October 3, 2023

Caring for Your Car

Preventative maintenance is a good idea. If you own a car, you will have to deal with certain unavoidable situations, such as car maintenance. Some problems are less apparent than others, and some issues can be solved with regular check-ups from the shop instead of costly and time-consuming problems later on.

There are a lot of shops that do routine car maintenance, but there are also some establishments where you can get the best service.

This guide will cover how to achieve the best vehicle care and maintain its quality while improving its performance. I’ll cover some essential maintenance, including common known problems and why they occur.

Regular Oil Checks

Whether you like it or not, your car needs a certain amount of oil to run smoothly and safely. Like the one in your vehicle, oils lubricate and protect certain engine parts. It keeps any friction or heat from building up and damaging components.

On average, the oil level in a vehicle should be between 1/4 and 1/3 of the way complete. An oil change can be done at any auto shop and usually costs anywhere from $75 – $150, depending on what they recommend doing while they’re at it.

Change the Air Filter

It would help if you only replaced it when the air filter is barely dirty. If it is already contaminated, make sure to change it as soon as possible. Otherwise, a clogged or damaged air filter can lead to engine problems and malfunctions.

To avoid engine issues, you should check your air filter regularly before driving your car with the air cleaner.

You should change the air filter every two weeks if you’re a smoker because cigarette smoke is a known carcinogen (and other substances).

Second, make sure to replace the air filter if you see any signs of damage or if it has been more than six months since your last chance. Also, if you’re currently facing a technical or mechanical problem with your air filter, it’s advised to replace it immediately.

Additionally, be sure to change the air filter once a year as part of your vehicle’s routine car maintenance schedule.

Rotating Your Tires

Your tire’s torque and wear rate will strongly depend on the various driving conditions. For example, your car’s braking distance will double if you use worn tires under wet conditions.

So how often do you need to rotate your tires? Several factors play a part in this, including driving style, climate, and road conditions. Generally speaking, experts suggest that you rotate them at least once every 6-8000 miles or every two years.

Checking Car Fluids

These are the liquids that lubricate, cool, and clean your engine:

  • Engine oil
  • Transmission fluid (if applicable)
  • Brake fluid
  • Coolant
  • Power steering fluid (if applicable)
  • Windshield washer fluid

These fluids help maintain the proper engine and transmission function and ensure caring for your car is achieved. They also have to be replaced according to factory service intervals.

Cars are factory-filled with fluids, and it would be beneficial to replace these with the same brand whenever they’re due. It is due to the chemical properties of each brand, and mixing old fluids with new ones can cause adverse effects.

It’s usually essential that whatever fluid you choose it’s branded by a reputable company. It’s also quite crucial that you never overfill any of your liquids. If you have a leak or overfill, it would be detrimental to your engine. Overfilling can also cause damage to your car’s transmission, bearings, and other parts of the machine.

Overfilling can also cause rusting due to its corrosive properties. Rust embeds within the device, and there’s no way to remove it once it has taken place. It will cost you a lot of money in repairs if you don’t catch it quickly.

Regular Testing of the Car battery

One common mistake people make is not testing the battery regularly and taking their car in for a battery replacement when they could have prevented it with a simple test. If you don’t know how to test the battery, don’t worry because this article will tell you exactly what to do.

You first need to remove the negative cable from the battery (this is on the engine block). Next, draw the positive line as well.

After removing these cables, grab a car battery tester and insert it into the female end of both of these terminals. If any light comes on, you’re in luck because it shows that there is power in the battery.

Now you need to test the specific gravity of the electrolyte. You take a hydrometer (that usually comes with your tester) and put it into the battery fluid. If your vehicle passes both of these tests, you are good to go and don’t have to get a new battery anytime soon.

In addition, keep the battery terminals clean. Most batteries have removable caps that allow access to the posts which carry the electrical current to start your vehicle. Use an old toothbrush, baking soda, and water (1 teaspoon per cup) to remove corrosion from the terminals and posts. Avoid getting any of the solutions inside the battery.

