EZ Car Care: The basics of car maintenance
If this is your first time owning a car, you might find it intimidating to maintain them at first glance. However, it is actually simple as many might think.
Having regular maintenance is essential not only in prolonging the lifespan of your car but also in helping you save money on repairs as well. Learn more about it below.
Conduct an inspection
The first thing you need to do if you want to maintain your car is to conduct an inspection of the possible wear and tear.
Check the tread depth on your tires
Tires come in all shapes and sizes, so you must do your research first when trying to assess the type and depth of the tread. One thing you need to keep in mind is that tires now come with tread wear lines that cross the tire perpendicular to the grooves of the tread. So, if ever it tears down to the point that the treadwear lines are even with the tread, your tires must be replaced immediately for safety purposes.
Another technique to know whether your tire is worn out is by pressing an upside-down penny into the groove between treads. If you can see more than half of the coin, then it means that the tread is too worn down.
Take note: Driving on tires with treads that are too worn out can result in accidents.
The tires must be properly inflated.
Having your tires inflated properly is essential for your safety and your car’s overall performance. On the contrary, if you are driving on underinflated tires, it can do damage to the sidewalls of the tires, causing them to rupture and deflate as a result.
To fix this, you must try to look on the side of the tire on your vehicle for the maximum pressure rating for the tire, then fill it to match. Once done, place a tire gauge on the tire’s valve stem to see if the tires require air, then use an air compressor to inflate your tires. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Tires that are under-inflated can dramatically reduce your gas mileage since the vehicle works harder to propel you on soft tires.
- On the other hand, tires that are over-inflated can be more prone to blowouts and will reduce the lifespan of your tire.
Check your oil level.
Checking the oil level is a quick, easy job that helps keep the engine clean, by preventing dirt buildup and overheating. To check your oil, you first need to locate the dipstick in your vehicle.
Moreover, the top of a dipstick is usually bright yellow and easily identified, but if you have trouble finding it, refer to the owner’s manual for your vehicle. Once you have found it. You need to pull the dipstick out and wipe off the oil on it. Afterwards, look at the clean dipstick so you can easily identify the full line, then slide it back into the engine. Here are some things to remember when checking the oil level:
- If you notice that your dipstick has multiple lines, the top one indicates ‘full’ and each line below it represents a quart of oil that needs to be added.
- On the contrary, if your oil levels are low, it may be because of an oil leak. FOr thi9s reason, it is important to fill it back up and check it frequently to determine if there is an issue with oil leaking or burning in your vehicle.
Test your lights and turn signals.
One thing you need to remember is that your lights are essential to seeing at night and ensuring that other drivers see you and know your intentions. For this reason, it is important, it is important that all of these lights are functioning properly at all times. One way to do this is by having your friend stand outside of your car as you test each light to ensure they are working. Moreover, if one of your turn signals starts to flash faster than normal, it is likely because the turn signal on the other end of your vehicle has blown out.
Be aware of the dashboard warning light signal.
There are a number of warning lights that can let you know if there is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Moreover, these symbols are fairly universal regardless of the brand of your car. It can either warn you about things like low tire pressure, excessive engine temperature or an issue with your anti-lock brake system.
However, if you are not familiar with this, we recommend referring to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see each symbol and what it represents so you can take the proper action when a light comes on. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- If you see a dashboard warning light signal and aren’t sure what it means, immediately pull over and turn off the vehicle until you are able to identify the issue.
- On the other hand, if you do not have an owner’s manual, try referring to the auto maker’s website or a site like http://dashboardsymbols.com/the-symbols.
Check your vehicle’s battery.
Although most modern automotive batteries require very little maintenance, it doesn’t mean that it has no need for cleaning and maintenance. prolong your battery with these simple steps:
- Ensure that the terminals of the battery are clean and free from corrosion to avoid any damage.
- Remember, a vibration caused by an unsecured battery can reduce its lifespan.
- Clean the batteries as much as possible to ensure a proper connection.
Performing regular maintenance
Once you have performed all the necessary check-ups to prolong the life of your vehicle, you now need to conduct regular maintenance for your car.
Change the oil every 3,000 miles.
One thing you need to know is that oil is responsible for keeping your engine running smoothly. However, once the vehicle has been driven for more than 3,000 miles, it decreases the performance of the car and can result in engine damage. For this reason, we recommend changing them as much as possible.
In order to change your oil, you first need to remove the oil drain plug from the bottom of the oil pan and drain the oil into a container. Afterwards, you must replace the oil filter and refill the engine with the correct amount of oil as listed in your owner’s manual. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Whenever you change your oil, make sure to replace your oil filter as well.
- For a more efficient way to do this, check your owner’s manual to ensure you fill the engine up with the correct amount of oil.
Repair or replace your brake pads every 20,000 miles (as needed).
While this is not a common problem among drivers, it is an essential thing to do if you want to stay away from harm when driving. Keep in mind that there are a number of variables that come into play when determining how often to replace your brake pads. For example, if you are an aggressive driver or frequently driving in traffic, it can also reduce the lifespan of your pads. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Make sure to replace the pads on both sides of the car at once.
- Your front brakes will ten to be replaced more often than your rears, as they do the majority of the work to stop the vehicle.
Clean your coolant system every two to five years.
Similar to oil, coolant can also go bad if not properly maintained. Moreover, if the coolant goes bad, its ability to control the temperature of your engine becomes harder and your vehicle may overheat if not treated right away. One way to maintain this is by draining your coolant system, flushing it with a hose, then filling it up with a new coolant and water mixture every two to five years. Here are other things to keep in mind:
- By driving your vehicle aggressively or forcing them in harsh conditions, you need to drain and flush your coolant system more often than others.
- On the contrary, if your vehicle has been running unusually hot or cold, the coolant most likely needs to be replaced.
Purchase new windshield wipers as needed.
While a windshield wiper may seem unimportant in your vehicle, having worn out wipers can actually put you in danger if you find yourself in a heavy rainstorm or snow. Once this happens, it will begin to displace the water on the windshield. For this reason, we recommend changing them as needed. Looking for the correct size windshield wipers for your year, make and model vehicle.