Vehicle Maintenance Items Not To Neglect
It used to be that car ownership was a privilege only the richest people in society could afford. Back then, vehicles were much less reliable, requiring constant expensive maintenance and repairs. As technology has improved, cars have also become more accessible to the general population.
The bad news is some people now think their vehicle can just drive day after day, week after week, and month after month without anything other than refiling the gas tank. Car owners Neglecting maintenance items can result in big repairs which are completely avoidable. It just makes financial sense to maintain your vehicle regularly.
Following are some car maintenance items you need to not neglect. Skipping any of these can result in a mess you otherwise wouldn’t be facing.
First off, you need to get into the habit of doing regular inspections and checking over different areas of your car regularly as part of the regular maintenance. If you’ve ever been around an airplane before it goes onto the runway, you know the pilot and others will perform a detailed pre-flight checklist to ensure everything is working correctly. You don’t need to do the same with your car, but you should look over and check certain items periodically.
This is a habit you need to build. Find whatever method works for you to stop just jumping into your car and taking off each time, so you take a few minutes or longer regularly to notice critical details. This habit will pay off in the long run and help keep you from visiting a repair shop regularly.
While a freshly washed and waxed car looks great, this is more than just something you do out of vanity. The paint on your vehicle’s exterior helps protect the metal below from rust. Maintaining the paint by keeping it clean and in excellent condition are key for proper car care.
Wash your car regularly. Use soft cloths or scrubbers so you don’t damage the finish, including when drying the vehicle.
Apply a fresh coat of wax every few weeks, depending on the conditions your car has been exposed to. Don’t neglect to polish the body, which will help remove some paint imperfections and make your ride look even better.
You can always tell you takes impeccable care of their car by simply studying wheels. People who are really on top of maintenance have almost spotless wheels. Drivers who are oblivious don’t notice the brake dust caked onto their wheels.
Technically, the presence of brake dust doesn’t hurt performance. It’s unsightly and if left on your wheels, might be almost impossible to remove. If the dust bakes into the surface enough, the wheels will be permanently stained so you can’t hide your shame.
Use a wheel cleaner or a soft cloth dipped in cold, clean water. You’ll need to apply some elbow grease to keep the wheels on your ride clean.
When you’re cleaning the wheels is a great time to notice the brake pads. While you can buy a gauge to see how thick the brake pads are, also listening for squealing as you stop can indicate the pads need to be changed out.
The unsung heroes of any vehicle, tires are often neglected by drivers. They directly affect handling, acceleration, stopping, and fuel efficiency. Ignoring the condition of your car’s tires can be disastrous.
Check the air pressure in your tires about once a month, or after the temperature in your area drastically changes. Maintain the pressure at the level recommended by your car’s manufacturer, which is listed in the owner’s manual.
Have your tires rotated and balanced regularly. This will help them last longer and perform better.
Take note of the tread on each tire when you check the pressure. Uneven wear can indicate your car is out of alignment, or other problems with the chassis. Take note if the tread wear bars are exposed because that means it’s time to start thinking about getting new tires.
Another highly important yet often neglected maintenance item, checking the fluids in your car, like coolant or brake fluid, can save you from disaster. Low fluids might indicate a problem like a leak. If something like the engine oil level gets too low, you might be facing a humongous repair bill. Checking all fluid levels about once a month is a good idea. If your car is having problems, monitoring the fluids more often is recommended.
Stay on top of the recommended intervals for oil changes and other fluid changes. These can be found in the car owner’s manual. Old fluids will no longer serve their purpose and so must be replaced, otherwise, they could negatively impact fuel economy or the mechanical operation of your vehicle.
When you check the fluids, take note of their color. Unusual things like dark swirls in the coolant or foaming in the oil can indicate a serious problem, but catching it early helps.
Most people don’t think about the belts under their car’s hood, but you should. When you check the fluid levels, that’s a great time to look at the drive belts. These flexible components literally help to power things like the air conditioning, alternator, power steering, and water pump for your car. Having a belt failure can result in serious problems and sometimes extensive mechanical damage.
Always follow your car manufacturer’s recommendations for when to replace belts. Also, look over the belts when you check the fluids, noticing frayed edges or cracking. These are signs a drive belt has worn out and should be replaced.
Keeping corrosion off the battery terminals in your car is a good way to avoid becoming stranded. If you notice the metal terminals are looking dull or have buildup on them, it’s time to clean the buildup off. Get a wire battery terminal brush, which is designed to fit all the way around the terminals, making it easier to keep the metal clean than if you were to use a regular wire brush.
Newer cars have two air filters: one for the engine air intake and one for the cabin. Both are essential to the proper operation of your vehicle and so should not be neglected. Consult the car manufacturer for recommended intervals, but the filters need to be swapped out at regular intervals.
Usually, it takes few or no tools to access these filters, so checking them is simple. If the filters look dirty, it’s time to buy a replacement and install it.
It might sound like common sense, but you should pay attention to any warning lights – sometimes called dummy lights – including the infamous check engine light. Some drivers will just ignore them or cover the lights up with tape because they’re annoyed. These lights indicate a problem, sometimes a serious one has emerged with the car.
Read the owner’s manual where the meaning of each light is explained. Instead of always fearing reach light means your vehicle is melting down, you will know if one just says a tire is low or it’s time to have the oil changed. Knowledge is power. If you are unsure of any lights or vehicle-related issues contact us directly or stop in for a visit. You can also schedule vehicle service your vehicle service online.