Top 10 Car Maintenance Tips
There used to be a time when owning a vehicle used to be the exclusive privilege of the well-to-do. However, with time, a greater number of individuals and families started to own cars as they became more affordable.
Nowadays, most of the families have at least one vehicle, such as an SUV, LCV, sedan, or a passenger car.
The automobile for a good number of families and individuals tends to be an indispensable mode of transport. For others, the car provides a mode of transport needed for their job and livelihood. So a car these days is not a luxury anymore but a necessity.
And hence it follows that you should keep your vehicle in a good condition so that you can continue to drive it for the long-term. To keep your car or automobile in excellent condition, you should have a fair idea about car maintenance.
Making yourself familiar with the basics of car maintenance enables you to reap numerous benefits.
Getting acquainted with car maintenance fundamentals goes a long way in boosting your vehicle’s longevity as well as your safety.
Additionally, if you follow some crucial car maintenance tips, you’ll be able to improve your vehicle’s performance, save on repair costs, and keep its resale value intact.
We have compiled a checklist of car maintenance tips that you can take advantage of for keeping your car in perfect shape.
1. Go through the owner’s manual.
The majority of individuals are too eager to go for a drive right after they purchase a car from the dealership. Most of the vehicle owners are so preoccupied with driving their automobiles that they forget to read the owner’s manual.
The owner’s manual remains untouched and keeps gathering dust even after the vehicle becomes old.
To be precise, the owner’s manual is like a bible when it comes to car maintenance. The car owner’s manual contains heaps of information on how to drive and properly maintain your vehicle effectively.
To elaborate, the manual includes facts about the list of things you need to check before you start driving.
Additionally, the handbook instructs you on how to check tire pressure, car fluids, deciphering warning light indicators, and so on.
The manual updates you on almost every component in your vehicle and their respective functions. The instruction manual tells you how to clean and service your car and what exactly is covered in the warranty.
If you’ve bought a second-hand or used vehicle, the chances are that the automobile may not come with a manual. However, you can ask the OEM (original equipment manufacturer or the vehicle manufacturer) for a copy of the owner’s manual.
If you’re a vehicle owner who still hasn’t found the time to go through the instruction booklet, then don’t postpone the task anymore.
Please keep in mind that reading the owner’s manual from start to finish will come in handy for keeping your car in perfect shape.
2. Check your vehicle more often.
If you want to have complete peace of mind while driving and guaranteeing the vehicle’s longevity, then check it more often. And again, you may have to refer to the owner’s manual for ensuring everything is perfectly okay with your car.
It goes without saying that the instructions booklet, which comes with the vehicle, contains details about how to take good care of the automobile.
The owner’s manual also tells you how often to inspect the vehicle and how to check every part and component. You’d be better off carrying out the inspections yourself so that you become as efficient as a mechanic or technician.
Once you have thorough knowledge about the different vehicle components and how they work in unison, you won’t have to rush to a mechanic every time it needs simple maintenance.
3. Inspect the depth of tire treads.
The tires wrapped around the wheels are undoubtedly one of the most critical pieces of your vehicle as they get the automobile moving. Tires also support the weight of the car as well as the heft of the payload and keep the vehicle steady.
So, the cars should be outfitted with tires that can enable the vehicle to run on different terrains.
And when we talk about high-quality weatherproof tires, we mostly mean the depth of the tire treads. If you take a close look at the tires, you’ll see rows of furrows or patterns with large contact patches running around the tires.
The deeper the tread patterns and wider the contact patches on the tires, the better the ground contact will be.
At the same time, the higher the depth of the treads, the more effectively the tires will be able to drain water away when you’re driving in wet conditions.
4. Test tire pressure frequently.
Seasoned motorists, drivers, and car owners know that maintaining the appropriate tire pressure is exceptionally crucial for saving on fuel. The tire pressure also has a considerable impact on how efficiently and comfortably, you can drive the vehicle.
The owner’s manual mentions the optimum tire pressure you’ll need to maintain consistently for a comfortable driving experience.
Though the manufacturer of your car will recommend you check the tire’s air pressure daily, ensure to check it at least weekly.
If your vehicle is relatively newer, you’ll find a sticker pasted on the inside of the driver’s door, mentioning the recommended tire pressure. In any case, you’ll come across the specifications in the instruction booklet.
