Congratulations! You just bought your first car…Now what? Here are 10 basic tips to help your vehicle last longer and ensure a smooth and safe ride.
1. Engine oil: Change your engine oil and filter every 6 months or 7,500 miles (whichever comes first). Nothing can help an engine last longer than routine oil and filter changes, and nothing will damage your engine faster than neglecting to do so. Check oil levels monthly, fix any oil leaks immediately and never over fill.
2. Flushing the cooling system: Flush your cooling system once a year. To prevent corrosion and build-up inside your cooling system, mix a 50/50 solution of coolant and distilled water to keep it working efficiently.
3. Transmission and differential oils: Check your owner’s manual for the viscosity and type of oils to change transmission and differential oils. Follow the manual guideline for the recommended time necessary to do so.
4. Tire air pressure: Check your tires monthly for wear, cuts and air pressure, including the spare. The best time to do this is when the tires are cold.
5. Wheels: Follow the vehicle service and maintenance intervals and make sure your wheel bearings are clean, inspected and repacked.
6. Brake fluid: Replacing your brake fluid annually is a cheap way to avoid moisture damage and corrosion that will save you the high costs of replacing damaged components.
7. Battery checks: Check your battery and components for any loose attachments or corrosion. In hot climates, open the battery caps and check the battery fluid before hitting the road.
8. Radiator dirt: Make sure to clean the outside of your radiator from any build-up and dirt.
9. Air filter change: Hold up your air filter in the light. If you can see light passing through, it’s time for an air filter change.
10. Listen to your car: Every once in a while, turn off the car stereo and listen for any odd noises while you’re idling or driving your vehicle. If something doesn’t sound right, get it checked out at a reputable auto repair shop.
It’s always less expensive to do simple maintenance work on your vehicle rather than put them off until major and costly damages can occur as a result of negligence. Even if you’re more comfortable having a professional auto repair shop take care of your vehicle, you should still know the basics of what needs to be done.