Make sure that the cables are tight and clean. Corroded or loose cables will not conduct electricity as they should, which can mean trouble if you need your engine to start.

Temperature also affects your battery. Colder temperatures increase the likelihood that your battery will not start if you need it to, and hot temperatures may shorten the life of the device or cause corrosion to build up.

One of the best things you can do is a battery check if you have any problems. There’s probably a problem if you hear charging sounds from the engine, but your battery won’t start.

Try popping the hood and turning the key to see if there is any movement. If not, then your battery could be dying or dead altogether.

If your battery is completely dead, you may be able to jump-start it. Try hooking up the jumper cables to both of the battery’s posts and start your engine. It should get your vehicle running. Also, always make sure that you pull off and cut off the jumper cables, or else they could damage other components of your car.

Are all your lights working? If your headlights aren’t bright and clear, it could be a sign of trouble with the battery. Check to see if the alternator is working correctly. Check to see if the alternator belt is turning.

Look down at it while you are up under the hood of your car. If it is not moving or has broken off, replace it immediately.

It’s easy to forget that these small things can drain your battery even when you only use your radio or GPS. If you park for longer than a few days, disconnect the cables to these and any other accessories.

Pay Attention to Your Car

Your car is equipped with several warning lights to notify you of any problems on your drive or in your driving. These warning lights help you take action before a problem becomes severe. By understanding the meaning of each light, you’ll be able to take care of minor problems before they become big ones.

There are five lights on your car’s dashboard to help you take care of minor issues that may arise while you’re driving. The first warning light is next to the gas/fuel gauge.

It warns you when your fuel is getting low, so it’s essential for you to keep track of the amount of time you plan on driving before refueling.

The next indicator is in front of the brake light. When this light illuminates, your breaks may be working improperly. This indicator lights up when you’re braking too hard or in the wrong position, which increases the risk of a car accident.

Always maintain a slow speed while braking to avoid putting yourself or the other drivers on the highway at risk for an accident.

Next up is the check engine light. This indicator helps you determine if there’s an issue with your engine. The check engine light notifies you to turn off your car and contact your mechanic. If you notice that this light flickers on, it is a good idea for you to contact your mechanic right away.

You can locate the vehicle warning lights on the dashboard near the windshield, and they are generally yellow or amber. The amber warning light warns you that your car has a problem driving off.

You need to keep the key in your ignition and turn it to “on” before driving off with your vehicle. The yellow warning light indicates a potential issue with your engine, so you need to contact your insurance provider.

The parking brake indicator is within the green section of the dashboard, and it warns you that your vehicle’s brakes may not be functioning correctly.

It’s a good idea to make sure that your brakes work before driving off in your car. This warning light might also help when holding on to something or the steering wheel during a skid.

Gentle Driving

Gentle driving is also one of the most underrated factors that determine the longevity of your vehicle. Here are some tips you can use to ensure that you drive gently.

  • Follow posted speed limits, even if you think it is slow or inconvenient. Speed limits are set for safety reasons, not for convenience. Going 5 miles per hour over the posted speed limit can make a big difference in your car’s performance and lifespan.
  • Don’t slam on your brakes. A gentle driving style means slowing down gradually, not slamming on the brakes when you encounter a sudden stop. Slamming on the brakes can jar your vehicle, causing unnecessary wear and tear.
  • Reduce speed for long downhill stretches, where you will likely encounter slow-moving traffic. It can help improve fuel efficiency and cut wear and tear.

Other measures you can take to maintain your vehicle include:

  • Do not forget to change your brake pads when they are low on wear or you see rubbing on the brake rotors.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated and have them inspected at least once a year by an independent mechanic.
  • Find out if there are any added services you should be using or monitoring on your cars, such as recalls, service schedules, or recommendations for replacement parts from the car manual.

I don’t know about you, but I take extraordinary measures for vehicle care. No matter how old it is, I always make sure that I do a checklist of things that need to be taken care of and ensure everything is in working order.