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Best Vehicle Maintenance Tips

The Best Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Running

We depend on our vehicles every single day to get us where we need to go. It’s important to keep up with the maintenance to prevent disasters. The time it takes to maintain your vehicle is much less than if your car breaks down and you have to get it fixed. It’s also way more affordable.

So why do people ignore their cars until it’s too late?

Preventive maintenance can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your car. There are some basic maintenance tips you can start utilizing right away. The best part about them is that they are easy and don’t take much time! If you know more about your vehicle it will also help your mechanic fix it better. Oftentimes, we spend more time diagnosing your vehicle than actually having to fix it.

There are several things you can do on an ongoing basis to make it easier to maintain your vehicle. If you do the following, you’ll save thousands over the life of your vehicle and make it easier for your mechanic to fix.

Check The Manual

The owner’s manual is not something people take the time to read through. Every vehicle is different. Forcing a cookie cutter maintenance program with your vehicle can result in disaster. The maintenance cycle for a Toyota 4Runner is much different than a BMW M3.

Your owners manual will give you a lot of clues as to where to start and when to take your vehicle in to get checked out. You’ll also know what to look for when things don’t feel quite right.

Check Your Oil

Everyone knows that engine oil is the lifeblood of your car. It’s the first step in basic maintenance. Whenever you notice something unusual the engine oil is the first thing you should check. Get familiar with what clean and dirty oil looks like. And remember, there are many fluids used in vehicles and they all degrade over time, just like your engine oil. Regular fluid maintenance saves money!

There are no universal suggestions for when you should change your oil. The 3,000-mile standard is something that may not apply to all of today’s vehicles. There are a lot of vehicles that can approach or exceed the 10,000-mile mark before you need an oil change.

A better rule would be to check your oil yourself every 500-1,000 miles. This way you can adequately plan out your next oil change before anything major happens. And don’t forget to discuss your oil change intervals with your mechanic!

Check Your Battery

Have you ever been stranded in the cold because your battery is dead? Checking your battery regularly may prevent premature battery failure. You can do this while checking your oil. Look for any leaks or mineral buildup. Invest in a battery cleaning brush to clean it off regularly. Even using the spray wand at the car wash occasionally to clean the battery can prevent corrosion from building up on the terminals which causes resistance to electrical energy flow. (Don’t forget to use safety precautions like personal protective equipment because battery acid is corrosive and can be harmful to you and your vehicle’s paint finish, etc.) You can also purchase an inexpensive battery tester or jump starter.

Replace Your Windshield Wipers

This one seems obvious but it’s not. Because getting your car serviced is not always top of mind, people often wait until they go in for maintenance or repairs to get their windshield wipers changed.

Some even wait until they can barely see. We can’t always predict a weather pattern. All it takes is one rain or snow storm to leave you in a precarious situation.

Tire Rotation, Wheel Balance, and Wheel Alignment

Rotating and balancing regularly will help your tires last much longer. Tires can be expensive to replace all at once.  Rotating tires regularly improves tire life because tires wear differently in different positions on the vehicle. Usually, the front tires steer and wheel alignment angles change when driving. Vibrations while driving, especially related to a specific vehicle speed, can be an indication of the need for wheel balancing. If you have to self-correct your car to make it drive straight, it may be an indication that the wheel alignment is off.  If you wait too long you’ll wear your tires out way faster costing you more money in the long run. Once an established tire wear pattern sets in, it may be impossible to reverse.

Change Your Spark Plugs

When your spark plugs are wearing out or have build-up on them, your engine won’t work as efficiently. Oftentimes your car will idle roughly when your spark plugs need to be changed. Your fuel efficiency may decrease costing you more at the pump. It can also lead to a breakdown. Spark plugs need to be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, or if a problem is detected.

If your car is idling poorly and performance has gone down, make sure you take it in to get checked out.

Check Your Tire Pressures

Tire pressure can fluctuate depending on many factors. Even changes in temperature can affect tire pressure. Getting into the habit of checking tire pressure can save you money in gas and even prevent an accident.

The one thing all of these tips have in common is that they can save you money!