The Basics of Car Maintenance

Jun 07, 2021 11:02 AM EDT | Ernest Hamilton

The Basics of Car Maintenance

(Photo : The Basics of Car Maintenance)

Owning a car is an important commitment in more ways than one-both financially and emotionally. It occupies your driveway, gets you from point A to point B, and is the backdrop for creating special memories with your friends and family. Unfortunately, this commitment can get expensive if you forget to stay on-top of the regular maintenance that he requires in order to run safely and smoothly. If you don't care for your vehicle correctly, it can become a bottomless pit of expenses. Knowing where to start when it comes to car maintenance can be overwhelming but it can really be broken down into a few essential components! 

Follow the Maintenance Schedule Suggested in Your Vehicle's Owner's Manual

What is the answer to most questions about your car? Consult the owner's manual.

Your car's owner's manual is an instructional booklet specific to your vehicle. It includes important information to make you a better driver and car owner, including maintenance and troubleshooting advice. Google can be helpful when it comes to answering basic car-related questions but the owner's manual is filled with service instructions that are specific to your car's make and model. 

Rather than excitedly driving off in your new vehicle, take some time to read your owner's manual and get acquainted first. Here, you'll find information on how to check your vehicle's oil and tire pressure, your car's special features, it's suggested maintenance schedule, and other important topics. Car owners can also search through the manual to find out what each dashboard warning light means.  

Check Your Car's Fluid Levels

Your car's fluids are like its blood-without them, your car will not function properly. Many car owners focus only on oil changes when there are several other fluids that your vehicle uses on a regular basis. These include antifreeze, brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid. 

When your owner's manual suggests it's time for an oil change, have the service technician top-up any of your car's fluids that are running low. 

Change Your Oil and Oil Filter on Schedule

If you neglect to change your car's oil and filter on time, your vehicle could overheat and jeopardize the safety of yourself and of others. Spending the majority of your Wednesday evening pulled over on the side of the highway, waiting for a tow truck is not ideal.

The oil and it's filter are responsible for absorbing the engine's heat, allowing your car to run smoothly. Depending on the car's make and model, experts suggest having the oil changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. 

Replace the Air Filter With Oil Changes

The air filter in your car needs to be replaced periodically as it's an integral part of your car. It's main job is to filter out any bugs, dust, dirt, and other debris that may be sucked up as your car drives. If your car's filter becomes clogged, this could result in overheating, power loss, and even engine failure.

If you find that your car is having difficulty accelerating or your engine light is on, there's a good chance you need to replace your air filter. 

Watch Out For Warning Light Indicators

Car owners should always listen to the warning lights on their vehicles dashboard. These lights could indicate that your car's tire pressure needs to be checked or if there is something wrong with the anti-lock brake system (ABS). 

They can also indicate that there may be something wrong with your car's engine, battery, or airbag. When a light flashes on, indicating a problem with one of your vehicle's essential functions, it's imperative to get it serviced as soon as possible. 

Always Listen and Feel for Brake Issues

There are several warning signs that your car's brakes need to be fixed or replaced:

●      If the dashboard brake warning light is on

●      If your vehicle is leaking fluid

●      If you feel wobbling or unusual vibration when you drive

●      If you notice a burning smell while driving

●      If the brake pedal feels soft and squishy

●      If your vehicle pulls to one side when you hit the brakes

A car's braking system can be easily repaired when the damage is caught early. Instead of putting the mandatory repairs on the back burner, promptly take your car to the mechanic for brake maintenance as it can save you from getting in a serious fender bender. 

This list shows that car repair and maintenance tasks don't always have to be done in the shop. For even more do it yourself car repairs, check out Car Digest's collection! After all, staying on top of car maintenance is crucial as you rely on your vehicle to get yourself and your loved ones around.

By having your car serviced regularly, you'll be able to relax knowing that it's in tip-top shape.  

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