For those of us who are on any kind of budget, it’s important that our cars last as long as possible. Maintaining a vehicle is a point of pride for a lot of people. With a little knowledge and effort, it’s something that’s actually pretty easy for all of us to achieve. We’re going to give you a few key automotive tips to help you keep your vehicle on the road for a long time. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll realize that car longevity isn’t so much a matter of luck as it is one of maintenance.
Start with these 10 tips.
10 Automotive Tips to Keep Your Car in Great Shape
You won’t perform all of the repairs needed to keep your car in shape on your own, of course, but it’s nice to do things yourself sometimes. One of the first things you should do is find a car repair manual and keep it handy. This will be your reference guide if you get stuck along the way.
That being said, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.
1. Actually Read the Owner’s Manual
Most of us don’t take the time to read the owner’s manual until we absolutely have to. We typically pull it out when a light pops up or we hear a strange sound, but it’s rare that people actually read the manual in advance.
Don’t be this person! Go through the manual and make a note of any points that have to do with maintenance times, oil changes, and more. This will keep you informed as to how often you should bring your car in and for what.
2. Check Your Oil Regularly
The suggested mileage intervals to go in for an oil change aren’t always accurate. Some are higher, some are lower.
That said, our vehicles always experience a loss of oil in one way or another. It’s important to check your oil periodically even if you don’t have to go in for a change anytime soon. Make a habit of checking the oil each time you get gas, or maybe on the same day every month.
This will safeguard you from uncommon problems that could occur and leave your vehicle totaled.
3. Mind the Timing Belt
Timing belt replacements don’t have to happen too often, but it’s important that you know when you’re due for a change. Most vehicles have rubber timing belts that connect your camshaft to the crankshaft and works closely with the synchronization of your valves.
These items are all put in jeopardy if your timing belt is old or broken. If your timing belt breaks while you’re on the road, your entire engine is probably done-for. Your recommended timing belt changes can be found in the owner’s manual.
Plan ahead to repair the timing belt because the fix isn’t always cheap. That said, it’s much better to pay a little bit than wind up with a car without an engine.
4. Change Your Coolant
Coolant is a fluid that often gets overlooked. Typically, vehicles should have their coolant flushed and changed around once a year.
Changing coolant frequently helps to prevent mineral deposits from building up and corroding your engine. Additionally, coolant serves a number of important jobs that are negatively affected by dirty or old fluids.
5. Get Car Washes!
Car washes aren’t just there to make your car look sparkly and new. They definitely do that, which is nice, but they actually serve a purpose that’s fundamental to the longevity of your vehicle.
If you live in areas with a lot of snow, that means plows lay salt down as they’re de-icing and removing snow. That salt kicks back up into your wheel wells and onto the bottom of your car.
Salt is a huge contributor to rust, which can wreak havoc on your vehicle in the long run. Car washes are a great way to take care of these issues before they take root.
Try to get a car wash every month or so, or any time you’ve exposed your vehicle to the elements in a serious way.
6. Keep Out of the Sun
Parking your car in the blistering heat can lead to cracks in your interior. While interior appearance isn’t really connected to how well your car runs, it’s definitely something that most people prefer to keep intact.
Try to park your car in the shade as much as possible to avoid damages to the inside of your vehicle. This is particularly true if you have a leather interior.
That said, parking in the sun a few times won’t make that much of a difference. Just try to stay in the shade whenever you can.
7. Monitor Transmission Fluid
Your owner’s manuals suggest a time-frame for transmission fluid replacements. This fluid is essential to the primary functions of your car, and dirty or low fluid can cause significant problems.
If you’re a person who often gets stuck in rush hour traffic or you drive in the city a lot, you may need to change your fluid more often.
8. Tire Rotations
Leaving your tires in the same locations can cause them to have problems. Rotations are necessary to ensure the longevity of your tires.
Try to get a rotation whenever you go into the mechanic or every time you get your oil changed. At the very least, just try to get your car in once a year and have the tires rotated.
9. Be Aware of Driving Habits
It’s a fact that those who drive “harder” are going to wear their vehicle down a lot faster.
If your vehicle’s long-term health is important to you, be nice to the car. Don’t slam on the breaks, don’t accelerate too quickly, don’t turn too hard, and take the highway miles over the city miles.
10. Don’t be a Stranger to the Mechanic
Bring your car in to get checked! There’s no shame in swinging by a mechanic for a diagnostic and examination.
Getting regular check-ups will keep you in the loop as to what is starting to wear down and what is ready to be fixed. This practice will save you lots and lots of money in repairs over the course of your life.
Need More Tips?
Hopefully, these smart automotive tips will help you keep your car on the road for as long as possible.
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