Scheduled oil changes are not all your vehicle needs in order to be in tip top shape. A vehicle has a lot of moving parts that require regular inspections, to ensure that everything is functioning properly. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual should provide a list of routine maintenance your vehicle will need, and how often it will need it. If you have misplaced your manual, here are some basic things you should keep up with:
Check Your Fluids
It is important to keep track of the fluid levels in your vehicle. Power steering fluid, antifreeze, coolant, and even wiper fluid are important to the health of your vehicle—and ultimately your safety. In the case of wiper fluid, you will know it’s out when it doesn’t come out of the spout when you turn it on. But power steering liquid and other fluids are under the hood of your vehicle. Don’t let this discourage you, get under there and check it out. If you run out of power steering fluid, you will find yourself unable to turn your wheel, which will put everyone on the road around you at risk. So, top your fluids off, or get them changed.
Check Your Battery
Your vehicle’s battery should not have any buildup on it, nor should it be leaking. Dirt and buildup on the battery can cause an interference with the terminal connections. This will cause your car to not start properly. There are special battery cleaning brushes that you can purchase from your local auto store, to clean your battery.
Check Your Tires
You should check your tires at least once a month. Making sure that your tire pressure is always between 30 and 35 PSI, depending on your vehicle type. Your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure is listed on the passenger side door on a sticker. Keeping your tires at the correct PSI makes sure that you get a better mileage from your vehicle, saves you money, and makes sure that your tires are in good condition. It is equally important to make sure that the treads of your tires are not worn out. You can do this with a penny. Put the penny, head down (Lincoln’s head facing you), in a tread of your tire. If you can see the head fully, that means the tire depth is less than 2/32 inch and you should have the tire replaced. Click here to learn more about checking the tread of your tire with a penny.
Replace Your Windshield Wipers
Changing your windshield wipers may seems trivial. However, windshield wipers play a major role in your vision while driving. If your windshield wipers leave awful streaks, or just don’t clean well at all, it is time to replace them. Windshield wipers are relatively cheap and easy to replace. Also, make sure that the inside of your windshield is clean and streak free, not just the outside.
Change Your Spark Plugs
Spark plugs deliver electric currents from the ignition system to the combustion system. This is the electricity needed to start a vehicle. If your spark plugs are worn or covered in debris, you need to change them as soon as possible. This probably means that your engine is not functioning properly. Most spark plugs can last for about 30,000 miles.
Make Sure Your Wheels Are Aligned
Wheel alignment is important. If you cannot keep your vehicle going straight, this will present a safety issue for you, and others driving around you. Making sure your wheels are aligned may also increase the life of your tires.
Replace the Engine Oil Filter
Depending on how the components under your hood are situated it may be tricky to see it or even change it. However, it is important to make sure that it is frequently replaced, if it is dirty. You can find how often your vehicle’s engine oil filter should be changed. You will probably need to change it more often if you put a lot of miles on your vehicle, or you drive in stop-and-go traffic often. If you cannot find where your engine oil filter is, you can take your vehicle to a licensed mechanic.
There are plenty of vehicles on the market, and they are completely different. Yet, vehicles require the same preventative maintenance. It is important to look through your owner’s manual to make sure that there isn’t anything unique to your vehicle. If you are like most people, you have no idea where your vehicle’s manual is. There is plenty of information on the specifics of vehicles online. The great thing about it is that many of these preventative measures are things that you can do yourself.