Save Time and Money with Preventative Car Maintenance
Every day, car owners are surprised by issues that land their car in the shop unexpectedly. This is costly in both time and money and usually comes with quite a big headache. But we have some good news! Although car repair is an inevitable situation, the sudden shock and cost can be kept down significantly by a few preventative measures. Here we’ll take a look at some of the basics of preventative car maintenance that any car owner can master. Simply run through this checklist on a monthly basis and you are guaranteed to save on time and money. We hope it helps you feel safe and secure in your daily travels!
Read Your User’s Manual
Before doing anything, consult your user’s manual. The user’s manual will have information on maintenance that is specific for your car’s make and model. Things like how frequently to check your tire pressure or type of oil and fuel to use are among the details that will vary from car to car. If you’ve misplaced or lost your user’s manual, one can usually be found online for your make and model.
Do a Monthly Inspection
With the help of your owner’s manual, run through a general inspection of your car at least once per month. Check basic things like tire pressure and that all lights are functioning. A tire gauge is great to keep in your glove compartment for use whenever needed.
Also be sure to check the tread on your tires. One way to do this is to use the ‘penny test.’ Place a penny head-first into several grooves across the tire. If you can consistently see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are worn and you most likely need a new tire. If Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, then you most likely do not need to replace the tire.
Have Your Tires Rotated and Balanced
While tire rotation is something that needs to be done by a certified mechanic and will cost you a small amount, it’s worth it and will save you money in the end. Rotating your tires will help the tires wear evenly and prolong the life of the tires. Balancing your tires will ensure that the car runs as smoothly as possible on the road which will in turn, save you money on gas. It’s also a great idea to ask your mechanic to check the wheel alignment at the same time, as this further ensures the longest life of your tires.
Check All Fluid Levels
Paying someone to change your wiper fluid is an unnecessary expense. This is something you can easily learn to do on your own.
In the summertime you will need a fluid that has a soap base for bugs and dirt; and in the winter, one that has antifreeze in order to keep your windows from frosting over. Other fluids that must be regularly checked are coolant, antifreeze, and power steering fluid.
Coolant is usually located in a transparent container near the radiator. It is essential to keep your car from overheating and damaging the engine. You can check the levels easily by looking at the measurements on the side of the container. Antifreeze keeps your car from freezing in the winter and also plays a role in your car’s cooling system. Power steering fluid maintains the proper tension necessary to drive the mechanical parts of the steering system. Most cars have gauges or dipsticks to allow you to test fluid levels.
Even if you don’t change all of your fluids yourself, you can still run monthly checks on levels. That way you can respond as soon as possible if you suspect a leak.