Getting a car is a considerable investment. Make your investment worthwhile by keeping your car well-maintained; your wallet will thank you for that in the long run. Don’t be one of those drivers who scrimp on maintenance or simply are too lazy to go about it. Sure, car maintenance requires both time and money, but when your vehicle breaks down due to neglect, it will probably cost you much more to get it fixed. Maintain your car regularly and you will find that the bills for regular car care don’t cost as much as a one-time bill with extensive repairs and replacements needed for a badly maintained car.
Even if you are not a car expert, there’s no excuse for you to neglect your car. There are many car care tips that you can easily adopt as part of your daily life. While there are times when you need to pay the car mechanic a visit, you certainly don’t need a car mechanic to tell you that your tyre pressure needs fixing and your car needs cleaning. For starters, we have listed our top 10 car care tips to help you keep your car in tip-top condition.
Tired of having flat tyres? Flat tyres are not just a hassle, they are also a road hazard. Inappropriate tyre pressure is often the leading cause for flat tyres. Tyre pressure that is too low or too high can cause flat tyres. Fret not though, for this is a problem that can be easily corrected and avoided. You just need an air pressure gauge to measure your tyre pressure and your vehicle manual to determine the recommended tyre pressure for your car. Besides tyre pressure, you should also check your tyre tread depth which reduces over time due to wear and tear. You can do so by looking at the tread wear indicator on your tyre (most tyres have this), using a cheap tyre tread gauge for a precise measurement, or even a 10-pence or 20-pence coin to gauge your tyre tread depth. Check your tyre pressure and tread depth monthly and replace your tyres once the tread depth reduces to 0.125 inch (or approximately 0.32 cm).
Car fluids are your car’s lifeline— they literally keep your car going. Motor oil keeps the engine lubricated, reducing friction between moving parts which can lead to overheating and engine damage. As with all things, motor oil breaks down over time and loses its effectiveness as a lubricant. Therefore, most car manufacturers recommend that you change the motor oil every three months or every 3,000 miles. Brake fluid tends to absorb moisture from the air, which can cause components to corrode and malfunction. Replace the brake fluid and bleed system annually. You should also check for any issues with the transmission fluid and engine coolant on a regular basis.
This one’s pretty straightforward and you should be able to do this on a daily basis, or whenever you use the car. Always check that your car lights, mirrors, windows and wipers are clean and working. Faulty car lights, broken mirrors and damaged windows are more of a safety concern than an aesthetic or a mechanical one. You don’t want to be driving in the dark without functioning car lights or driving through pouring rain with faulty windshield wipers.
Cleaning the exterior and interior of your car goes beyond car aesthetics. Losing the extra clutter (and consequently the extra weight) in your car can help increase your gas mileage. More importantly, you don’t want road debris to accumulate and end up lodged into pulleys and other moving parts that might cause your car to break down eventually. When washing the exterior of your car, don’t forget the underside of your car, which is an area that is often neglected during cleaning. Hose off any road salt or grime that might eat away or corrode the underside of your car and expose important vehicle components to the elements over time.
Other than the brake fluid, it is important to check your brakes. Brakes will wear down over time and you should definitely check and change your car brakes before they start squeaking. As a reference point, it is always a good idea to check your brakes with your car mechanic if you notice that there is a larger than usual time lag for the car to respond (i.e. it takes a longer time to slow down or come to a complete stop) when you apply the brakes.
A working seat belt can be the difference between life and death in a car accident. Always make sure that your seat belt fits snugly. Another tip to check if your seat belt is loose— loose seat belts tend to make loud squealing sounds when pulled. If you notice that your car seatbelts are loose or make squealing noises when pulled, then it’s time to get them serviced.
As with all things that have moving parts, grease helps with lubrication to reduce wear and tear due to friction. You don’t want to incur the unnecessary cost of fixing and replacing car components or joints, or even risk having your car go into “early retirement” due to poor lubrication.
Most people may not know this, but running your car on low fuel constantly can actually lead to fuel pump failure. The fuel pump essentially pumps the gasoline from the fuel tank to the engine for the engine to function. When your fuel tank runs low, the fuel pump may burn out due to insufficient gasoline and break down in the long run. To prevent this, try to make sure that you rarely run your car at a fuel level that is less than a quarter tank full.
Sometimes, it is better to be safe than sorry. When your car makes a strange noise, this can be a sign of a larger problem. Squeaky car brakes are clear signs that your car needs to be checked, but you may not be so sure about some other noises, like flapping or squealing wheels when brakes are applied. Don’t dismiss them as harmless. Instead of ignoring them, it is always best to check on them to be on the safe side.
Think of your car mechanic as your car doctor. Just like you, your car needs a regular health check-up by someone who is better trained to spot potential or existing problems and fix them. It pays to have your car scheduled for an annual mechanic inspection.
So, there you have it! Follow these 10 simple tips to care for your car and keep it running.