Your vehicle’s manufacturer will recommend you maintain air pressure varying from 32psi-35 psi when they’re idle or cold.
You’ll find smart tools and gadgets (that are compatible with your smartphone or other digital devices) for constant monitoring of tire pressure.
5. Ensure balancing and alignment of wheels regularly.
Two of the most important parts of car maintenance that you should always bear in mind are wheel balancing and alignment. Ensuring that the vehicle’s wheels are perfectly balanced and aligned could go a long way in helping you save on fuel.
On the other hand, properly aligned and balanced wheels ensure that you’re able to drive safely and minimize the chances of mishaps.
The owner’s handbook mentions how often you should rotate, balance, and align the wheels. Generally speaking, you must turn and align the wheels after every 4,500-5,000 miles, but you’d be better off following the specs mentioned in the booklet.
6. Change spark plugs after every 30,000-35,000 miles.
The spark plug is an essential part in your car that is indispensable for stimulating and igniting the air-fuel mixture. Spark plugs provide the spark necessary for setting fire to the mix of fuel and air, enabling the engine to generate power.
You’ll realize that you may have to replace the OEM spark plug when the engine does not start after turning the ignition.
Other clear indicators of a faulty spark plug might include recurrent misfiring, abnormally high gasoline consumption, and inability to accelerate.
If your vehicle comes with a copper OEM spark plug, then you should change it after every 30,000 miles. Alternatively, you’ll have to go in for a replacement after every 100,000 miles if the vehicle is outfitted with an iridium spark plug.
If you don’t feel very confident about replacing the spark plug yourself, you can always hire an automobile mechanic.
7. Check out your car engine’s oil levels.
The engine oil keeps all the mechanical components of the vehicle well-lubricated and minimizes friction, thereby enabling smooth engine functioning.
If the moving or mechanical parts of the automobile rub against each other, it’ll cause unwarranted friction which will eventually damage the engine.
So, you’ll have to check the level of the engine oil time and again to ensure that the mechanical parts stall correctly lubricated.
You’ll have to find the oil dipstick, draw it out, and wipe it thoroughly with a dry and clean rag. After that, you’ll have to plunge the dipstick fully inside the oil chamber and take it out to check the oil level.
Look for two indentations our grooves close to the dipstick tip marked ‘H’ and ‘L.’ If the oil level is between these two markings, then there’s nothing to worry about. But if the level is beneath ‘L,’ then you’ll have to replace the oil with a new one.
Additionally, if the oil colour is black or very dark, then it is an indication that the lubricant contains contaminants and additives. Your owner’s manual mentions the engine oil type that best suits your car and how often should you change the oil.
8. Look at the drive belts.
Drive belts transfer a substantial proportion of the power generated by the engine from the crankshaft to different mechanical components like steering, alternator, and so on.
Modern-day cars, by and large, come equipped with a belt made out of rubber or other polymerase materials. The rubber belt withstands a lot of wear and tear for many years but ultimately degrades and starts to malfunction.
It would help if you periodically inspected the drive belt and also checked the belt for brittle fractures or cracks. At the same time, you’ll have to check out the timing belt for any modifications in its integrity or cracks.
9. Check the battery terminals regularly.
It’s quite amazing to note that a good number of vehicle owners are not aware of the vehicle’s components or how they function.
No, you do not have to be an automobile engineer or a mechanic to gather knowledge about your car’s components. For instance, there’s a lot to know about a car’s battery and its terminals.
You’ll find the battery on top of the engine. You should occasionally inspect the terminals of the cell and look out for symptoms of mineral accumulation or oxidation.
Use a battery terminal cleaning brush for wiping off the build-up and be sure to obtain a jump starter for reviving a dead battery.
It also makes sense to have a battery tester as you never know when the battery will malfunction or die. At the same time, it is better to have an extra battery tucked away in the boot of your vehicle just in case.
10. Follow the manufacturer’s octane rating recommendation.
Contrary to what most motorists think, you do not have to use octane fuel with a high rating or number unless you own a sports car.
High-octane fuel is essential for thwarting detonation or ‘knocking’ in sports or race cars that have top compression engines. As far as your vehicle is concerned, follow the instructions outlined in the owner’s manual for the fuel type you should use.
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