When sitting behind the wheel of your car, you expect it to get you to your desired destination without issue. However, realize that it's a give-and-take situation. Your car will get you wherever you need to go as long as it has been well maintained! If you don't take care of your car, it will not take care of you.
Properly maintaining and servicing your car will provide optimum performance, good gas mileage, and increase its overall value. Ever hear of a well-oiled machine? Your car should be just that. There are many things you can check on a regular basis to prevent wear and tear, and also prevent you from having to pay out of pocket for expensive parts and labor.
1. Motor Oil
The oil that is put into the engine is what keeps everything running smoothly. Your car won't run without the right amount of oil, and low oil can potentially blow the engine. Checking your own oil level is quick and easy. Keep in mind, when the engine is hot, you won't get an accurate reading. Wait until the engine has cooled down before you locate the dipstick. Then, pull it out to check the oil level. Most dipsticks will have markers indicating how much oil is needed to maintain the proper oil level. Check your oil monthly, and change your oil every 3,000-6,000 miles.
2. Air Filter
The air filter traps harmful debris, dirt, and contaminants. This debris can damage internal engine parts such as the cylinders and pistons. Preventing this will lead to a long engine life and steer you clear from costly engine repairs. Gas is already expensive enough, and a clogged air filter can cause up to a 10% increase in fuel consumption. Check your air filter once a month to ensure it is not clogged. Some mechanics will check it for free during your routine oil change.
3. Windshield Wiper Blades
Windshield wiper blades are often a forgotten part of your car’s routine maintenance. They are very important and should not be skipped over. Having worn-out wiper blades can be very dangerous to you as well as others on the road around you. You should check your wiper blades on a monthly basis. During heavy rainstorms and snow, you will be glad that you did and that they’re working to their fullest potential!
4. Tire Tread
At a quick glance, your tires may look like new. But, do they have the proper amount of tread? Tire tread is what grips the car to the road. With low tread on your tires, you will be at a higher risk of hydroplaning in wet road conditions. You will also be more prone to having a tire blow. Obviously, this can lead to accidents. Keep an eye on your tire tread every month, especially if you drive long distances.
5. Transmission Fluid
Checking your transmission fluid monthly will help you diagnose smaller problems such as leaks, low fluid levels, and knowing when your fluid is getting old. This simple check can save your hard-earned money and prevent a trip to a pricey repair shop. Dirty or low fluids can cause problems with shifting, and even transmission failure.
If that happens while driving it can be very dangerous. Unlike checking the oil, you should check the transmission fluid while the engine is hot to ensure an accurate reading. If you check the level while the engine is cold, it may give you a low reading even though it is full. This may cause you to overfill your transmission fluid which can cause your seals to burst. Overfilling your transmission fluid can also cause your transmission to slip and act unstable.
There are many different lights on your car. Headlights help you to see where you're headed and also allow oncoming traffic to be aware of your presence on the road. Tail lights, brake lights, and reverse lights are there to let people behind you know when you are backing up or slowing down. Without brake lights, a fender bender becomes highly likely. Motorists usually pay attention to brake lights instead of the flow of traffic.
Turn signals are another way for other cars and pedestrians to know where you are going – for example, whether you’re turning or changing lanes. All of these are important safety issues and should be checked regularly to ensure safety while driving. You can also be pulled over and issued a ticket for a light that isn’t working. So, always check to make sure they are all in tip top shape.
Regularly checking these 6 items will keep your car running like new. It will also ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.
Happy trails to you.