Cars can be expensive – and if you have one you already love, you likely want to make sure it stays in the best condition possible for as long as possible and avoid the maintenance pitfalls that can lead to an accident. There are some simple things you can do that may help extend the life of your car, keeping it on the road for many years to come. Below, find eight simple tips to follow to make sure you’re doing all you can.
Read the Manual
One very simple way to keep your car in its best shape? Read the user manual when you purchase it. The manual will tell you what maintenance your car’s specific make and model needs and how often, and it will even tell you particular things to look for in your specific car.
Change Your Oil Regularly
Oil protects your engine and keeps it running smoothly. Oil should be changed every 5,000-7,000 kilometers or so depending on what oil you use in your car. When in doubt, refer to the owner’s manual to see how often oil should be checked or changed.
Routinely Check and Change Your Fluids
There are many fluids in your car aside from oil; there’s also transmission fluid, radiator fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and others. These fluids should be checked at least once a month, and definitely checked with regular car maintenance. If they need to be topped off or changed, do this promptly.
Check Your Tires Often
Tires are very important for not only your car, but also for your safety. Keep an eye on your tire pressure, which can fluctuate with outdoor temperatures. Tires that have too much pressure can pop while you’re driving, and too low pressure can damage your vehicle as well. Tire pressure can be checked at most gas stations, with air stations available if needed. Be sure to also keep tabs on the condition of your tires and have them rotated regularly, usually about every six months.
Keep Your Car Clean – Inside and Out
Keeping your car clean isn’t just about appearances – vehicle cleanliness plays a role in protecting the auto body’s paint job, preventing rust and more. Go through a carwash regularly to keep the exterior protected, and get the undercarriage cleaned before and after winter, to protect it from salt build up from the roads. While you’re there, clean the inside of your car as well, to keep the interior materials in good condition.
Avoid “Cold Starts” if Possible
Cold starts are when you turn your car on and immediately drive away, typically because you’re running behind schedule and want to get to your destination quickly. Ideally, you should turn your car on and wait about 30 seconds before you start driving, no matter the weather. In cold temperatures, engines collect condensation that can contaminate the oil and corrode the system. Giving your vehicle a few minutes to warm up before you hit the road can help condensation evaporate and avoid damage to the engine.
Fix Windshield & Window Chips
Windshield and window chips may seem minor, but they can quickly turn into cracks. It’s best to fix a chip promptly so you can avoid having to replace all of the glass down the road – a much more expensive repair.
Stay on Top of Repairs
If an indicator light comes on in your dashboard or you know your car needs a repair, it’s best to not neglect it to keep your vehicle in top-notch condition and avoid accidents that incur more damage.