Basic vehicle maintenance keeps your car running smoothly and can prevent breakdowns and even accidents. Some of these tasks you can do yourself, while others require taking your vehicle to a mechanic for annual car maintenance. Your manufacturers’ handbook will let you know how often regular maintenance is needed and the frequency that your car will need to be serviced. Follow these car maintenance tips to keep your vehicle in good working order:
Tip #1: Take Care of Your Tires
Keeping your tires in good condition isn’t just important for vehicle maintenance. Tires in poor condition pose a dangerous threat to the safety of you and your loved ones. Here are a few tire care items to be mindful of:
- Tire pressure – Check your tires’ pressure at least once a month. Underinflated tires affect your fuel efficiency and cost you money.
- Tire rotation – Rotate the tires every 5,000-8,000 miles.
- Tire condition – Inspect your tires regularly – at the same time you’re checking the tread – for any signs of bulges or bald spots. If you spot any of these danger signs, have the tire replaced as soon as possible.
- Uneven wear – Uneven wear on a tire indicates wheel alignment problems. Have the wheels aligned properly as soon as possible.
- Spare tire – It’s easy to forget that spare tire stuck in the back of your car. Check it at least once a month to ensure it’s usable if you find yourself having to replace a flat.
Tip #2: Check Fluids
At least every 5,000 miles, check and refill your fluids. These include:
- Changing the oil
- Checking brake, coolant and/or antifreeze, transmission, washer and power steering fluids.
Tip #3: Check the Battery
When your battery goes dead, you’re stuck. Checking the battery regularly can help you avoid this uncomfortable situation.
You can have your mechanic check the battery or do it yourself via a car battery tester.
Tip #4: Check the Lights
Check your exterior and interior lights regularly.
Besides the headlights, make sure your indicators, brake lights and fog lights are in good working order.
Tip #5: Get an Annual Inspection
At least once a year, or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, take your car in for servicing. Your mechanic will check the fuel filters, brake pads and spark plugs and replace them if needed.
The mechanic will also flush the radiator to get rid of the old fluid and replace it with new fluid.
Other annual maintenance includes checking the ABS sensor, timing belt and fuel pressure regulator.