A car is one of the most important possessions you can have. It is a significant investment and it gets you from point A to point B safely, protecting you from the weather, and in an expedient manner. How can you make sure this investment lasts for as long as possible? Following these steps, you will be able to maintain the useful life of your car and avoid many headaches that can be caused by car failures when maintenance is not followed as it should.
1. Regularly Change the Filters
Filters become clogged with time, which is normal. Remember, their function is to keep your engine and car systems clean; therefore, it is important that you change them when their useful life has passed. Changing the air filter is very easy, and sometimes washing it can be acceptable as well. This way, you will not have to change it as frequently. Changing the oil filter is a bit more difficult, but very important.
Both filters should be checked and changed during scheduled services to make sure your vehicle will continue to run smoothly and the critical parts that make it work will be protected. Avoid poor quality filters as these do not work properly and can cause very costly damage to your car.
2. Regularly Check Your Tires and Wheels
Your tires are in constant contact with the pavement, where debris, nails, and simple wear and tear can eventually cause damage. You might have chosen to add custom rims to your car, but keep in mind that adequate maintenance is more than aesthetics. Hitting a sidewalk or a bump too hard can easily damage your wheels. Therefore, it is important that you check both your tires and your wheels regularly.
You can do this by using a pressure gauge, which will let you know if the tire pressure is at its perfect spot, something that varies among cars. You will find this information in the manual. Ideally, you should check tire pressure at least once a week, which will protect you from excessive fuel consumption, something that can happen with underinflated tires. Another way to prolong the life of your tires is by rotating them, which will even-out how they are worn.
3. Oil Changes Are Key
Just as we have blood running through our veins, your car has different fluids that help it work smoothly. Oil is one of the most essential ones as it is instrumental for the correct functioning of the engine. Ideally, you should check the oil level once a week, but every other week is acceptable as well. Knowing oil levels are good is quite easy, on the dipstick, the oil should be between the maximum and minimum markers.
Color and consistency are something else to look for. The oil should be between yellow and brown and it should not have a very thick consistency. If the oil is very thick or very dark, make sure to get it checked as soon as possible as you are probably overdue for an oil change. The only exceptions to this are cars with diesel engines, in which the oil is usually darker and there tend to be soot residues in it.
While you are checking the oil, you might as well check the levels of coolant to make sure this fluid is at the level it should be as well.
4. Check the Battery
This is a great way to avoid a big headache. Batteries are needed to start the engine of your car. When they die, you might be entirely unable to get it started, which might require you to call a tow truck. To avoid getting to this point, you should check it after the two-year mark, as this is the standard life of batteries.
Furthermore, it is important to make sure all is good with your battery, which means keeping it clean and making sure it is adequately secured to its spot. Vibration can lead to irregularities in connections as well as annoying noises, caused by a semi-loose battery.
5. Keep Your Car Clean
This might sound like an aesthetic concern but it is a lot more than that. Keeping your car clean both inside and out is very important. By keeping the inside clean, you can avoid attracting insects, which can make you feel incredibly uncomfortable as well as cause long-term damage. Keeping the outside clean is also very important.
When you do not wash your car regularly, the paint will suffer, as dust and debris accumulate and eventually damage the clear coat. With time, you will see rust accumulate, which can cause severe damage that will be very expensive to repair. Furthermore, rust can reach metalwork and truly destroy your vehicle. This can all be easily avoided with regular washing and waxing.
6. Protect Your Car from Direct Sunlight
The sun can also be quite detrimental to your car, which is why it is important that you keep it covered. The dashboard and even your steering wheel might be damaged by direct sunlight entering through the windshield. In addition, the paint and outer area of the car can also suffer, especially if it is parked during long periods.
If you have a garage, then it is better to use it and protect your car from the sun, vandals, and other damage that can take place. If you do not have a garage, then consider buying a cover. These are not very expensive and can save you from a costly paint job later on.