You know that you should take care of your car. But life can get so busy and it’s easy to say, “I’ll get to that next week” every week. However, good car maintenance will lead to increased vehicle longevity, a safer driving experience for you and your passengers and a higher resale value. A well-maintained car is also less likely to need expensive repairs or to suffer a roadside breakdown. So, what should you do to make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape?
Soft tyres are less stable, have less traction and they can cause lower gas mileage. Tyre pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) and your car’s optimal tyre pressure is usually found on a sticker inside the door or in the owner’s manual. You can check your pressure and inflate your tyres using a tire pressure gauge at most gas stations. Don’t wait until the tyres look soft to check the pressure; instead check tyre pressure every month and inflate as needed.
Your car has four tyres, right? Wrong! You also have a spare tyre and it’s easy to forget it since it’s often out of sight. Visually inspect your spare tyre and check the pressure regularly. Set a schedule to check the spare so you don’t forget; for example, you can check the spare during every oil change. Tyres also expire so if you have an older vehicle, check the manufacture date. If the tyre is older than ten years, you probably need a new one.
Consult the owner’s manual for instructions on how to check your oil and get information on the type of oil that’s best for your vehicle. You should conduct this check monthly – check your oil levels and also check the oil colour; oil should be brown or black, if your oil has a light or milky appearance, you should take your vehicle to a professional mechanic.
If your windshield wipers are squeaking, failing to wipe water from your windshield, leaving a film when wiping or if the rubber blades are dried out then you need to replace them. New wipers are affordable and available from most autobody shops, hardware stores and mechanics; you can show a shop attendant your old wipers or tell them the make and model of your car to get the wipers best for you.
Regular driving keeps your battery charged. If you haven’t been driving as much as you used to or if you won’t be using your vehicle for a while, then get into the habit of starting your car twice a week and leaving your engine running for twenty to thirty minutes. The last thing you want is for your battery to fail when you need to go somewhere!
Most manufacturers will give you a time limit (e.g., every six months) or a mileage limit (e.g., every 10,000 miles) when you need to get your car serviced. You should book an appointment for whichever happens first. During a service, a mechanic will check on many aspects of your vehicle that you may not know how to check yourself, such as the appropriate level of car fluids, mechanical and electrical systems, steering, suspension and brakes.
You don’t just need to physically care for your car. You should also make sure that your car insurance suits your current needs. For example, maybe you’ve added new drivers to your vehicle or maybe you want to insure your car against special perils. It’s easy to renew your existing insurance year after year, but you should review your policy annually and make sure that your insurance plan is best for you.
Taking care of your car is really an investment in the future of the vehicle and in your own safety. Don’t ignore small issues because they can eventually balloon into quick and expensive problems!