Whether you’re purchasing a used car, or merely trying to extend the life of the car you already own, a little extra care and effort really can make a huge difference in how much you have to spend to keep it in good shape. In fact, here are 12 car maintenance tips that can help prevent you from having to pay major repair costs later on.
Test Your Tires
At least once a month, all of your tires, including any spares you have tucked away, need to have their air pressures tested. One of the worst things that can happen is that you wind up in a situation where you need your spare only to find out in that moment it isn’t in good enough shape for an effective tire change.
Change Your Oil
Oil is like the lifeblood of your vehicle, and neglecting to change it at least every 3,000-5,000 miles is like playing Russian roulette with your car’s life. At best, your car will seriously struggle to function the way it’s meant to. The worst that can happen is total engine failure that cost more to fix than what it’s worth.
Pro Tip: This is also a great time to check your brake fluid as well, ensuring it isn’t too dark in color, which may indicate a need for a brake system exchange.
Brush Your Battery
If you’re starting to notice a buildup of bluish/white powder growing around the terminals of your vehicle’s battery, a little wire brush is a great little investment. Simply brush the corrosion off to prevent cracking that could potentially cost you hundreds of dollars. For added effect, try to find a way to test your battery at least twice a year as well.
Swap Your Brake Pads
Your brakes are one of the most integral features of your vehicle, and without them, you cannot drive safely. Knowing when to swap out your pads, however, can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. Fortunately, it isn’t hard. If you hear any kind of squeaking noise whenever you brake, just know it might be time to fork up the little bit of extra money to get them taken care of.
Acknowledge Your Air Filters
Though you may not realize it, unless you’re doing your due diligence and replacing your air filters at least every 12 months, or 12,000 miles, you’re putting your vehicle at risk of needing thousands of dollars worth of A/C unit repairs. Is it worth it? No. Just change your air filters.
Watch Out For Your Windshield Wipers
Do you like being able to see clearly out of your windshield even in the worst weather? Don’t forget to inspect, and if necessary change out, your windshield wipers at the start of every new season.
Rotate Your Tires
With any car, the tires are going to wear down differently depending on your vehicle and where and how you drive. An easy way to prolong the life of your vehicle without much effort though is simply to rotate your tires every so often to help even out the wear and tear. This is best done every 3,000-5,000 miles.
Suspect Your Suspension System
Not many people give much thought to their shocks, springs, and struts, though everyone should. These parts are vital for proper automotive function. With these pieces however, you only really need to have them looked at every 15,000-30,000 miles.
Keep Up With Your Coolant
Unless you want corrosion to run rampant inside your vehicle, keeping an eye on your coolant and checking on it at least twice a year at the start of each major temperature change is entirely necessary.
Inspect Your Spark Plugs
Fortunately, one of the most common reasons for engine trouble is also one of the easiest and cheapest to fix. If you start to notice some issues, just try switching out a spark plug. Its often very effective, and a great way to save thousands on future engine repairs! Just make sure you also check on them at least every 30,000 miles or so anyway.
Don’t Forget Your Belts & Hoses
Your vehicle’s timing belt should be replaced every 60,000 miles or so, and your serpentine belt every 40,000 miles or so, to prevent damage from affecting critical components of your vehicle. Hoses, on the other hand, can usually last up to four years or so without getting too worn down and causing problems.
Follow Up With An Emissions Inspection
Whether you’re required by law to have and pass an emissions inspection or not, it’s still a great idea for keeping you in the loop about what might be wrong with your vehicle and how it’s overall functionality can be improved. While you can check with your local DMV to learn more about the specific requirements for you, you should still try to have an emissions inspection done at least once a year.
If you are looking for the best in auto financing, no matter what your current credit situation is, choose Suburban Auto Finance and learn how we can help you get back behind the wheel in no time. At Suburban Auto Finance, we understand everyone deserves the independence of having a reliable vehicle, and our mission is to work as hard as we can to make that happens for you.