located on a label found inside the driver’s side door. If you don’t see it there, it should also be included in your vehicle owner’s manual.
3. Keep an Eye on Fluid Levels
One of the most important general car maintenance tips is to make sure that all of your fluid levels look good. This includes coolant, transmission fluid, oil, brake fluid, and power steering fluid.
Get to know your vehicle and learn how to check the fluid levels so you can do a quick maintenance check at home. If you notice a leak, it’s vital that you bring your car in for service right away.
If you’re not sure what’s leaking, you can usually identify the different fluids in your engine by color.
For example, brown or black usually means oil or transmission fluid, while bright green, blue, or pink indicates a possible coolant leak. If your fluid levels are simply low without signs of leaking, just top them off to the proper level and you should be safe to drive.
4. Get Regular Brake Inspections
All dependable cars rely on a properly working braking system, so this is definitely part of car maintenance that can’t be ignored. Look for signs of brake problems including loud squealing noises, a “spongy” feeling when you press on the brake pedal, or smoke and odor.
Every time you bring your vehicle for an oil change, ask about a brake inspection, too. It’s the best way to ensure that everything is in good working order and you can find out if there are issues now rather than later.
You rely on your brakes to keep you safe as well as your passengers and other drivers out on the road. Don’t ignore this simple maintenance step, since it could save your life. Many mechanics will perform a quick brake inspection for free or low-cost, so take advantage of it whenever you can.
5. Test Your Lights
If your lights aren’t working, it can be a serious safety hazard. In many states, you can also be ticketed or fined if you’re driving a vehicle with non-working lights.
Do a quick inspection of your headlights, tail lights, turn signals, and hazards. If you notice a bulb is out, try and replace it right away or at least before you drive at night.
6. Inspect Wiper Blades
If you end up driving in rain or snow without wiper blades, it can be a seriously dangerous task. Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition and there’s no sign of dry rot or damage.
Loose wiper blades or blades that are in bad shape won’t come in contact with your windshield to wipe rain and precipitation away. Inspect your wipers at least once every few months to confirm that they’re still in good condition before you head out on the road.
7. Check on Hoses and Belts
A loose belt or hose can mean a breakdown, so it’s important to check these items regularly. Damaged hoses and belts can interfere with your vehicle’s ability to run properly and leave you stranded on the side of the road.
Open the hood and check all belts and hoses to make sure everything looks good. If you don’t know what to look for, simply ask your mechanic to check them during your next oil change.
A Well-Maintained Car is a Happy Car
With these simple, general car maintenance tips, you can ensure that your vehicle is running the way it should. Regular maintenance and quick inspections will keep your car running smoothly and save you a lot of money on repairs in the long run.
Don’t forget to check the little things like your tires’ PSI, lights, and windshield wiper blades for safe driving.
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