Useful Tips to Keep Your Car in Top Shape for Years
Owning a car also comes with a responsibility to maintain it. Yeah, it can be painful and time-consuming, but it’s worth it. The investment you make today will keep your car in top shape down the road.
Here are some helpful car care tips to make the engine, brakes, tires, transmission, and other expensive parts of your car last longer.
Change the Oil at Regular Intervals:
This is one of the important car care tips to keep your engine running efficiently for years. By checking your oil levels once a month, you will know how much, if any, oil is being used by the vehicle, and help you determine the upcoming issues before they occur.
According to popular belief, the oil should be changed every 3,000 miles or three months, whichever comes first. However, this recommendation might not work in today’s scenario.
This is because today’s motor oils don’t wear out as quickly and, therefore, don’t lead to a sludge buildup.
Moreover, engines have become advanced and come with the ability to run longer than their previous versions. Therefore, you can think of changing your oil every 5,000 or 7,000 miles.
No matter what maintenance schedule you follow, make sure to keep certain factors in mind. For example, you need to change your oil more often if you drive in harsh weather and do a lot of driving for long miles. Also, keep in mind that the changing of the oil varies based on your car model and different requirements as well.
Therefore, make sure to seek your car manufacturer’s advice while deciding to change your oil and what type of oil to put in.
Change Your Brake Fluid at Regular Intervals:
Check your brake fluids more often, if required, change the fluids. Brake fluid is prone to moisture which is not good for your car. Moisture causes various issues, including rust and corrosion, which can cause brake failure.
These fluids should be replaced annually. If the brake fluid is dark black with pieces of rubber, it’s an obvious sign to replace the rubber brake lines and check the rotors.
At least once every two years, make sure to bleed the brakes to keep the calipers and other parts in working condition.
Replace Your Air Filter Every Year:
Driving with dirty air filters can lead to reduced fuel economy, reduced power, black smoke from the exhaust, misfiring engine, and a strong smell of fuel when starting the car.
While most filters are required to be changed yearly, some aftermarket filers can be kept cleaned instead of replaced. The air filter can be cleaned every 15,000 miles or so. However, you should follow the instructions given in your car’s manual. You are required to clean the air filter if you live in an area where there’s generally more dust and dirt on the road. The air filter should be changed every three years, as it can become clogged and won’t perform well.
Change Your Engine Coolant:
Engine coolant is a blend of water and antifreeze. It transfers heat and prevents engine damage caused by boiling or freezing.
However, coolant can deteriorate over time, causing corrosion that can damage the water pump, radiator, thermostat, radiator cap, hoses, and other parts of the cooling system. Even if the car has a sufficient coolant level and testing shows the cooling and antifreeze protection are still efficient, a coolant drain and antifreeze flush might be required.
Drain and flush your coolant system once a year. In many of today’s modern cars, the cooling system can last up to 10 years or 200,000 miles. Some vehicles are even filled for life.
Check and Replace Your Brake Pads:
If your brakes seem to be worn out, make sure to replace them immediately. Or they should be replaced every 50,000 miles if they work properly.
Clean Your Battery Terminals Once a Year:
The battery connections can get corroded or grimed over the years, hindering the flow of current throughout the car’s system. Cleaning your car’s battery terminals can increase the performance of the battery. If you are doing it yourself, loosen the bolt holding the negative (-) cable on the battery, then slide the cable off.
Then do the same with the positive (+) cable. Dip a steel scrubber in the mixture of baking soda and water and clean all the corrosion and grime of the battery posts and metal connection on the cables. Use a damp rag to wipe the battery posts. Connect the positive cable to the battery, followed by the connection of the negative cable.
Get Serious About the Protection of Your Car:
Protect your vehicle from extreme cold by having a room in your garage to park the car. Extreme heat can affect your interior plastic, seat, and exterior paint. Make sure to park your car in the shade or under some covering wherever possible. Otherwise, you can use a window deflector screen or apply a UV protectant to protect the inside of your car.
Use the Right Tire with Right Pressure:
Make sure to replace the tires when the tread wears down. Or you can ask your local tire dealer if you are not sure to spot wear indicators. Check your tires more often for pressure.
Wash Your Car Regularly:
Every day our vehicles take the beatings of sun, grease, dust, dirt, grime, smog, dead bugs, rain, and even worse, the acidic bird poop. These things harm car paint, and once that’s peeled off, they will undermine the metal in your car. While keeping your car untidy won’t lead to immediate damage, over time, the elements will corrode your vehicle, along with its re-sell value.
Therefore, make sure to wash your car. How often should you wash your vehicle? Well, it depends on the location and climate. If your neighborhood has a lot of pollution and sea salt in the air, wash your car two or three times a month. “Once-a-month-carwash” is fine if you live in an area with little pollution. During the winter, your vehicle requires more washing than you do during the summer due to the snow, mud, and salt.