To increase the life expectancy of a car & make it look brand new, proper maintenance is an important step that every car owner should follow. There are many things you need to learn & have at your fingertips if you wish to extend the lifespan of your car. But, before that you need to understand why car maintenance is essential for an owner. In this article, you will get 10 Essential Car Maintenance Tips that will save your money, for sure.
Benefits of Car Maintenance
Automobiles are made up of several different parts, which needs to be in top condition to operate properly. If one of them fails, the whole system will suffer & it will cease to run.
To help your perspective, here are a few benefits of car maintenance:
1. Safety of Yourself
According to research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2018, about 1.35M people die annually due to road accidents.
A big portion of that number could be shaved off if everyone followed the proper vehicle conservation procedures. Thus, maintenance can potentially save your life by improving your road safety.
2. Performance of Your Vehicle
The longevity of a car directly depends on the owner & how they treat the vehicle. As a matter of fact, a well-maintained old car can easily outlive a new one, if it’s properly taken care of.
Often it’s the small works such as checking the brakes, tire pressure, battery & fluids regularly can improve the performance.
3. The expense for Your Vehicle
When it comes to cars, always remember that ‘Prevention is better than a cure.’ Quite often you’ll see that ignoring & clustering up the repair ends up costing you more money than it’s worth in the market.
So, if you want to avoid digging a hole in your pocket, you should schedule a regular check-up for your vehicle.
4. Roadside Emergency
Imagine it’s late night and you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere because your car broke down. While it may seem like a plot from a horror film, the occurrence of this situation is very often.
However, you can minimise such roadside crisis moments by simply checking & maintaining your car daily.
5. Environmental Protection
At present, vehicles are responsible for major environmental pollution such as air pollution & global warming. For that reason, both the manufacturer and the owner of vehicles are required by the law to follow certain rules to maintain minimal carbon emissions.
By carrying out the timely car maintenance, you’ll be doing your part to protect the natural environment.
10 Essential Car Maintenance Tips
Now that you know ‘WHY’ car maintenance is of such importance, let’s talk about the ‘HOW’ to keep your automobile in a top-notch condition. Here’s a list of thing you must follow to ensure your car’s prolonged life:
1. Tire Pressure & Fluids
Now, is the time to know the most essential car maintenance tips. Tires are arguably the most important feature of your car for safety, efficiency & comfort.
In addition, according to Research in 2018 by Highways England and wheel company Bridgestone, “Almost 3/4 of motorway incidents related to tire failure could be prevented if drivers carry out simple checks.”
So, regularly checking the tire pressure, wheel balance & tire rotation can help your vehicle stay in good shape & save you a lot of money in the long run.
Fluids are the lifeblood of a car. As in, if the engine is the heart of the car, the fluids would be the blood that helps it keep going. Inspecting the fluids regularly is a job that is both cheap & convenient if done correctly. You can easily do it if you know what you’re doing.
Here are some car fluids & how you can check them:
This is the main fluid that keeps the vehicle running. It lubricates the engine to reduce friction, which reduces the chances of mechanical wear. It can be tested by opening up the front bonnet & removing the dipstick.
If the oil level is between the minimum & maximum marks and yellowish-brown in colour, it means the oil is in good condition.
The radiator can be located under the front bonnet of a vehicle, which helps to keep the vehicle from overheating. It can be checked by the built-in ‘Coolant Antifreeze Reservoir,’ after opening the radiator cap.
The transmission fluid’s job is to ease the friction & lubricate the transmission. To check this liquid, you have to put a dipstick in the transmission fluid tank and examine the condition & level. If you notice that there are particles or a whiff of burnt smell in there, it’s time to change the fluid.
Power Steering Fluid
This fluid is essential to make the steering wheel smooth & easier to control and, perhaps, the easiest to examine. Most vehicles come with a transparent container in the engine labelled ‘Steering,’ where the fluid level can be checked.
You can find the brake fluid reservoir at the back of the engine compartment. Remember that any contamination inside the container can greatly obstruct the effectiveness of the fluid.
Open the brake fluid container with a screwdriver and confirm if the fluid is at the half-inch level. If it’s anything below that level or the reservoir is too dark, the fluid requires a change.
Air Conditioning Coolant
The purpose of this fluid is to help the A/C system turn hot air into cold air. Examining this fluid is rather complicated, as you’ll need to use A/C Gauge & Thermometer.
First, turn on the A/C system & set it to the lowest temperature. Next, you’ll need to open the bonnet & connect the A/C Gauge to the low-pressure line. The fluid needs refilling if the gauge reads below 25.
This fluid is not obligatory to run the engine, but it’s important to keep the windshield clean nonetheless. The reservoir is labelled & transparent, so it’s easy to identify if it needs to be refilled.
From getting your car started to powering all the electrical accessories, the battery is an essential part of an automobile. Driving regularly helps to keep the battery charged, so it’s important to drive the car at least once a week for 15 to 30 minutes.
Additionally, don’t jump-start a flat battery. It might overwhelm the battery with excessive current, which can affect the other internal electronics. If there’s no other way, then keep the headlights on to help redirect any excessive current.
Moreover, remember to change the battery after 3 to 5 years. Although the degradation of a battery depends on the driving habits, charge capacity & weather, waiting until the battery gets swollen is a bad idea.
