Looking for the best car maintenance tips that’ll help you avoid major repairs by keeping your car in top shape?
I know, I know.
You don’t have a single mechanic’s bone in your body.
You have no clue how a car works, let alone how to care for and maintain it.
Don’t worry, though.
In this blog, I won’t be dealing with the technicalities of car maintenance.
Instead, I’ll show you how a regular person like you and me can keep a vehicle in excellent condition, avoiding safety issues and prolonging its lifespan.
Let’s dive right in.
Car Maintenance Tips: Why Are They Important, Anyway?
Although cars are inanimate, they’re a lot like human beings.
Give them attention, care, and healthy practices, and they’ll flourish and live longer.
Ignore them and keep them sweltering under the sun and soaked by the rain, and they’ll die early and maybe even cause you harm in the process.
Here are three reasons why maintaining your car is a must.
1. Maintaining Your Car Can Save Your Life
This might seem like a stretch, but it’s not.
Driving a car that’s uncared for is dangerous, and can even cost you your life.
For instance, if you don’t replace worn brakes, you won’t be able to stop when you need to. (Surprising fact: 22% of accidents are caused by faulty brakes.)
Or, if your tires are bad, they can explode as you run down the freeway, causing an accident.
2. Maintaining Your Car Can Make It Live Forever (Almost)
Notice how, in the real world, some 30-year-olds look 60, and some 60-year-olds look 30?
The same is true with cars.
Your car can have 300,000 or 500,000 miles recorded on its odometer, but still have more life in it than a car with 50,000 miles recorded.
Maintenance is the secret to a car that lasts (almost) forever.
3. Maintaining Your Car Keeps Your Bank Account from Dwindling
At the outset, this won’t make sense.
I mean, maintaining your car will cost you money, so how will that keep your bank account nice and fat?
The answer: extensive car repair is extravagantly expensive compared to maintenance.
A new set of spark plugs can cost you anywhere from $10 to $30, while engine replacement can cost you up to $7,000.
Car Maintenance Tips: 14 Easy Practices to Keep Your Car Healthy
Now that you’re convinced maintaining your car will save you money (and probably also your life), let’s get down to the details.
Here are the 14 best car maintenance tips out there:
1. Change Your Car’s Oil
Depending on your car and your driving habits, you’ll need to change your oil every few thousand miles.
If you don’t often go on long drives (less than 10 miles per trip), the best practice is to change your oil every 1,000 miles.
However, if you often take the freeway and drive at a good cruising speed for a longer interval, you can wait until your odometer reads 3,000 miles before changing oil.
Remember, your car’s age also determines how often you change oil. A newer car can hold off on the changes, while an older car will need them more often.
If you’re the kind of driver who prefers to take the subway and leave your car chilling in the garage, you’ll need to change oil every six months.
2. Give Your Tires Some TLC
What’s worse than having to pull over at the side of the road because of a flat tire?
That’s why you need to take time each month to lavish some care on your tires.
Make sure to check their tread marks to see how they’re doing. Check the air pressure level on each one of them. Rotate them, as front and rear tires don’t wear out at the same speed.
Another handy tip is to make sure your spare tire is ready to roll at all times. It can be awful to discover that it too is flat, and you have no option left but to call a tow service (which is much more expensive than just taking a few minutes to pump up your spare tire).
3. Look Into Your Brakes
Your brakes are your lifesavers (safety as well as money-wise, as you wouldn’t want to crash into the rear-end of that cherry red Ferrari).
But what kind of maintenance do they need?
Here are three of the most important ones:
- Replacing your brake pads
- Replacing your brake fluid
- Removing air from your brake lines (best done by a technician)
If you notice any of these signs…
- A squeaky sound every time you hit the brakes
- A burning smell that comes after braking
- A brake pedal that takes too long to return to its original position after you’ve stepped on it
- Brakes that take too long to stop your car
…schedule a tune-up session with your technician ASAP.
4. Keep Your Batteries Bright and Shiny
“Cleaning your car only means wiping off its body with a damp cloth.”
Said no savvy car owner in the history of car ownership.
Because the truth is, it’s more than that.
You also need to clean under the hood, which includes your batteries and their terminals.
