Learning how to take care of your car can be confusing. How do you keep track of all the maintenance requirements? What really affects engine life and gas mileage?
Figuring it all out is important if you want your car to last as long as possible.
The average age of all cars still in use is 11 years. Whether or not you plan to keep your car for that long, it’s worth it to keep it running at peak performance while you have it.
Taking care of your car can also improve gas mileage and reduce your overall maintenance costs.
Check out these 10 ways to take care of your car.
1. Explore the Manual
Become familiar with your car’s owner’s manual to take care of it properly. The maintenance schedule, proper parts, and other details vary from vehicle to vehicle.
Always refer to your manual if you have a question about your vehicle care. It’s a great resource for troubleshooting vehicle issues.
If you don’t have your owner’s manual, read more here about getting a new copy.
2. Clean It Inside and Outside
Cleaning your vehicle regularly is important to keep it looking good.
But scrubbing your car or running it through the car wash isn’t just about making it sparkly. Dirt, salt, sand, and other debris that can get on your car leads to rust.
It’s the biggest problem in the winter if you live somewhere with snow or ice. But it’s a good idea to wash your car regularly year-round to remove anything that could cause it to deteriorate.
Waxing your car after you wash it gives you a little more protection against weather elements, bugs, and other things outdoors.
3. Schedule Regular Maintenance
Oil changes are probably what come to mind when you think of regular maintenance. The timing of oil changes depends on your vehicle and the type of oil you use. Full synthetic oil requires less frequent changes.
Other routine maintenance tasks include rotating tires, replacing fluids, replacing filters, and checking belts. Your owner’s manual should give you a schedule for those tasks.
4. Inspect It Regularly
Look at little closer at different parts of your car to make sure they’re still in good condition.
Replace windshield wiper blades regularly to ensure they work well. If they’re torn or worn out, they can scratch your windshield.
Check the filters regularly to make sure they’re not dirty. If they are, replace them.
Turn on your headlights and check to make sure they’re working. Look at the lights on the back as well. Have someone help you check the brake lights.
5. Drive With Care
The easier you are on your car when you drive, the better it should hold up over time.
Excessive speeds can be hard on the vehicle, but how quickly you accelerate and decelerate can be more important. Stepping on the gas or brakes hard can be difficult on the vehicle.
Aggressive driving and sharp corners can also be hard on your tires.
Avoid heavy loads in your vehicle, including trailers that you tow or roof racks.
6. Fix Problems Quickly
If you notice any issues with your car, have it checked out right away. Little squeaks, bangs, or shakes might not seem like much, but they could be a sign of something bigger.
Problems often get worse if you let them go for too long. You could end up with major engine problems if you don’t handle things quickly.
7. Care for the Tires
They might not seem like one of the most important parts, but your tires are responsible for getting you safely to your destination.
Keeping them properly inflated is the easiest way to do that.
Each 1 psi drop in your tire pressure can decrease gas mileage 0.2%. That doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up if your tires are a lot lower than normal.
Low tire pressure also increases the chances of major problems due to the extra friction created. The tires can overheat, wear prematurely, or cause a blowout. Blowouts can lead to crashes and leave debris in the road that puts other drivers at risk.
Check tire pressure regularly, especially if you think one or more tires look low.
Rotating your tires helps them wear evenly. This helps them last longer and prevents excessive wear in certain areas, which can also lead to failure.
Replace your tires before the tread gets too low. The penny trick helps you decide. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head when you put an upside-down penny in the tread, it could be time for new tires.
8. Maintain Fluid Levels
Your car relies on lots of fluids to keep things running smoothly. Your mechanic should check those fluids when you take your car in for routine maintenance. But it’s a good idea to check them regularly between appointments to ensure you keep them full.
Check your oil between oil changes to make sure it falls between the minimum and maximum levels on the dipstick. Note how the oil looks. If it’s dark and dirty, it’s time to change it.
Make sure your coolant reservoir has enough antifreeze in it.
You’ll also want to top off your windshield washer fluid regularly, so you can see clearly with clean windows.
9. Protect Your Car
If you have a garage or carport available, park your car there as much as possible. This protects it from potentially damaging weather elements, including UV rays and hail.
Avoid parking under trees when possible. Branches could fall on your vehicle, and some trees drop sap, pinecones, and other debris that can damage your paint.
10. Use Quality Products
Using quality products on and in your vehicle can make it last longer. Choose original manufacturer parts when you need to replace something.
Use high-quality gasoline and oil in your vehicle. Low-quality gasoline can be dirty, which can affect your fuel filters and fuel injectors.
Saving a few bucks on lower-quality products usually isn’t worth it if your goal is to extend the life of your car.
Learn How to Take Care of Your Car
Figuring out how to take care of your car isn’t too difficult once you have the basics under control. The time and effort to handle those basic care tasks pays off with a vehicle that lasts longer and uses gas more efficiently.
Keep exploring our blog to find more interesting facts about cars.