A recent study has found that most Americans know very little about their cars. While you don’t need to be an expert, being unaware of potential problems can be dangerous — for both the car and you! The best thing you can do to keep your car in great shape is to follow some vehicle maintenance tips.
If you take these tips on board and make sure you keep an eye on these things, your car should stay in great shape, keeping you safe. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to remember.
1. Inspect and Maintain Tires
Tires should be replaced around every six years for the average driver, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about them the rest of the time you own the car. It’s crucial to keep an eye on them and notice if anything seems off.
There are a few things you should do to inspect and maintain your tires.
Check the Tire Pressure
Every few weeks, you should make sure to check the tire pressure and ensure it’s between 30-35 PSI (though a little higher is also fine). A lot of cars can do this and let you read the tire pressure on the dashboard, or you can use a gauge.
Rotate Your Tires
Have a technician rotate your tires on a frequent basis (around every few thousand miles).
When you drive your car, there’s uneven wear and tear due to the position of the tires. Rotating them means moving around so the wear and tear affects different parts, giving them a longer lifespan.
Perform a Visual Inspection
Even someone who wouldn’t consider themselves well-versed in auto maintenance can often see if there’s something wrong with a tire (before it becomes a worse problem, like a flat).
Every few days, give your tires a quick glance — especially if you hit a pothole or go over a hard bump — and assert that they look normal.
2. Change the Oil
How often you need to change the oil depends on your specific car, so make sure you do your research on your model. For example, the recommended amount of miles before an oil change is 5000-7000 miles, but for cars running on synthetic oil, they may last a lot longer.
Many people choose to change the oil themselves, which is great if you have someone around you who can show you how to do so in a successful and safe way. If you don’t, you should have a professional change the oil.
3. Check the Other Fluids
As well as oil, there are a number of different fluids that need to be checked and replaced on your car. Each is equally important.
Your brake fluid is necessary to keep your brakes working properly, so you can imagine how important it is. You should check this every time you get the oil changed.
Transmission fluid keeps the gears running smoothly, though it doesn’t need to be changed often as long as you check on it. If it stays level, you shouldn’t have to worry about it until you’ve hit tens of thousands of miles.
You can check this using your car’s radiator. It’s responsible for ensuring your engine doesn’t get too hot, so it’s critical to keep your car running well.
You should check this around twice a year, though you shouldn’t have to replace it every time you check it. Once every couple of years should be sufficient as long as everything looks good.
4. Check the Battery
Whenever your vehicle is getting served, you should get the battery checked. Many car problems are down to the battery, so catching any issues early is key to avoiding much more severe problems.
However, you should also keep an eye out for minor issues with the car that may be down to the battery. These include:
- The check engine light coming on
- Headlights struggling to come on or being suddenly dim
- Issues with electrical components of the car
- A visibly warped battery case, if you look at it
- Your car struggles to get started
If the battery is very damaged, you might be able to spot the issues visually (like the warped case or even corrosion). For the most part, you should just keep an eye out for any problems and get the battery checked the moment they appear.
5. Get an Annual Inspection
Getting an annual inspection is the best method of taking care of a car. Although you can do your utmost to keep your car condition great, there’s nothing like having an expert put a second eye on things and adjust parts of your car to get the most out of the vehicle.
Not only does that keep you safe, but it gives the car the longest lifespan possible and avoids expensive repairs. Many states even have car inspection laws that mandate the vehicle must pass a safety test from a professional before it can be on the road.
Follow These Vehicle Maintenance Tips
If you have a car, it’s important to follow these vehicle maintenance tips. Not only is it essential to keep yourself safe (and anyone else who might be in your car or driving near you), but it’s sensible to get the most out of your vehicle. An annual inspection fee is nothing compared to the major repairs you may end up with otherwise!
Looking for trusted and reliable professional maintenance or auto repair in Fort Worth, Texas? Request an appointment at Rick and Ray’s Auto Plaza and let’s see what we can do for you.