3. Engine & Brakes
If you want your car to perform at the optimum condition, you must take care of the engine, the heart of the vehicle, with the utmost care. A small mistake in maintaining it can cause serious damage & cost you almost the same amount of money as the car itself.
So, what can be done to prevent such incidents?
- You must maintain the Engine oil & Radiator fluid level of the vehicle so that it doesn’t overheat or overwork
- Spark plugs, which help improve the performance of your car, should be replaced after 30,000 Miles on average
- The timing belt, the movement coordinator of valve & pistons, needs an upgrade after 60,000 to 100,000 Miles (depending on the vehicle)
- The air filter stops debris and dust from accumulating & harming your engine, as well as to circulate air in your engine to improve power and performance. Depending on the road, it should be changed after 15,000 to 20,000 Miles.
- A full tune-up helps vehicles stay in top condition and last longer. Depending on the weather & driving conditions, a full tune-up is necessary after hitting 60,000 to 90,000 Miles.
When it comes to Brakes, proper maintenance is not only crucial for your safety as a driver or a passenger, but also for helping your vehicle last longer.
Let’s find out how to maintain brakes on a vehicle:
- According to Rac.co.uk, if you see a brake warning light in your dashboard, you shouldn’t take any risk and go for an expert check-up as soon as possible.
- A worn-out brake pad will make a metal scraping sound because it is designed to do so as a warning to the driver. If it does, it’s time to change the brake pad.
- Usually, when a brake pad wears off, it also produces a vibration that can be felt through the brake pedal & steering wheel.
4. Tools & Spare Tire
The importance of having basic tools & a spare tire can be invaluable at the time of need. Every so often you might find yourself in a pinch due to car problems in a remote place or late at night. If a tire gets damaged somehow, instead of waiting for help, you can change it with the spare tire. All you’re going to need is some basic tools such as:
- Socket, Tork & Combination Wrenches
- Tire Pressure & Compression Gauges
5. Car Security
Your vehicle is the medium of your daily commute & a tool to make your life convenient. If you want to keep it safe, you must ensure proper alarm or security for it. When you leave your car at the parking or by a road, you want to have peace of mind about the safety of it.
According to a news report by Fleet News, UK, compared to the last 4 years, the total number of car thefts has risen 56% in 2020. That’s why ensuring good security for the car has become essential.
While there are several ways to secure a vehicle, experts have found that the combination of Car Alarm & Car Tracker works best in this matter.
6. Car Interior
The interior of your car is among one of those things that reflects your personality. Sure, it might be harder for parents with children & pet owners to keep it clean, but it can become easier with a few tips & tricks.
This is a part that if not cleaned, it will keep accumulating dirt & keep getting dirtier, So, try cleaning your seats at least once a month.
Stains can be a pain in the neck for everyone. But if you act fast & immediately, you can get it off easily. Otherwise, it might leave a permanent mark.
There are many places inside the car that are hard to clean by hand. Luckily, you can use vacuum cleaners to easily get rid of all the dust at once.
Headliner & Visor
The headliner is the protective cover on the interior roof of the car that helps to protect your head from the hard metal frame. The Sun Visor protects your eyes & helps your vision on a sunny day.
7. Car Exterior
Maintenance of the car exterior is crucial if you want your car to look brand new & clean. Lack of proper care may lead to permanent damage to the main body of your vehicle. If you’re wondering what you can do to prevent such things, here are a few tips:
- If you use the car for daily commuting, you must schedule a weekly car wash. According to Accuweather, accumulated dirt, rust, ice, mud & road salt can be hazardous for a car’s paint & undercarriage.
- Waxing not only makes an automobile look prettier & shiny, but it also protects it from UV rays. So, it’s best to wax at least twice a year on average.
- Sunlight, rain, hail & snow can seriously damage the exterior if it’s not covered. If the automobile is properly covered, it will protect the vehicle from bird drops as well.
- Frequently spot check the paint of the car to prevent discolouration, peeling, dents & scratches.
8. Regular Check-up
Some of the vehicle tuning can be done at home, while others require an expert hand. This is vital to keep the car in top condition & can save you a lot of money. Taking good care of a vehicle can earn you a better deal if you wish to sell it later.
Most vehicles should be checked by an expert after every 10,000 Miles or once a year. However, many cars have ‘Engine Warning Light’ in the dashboard to indicate problems.
9. Car Insurance
Car insurance is a type of financial protection against physical damage caused by traffic accidents, theft, damage by fire or vandalism etc. It also protects other people & properties, if the damage is done by you.
Driving without insurance is illegal by the law in the UK. It could result in a fine of up to £1,000 and 6 penalty points on your licence. So, you must carry your insurance with you & keep it updated.
Driving with the understanding of the controls of a vehicle is an essential quality that every driver needs. It’s known as ‘Mechanical Sympathy.’ If you put pressure in your car, it’ll wear faster & might cause an accident. But driving moderately will ensure your safety, as well as cut down fuel expenses.
Above all, you should try to drive within the speed limit and avoid sudden stops. That way you’ll stay safe, save money, and help your car last longer.
In conclusion, maintaining the essential parts of your car is a wise investment for your money, time and peace of mind. If you follow the tips & instructions and don’t abuse the vehicle’s limitations, you can greatly expand the lifetime of your car.
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