One of the most important things you can do as a car owner is to have regular preventive maintenance in order to keep your ride healthy and to save your pocket from spending on repairs in the future. Anyone who had worked on cars and had spent a great deal of money on cars will tell you that preventive maintenance is not something that can just be ignored, most especially the basics because they can help you catch something before something even more serious happens. And as for your money, preventive maintenance can help you save thousands.
Here are the basics that you need to do:
Take the time to read your owner’s manual
Regardless of the vehicle, there is always the maintenance schedule inside it that you must religiously follow. Just like any appliance or piece of technology, it is important for you to check the manual to make sure that you know what you are doing. This is even more important for people who are not interested in how their car works because nobody wants to void their warranty and cause damage that will result in bigger expenses.
Do your own inspection
This might be very basic, but it is important for your car to get periodic inspection as it will help you catch anything that looks strange. Your inspection should include checking if all your lights are fine, checking the pressure in your tires, checking for any strange sounds, etc. If you notice something odd, do not ever ignore it.
Check your fluids
You don’t necessarily have to learn how to change your power steering, antifreeze, coolant, and wiper fluid, but it’s important that you know how to check your fluid levels. You can either see the tank level directly or you can use their dip sticks or gauge. If you are running low on these fluids, you can add more or have them changed. If there is a leak, make sure that you don’t ignore it.
Inspect and get your timing and serpentine belts replaced when needed
You can always refer to your manual to check when you need to get your timing belt as well as serpentine belts replaced. If you cannot look it up in your manual, you can also go ahead and check online. You will most likely find the recommendation for your car. You can still use them if they are in good shape but if you see that they are already worn out, get them replaced before they even fail. Once they break down, they might also cause damage to other accessories, which will make the repair even more costly.
Check your oil and get it changed on a regular basis
Regardless of the method, you should be able to know how to check your oil levels. You must also be able to distinguish the difference between clean oil and muddy oil. When it is already murky and muddy, it could be an indication that there is already something wrong with your engine. There can’t be a universal recommendation on how frequent you should change your oil, but it should also be indicated in your manual.
Check your battery and clean the contacts
While batteries these days do not require much maintenance, it is still important for you to know where they are located and how to check them. Also, make sure that they do not leak. If you found any leaks, you can clean them by using a battery cleaning brush. You can also buy an inexpensive battery tester or jump starter so that when the time comes, you will not ask someone for help to give you a jump.
Get your tires rotated and balanced and your alignment checked
Your manual should be able to tell you how frequent you should do these, but you must know that these steps are important because these will ensure that your car drives smoothly.
Change your spark plugs
Your engine is not working efficiently if your spark plugs need replacement or are covered with buildup. Not only will it cost you a lot of fuel, it can also result in a breakdown and that is the last thing you would ever want to happen.