Car Maintenance Basics and Why It Matters

 
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Whether you have a brand-new car or a used car, it’s important to get to know your car. For those with new cars, you want to make it last as long as you can to one day get a good amount of money for it. For those who prefer to buy used cars, it’s extremely important to understand your car because you don’t know what it’s been through, and repairs on used cars can get expensive. To maintain the value of the car and to be prepared for expensive situations, you should be:

  • Inspecting your car on a regular basis
  • Learning the different warning lights
  • Taking care of the wheels and tires
  • Giving the engine extra care
  • Paying attention to the fuel
  • Maintaining the exterior

Read the Owner’s Manual

Not many car owners can say they’ve read the owner’s manual. It’s usually a book you wind up sticking in your glove compartment without a thought. In reality, there is a lot of information in the owner’s manual that helps you optimize the performance and functioning of your vehicle. It can tell you:

  • Things that need to be checked
  • How they should be checked
  • What signs or symptoms mean
  • When you need to perform checks

Many cars even give you a maintenance checklist in the manual for things like when it needs to be done based on your mileage. You can learn a lot about your car from reading just a few pages.

Inspect Your Vehicle Regularly

Inspect your vehicle regularly by following the checklist in your owner’s manual. Most of the time, you don’t need to be an expert or mechanic to simply inspect your car. All you need to do is assess different parts and components of your vehicle, so you know what to do next.

Sometimes the required action to adjust or fix something can be done by you. If you are unsure about something that could be wrong, make note of what you would like your trusted mechanic to check and bring it to them. That way, even if it turns out to be nothing, you’ll know for sure.

Why Inspecting Regularly Matters

Sometimes the problems that arise the longer we have the car do not vocalize themselves. Problems can be silent, and once they start making noise it winds up being more expensive than it should be. Inspecting your vehicle can help you notice if the tire is a little flat, if it is time to schedule a brake pad change, if something is hanging from underneath your car that shouldn’t be. Expensive problems may be avoided by just looking.

Learn the Different Light Indicators

Modern cars have different lights for almost every problem that comes up. As part of basic car maintenance, you need to learn the meaning of the different lights that pop up, so you can be prepared when it does. You could get an engine warning light, brake light, oil light, and more.

Why Learning the Lights Matters

If you don’t know what different lights mean, you could put yourself and your car in danger. While some lights might mean it’s time to take it to the shop, some lights could be a warning of a problem that needs to be fixed immediately, and if you don’t, you could cause major, expensive issues to happen.

For example, a coolant warning light means your engine is overheating. You have to pull over, open your hood, and let it cool down before you can keep going. This is a problem that if you ignore, you can damage the engine and break down.

Check the Wheels and Tires

Things like tire pressure and tread depth should be checked regularly. While many new cars come with a sensor for the tire pressure displayed on the dashboard, you still want to check once in a while for accuracy.

Have your mechanic also rotate your tires every 5,000-10,000 miles and check your alignment. You can even have the brake dust cleaned off your wheels.

Why Checking the Wheels and Tires Matters

These things can affect your fuel economy, handling comfort, and your safety in different weather conditions. In the end, your tires help your car move and if they aren’t working properly, they could cost you more money in gas or even from an accident happening because of a malfunction.

Pay Attention to the Engine

The indicator lights go hand-in-hand with maintaining your engine. Most of the time, these problems can be silent until the indicator light goes off. If you think your car is making a strange sound, don’t hesitate to have someone you trust check it out for you.

Don’t slack on oil changes, either. Your car runs on oil and the engine’s functioning relies on the oil levels and health in your car. Other important factors like the coolant and air filter should be changed and maintained regularly.

Why Checking Your Engine Matters

Some of the most expensive repairs come from the engine. By slacking on oil, coolant, air filters, and overall attention to strange things happening, you are causing more problems to your car which can lead to more money out of your pocket than a potential $30-$50 for an oil change (and sometimes free for those with a warranty). Your engine runs your car, and without the engine it has no use.

Watch Your Fuel and Gas

By reading the manual, you will understand the level of octane your car will need. If you put in the wrong level, you could damage your car. Not only that but pay attention to your fuel economy level. If there is a big change, that could mean an underlying problem inside the engine.

Why You Should Watch Your Fuel and Gas

Messing with your car can lead to expensive problems in the engine, once again. It all comes down to not only the life of the car, but how much more money you’ll need to put into the car to fix any damage or repairs.

Maintain the Exterior

Nobody wants their car to look bad. If you ever plan on selling your car, the exterior will be just as important as the function of the car. Make paint last as long as you can, change the lightbulbs when necessary, replace windshield wipers, and clean your car. All these things can help you keep your car maintained as well as make you feel better about driving it.

Why Maintaining Its Looks Matters

Overall, taking pride in what you own should be important to you. Not only will it help the function of your car, but it may help how you feel while driving it. Think about driving a car that’s always clean, in order, and looking sharp. It makes you feel good, regardless of how old the car might be.

Maintaining your car will help you save money and help it function properly for a longer amount of time. Buying a brand-new car or even a used car can be expensive if you have to do so every few years because it breaks down. Keep the value of your car by maintaining it internally and externally.

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