Neglecting to do so can cause your batteries to corrode much more quickly (and then you’ll have to replace them, which can cost around $100).
5. Don’t Keep Your Air Filters Forever
Air filters are essential, as they keep pollutants from entering your car’s vents.
This is why you should get them changed every year.
Not doing so can cause your air conditioning system to break down (this will cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000).
6. Give Your Windshield Some Love
Like too many car owners, you probably take your windshield for granted.
It’s just there.
If yes, it’s time to stop right now.
Your car’s windshield needs the same loving care as the rest of your car. Without care, your windshield won’t last long and you’ll end up spending up to $500 to replace it.
The good news is, maintaining your windshield is cheap and simple.
Here are three things that’ll keep it going strong for many years:
- Change your windshield wipers at the change of each season (this will only cost you around $30 to $50).
- Don’t slam the doors of your car. This causes unnecessary vibration that weakens your windshield.
- Don’t expose your car to excessive sunlight. This can wear down your windshield quicker than you think.
7. Give Your Suspension System Regular Check-Ups
I know what you’re thinking.
What the heck is a suspension system, anyway?
Don’t worry, it’s not all that techy.
A suspension system simply means the parts of your car that give you a smooth, easy ride.
These include your car’s:
It’s a great idea to have these parts checked every 30,000 miles.
Also, when you replace one shock, spring, or strut, you’ll be better off replacing all four.
8. Avoid Neglecting Your Coolant
If you come away with just one thing from this blog, let it be this:
Never forget to check your coolant.
Your car’s coolant is a basic component that keeps your car in good condition.
Without it, you can wreck your whole engine in no time.
How often you should change your coolant: every 30,000 miles or at the beginning of every season, just before the weather changes.
9. Check Your Spark Plugs
Like I mentioned earlier, $30 spark plugs can save you a $7,000 engine repair.
But how often should you change your spark plugs?
Expert advice: every 30,000 miles.
10. Take Care of Your Belts and Hoses
Neglect your belts and hoses, and your car’s essential components can suffer severe damage.
As a good rule of thumb, replace your timing belt every 60,000 miles, and your serpentine belt every 40,000 miles.
Replace your hoses when they show signs of wear and tear, or every four years.
11. Check and Maintain Your Lights
Worn-out light bulbs can quickly flare and die on you. When that happens, you’ll be exposed to safety hazards (and you can even get a ticket).
To avoid this, learn how to spotlight bulbs that could use replacements. (Dimmed headlights could be a sign of this.)
Also, keep the glass around your lights clean and get them checked if you notice fogging.
12. Stick to Best Practices When Driving
You might not know it, but driving practices directly impact your car’s life and health.
For example, if you take your car out on short (less than 15-minute) drives, your batteries won’t live their expected lifespan of five years.
To care for your car while driving:
- Drive it on the freeway for at least 30 minutes
- Minimize the use of your electrical systems (lights, radio, air conditioner) when on short drives
- Don’t rev over 3,000 rpm
13. Keep Your Car Clean
I know, it’s easy to shrug off the way your car looks.
After all, running a damp cloth over it when you need to is easy.
Sadly, it’s not that simple.
When you leave dirt, salt, bird feces, and fallen leaves and flowers on your car’s body, your paint will quickly be ruined.
But that’s not all.
Once your protective paint is damaged, your car’s body will be at serious risk.
14. Have Your Emissions Inspected
Depending on where you live, passing an emissions test may be a must for you as a car owner.
If you follow the tips above, there’s nothing to worry about, as your car will likely ace the test.
Car Maintenance Tips: They’re Really Super Simple!
As a regular person who shudders at the mention of any “techy” mechanical word, the phrase “car maintenance tips” probably makes you feel the need to run for the hills.
But don’t worry.
Maintaining your car doesn’t have to mean sliding underneath it with a pack of super tools.
Most of the time, it’ll only mean taking your car to a technician to change your spark plugs or windshield wipers at the right time.
Or knowing when your headlights are getting dim, and you need new bulbs for them.
And when you pay attention to these car maintenance tips, you’ll save money, time, stress, and maybe even your life.
Photo from Pexels.