Keeping your car in good condition does more than just prevent some issues, it also helps save you money and can keep your car running for years. While this isn’t always easy, and it does sometimes cost a little bit of money to do, practicing good car maintenance will help ensure that you’re never stuck on the side of the road waiting for help because your car has broken down. It also helps prevent those horrible repair bills that wipe out your savings or leave you in a large amount of debt.
Following the maintenance schedule set out in your owner’s manual and using the recommended formulation and type of oil and other fluids will help keep your vehicle running smoothly and extend its lifespan. If you want to keep your car running well, here are ten of the most important car maintenance tips you’ll want to follow.
#1 – Check your oil regularly and change it at the recommended intervals. This is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to keep your engine running well. Also make certain you change the filter as needed or recommended. Check your owner’s manual for the correct oil weight to use.
#2 – Change your coolant at least once every year, and flush the entire system when you do so. This will help keep the engine from overheating and prevent debris from sticking to the interior of the system. Use a mixture that is half distilled water, half coolant for the best results.
#3 – Change your transmission fluid and your differential oils at the recommended intervals. These liquids may not need to be changed as frequently as your oil, but they still require service at specific times or after driving a certain distance.
#4 – Keep your car clean by washing off the underside of your vehicle and all around the wheels. Doing so will help knock off anything that has gotten stuck to the axle, back of the tires, and on other parts of the undercarriage. This is an especially good idea if you’ve been driving on many roads that were salted to prevent them from icing since the salt can cause issues if it’s left on your car too long.
#5 – Make sure you lubricate every required part of the engine and the rest of your vehicle regularly. Without proper grease to keep them moving, parts can seize up or rub against each other until they’re too worn to function.
#6 – Put down a coat of wax on your car, two times a year to keep it looking amazing. The wax will provide an extra layer of sealant over your car’s paint, preventing chipping and keeping it looking shiny and new.
#7 – Also remember to lubricate things such as the u-joints that make up the driveline. These components can be a little harder to get to since you might have to remove the driveline in order to get into the zerk grease fitting.
#8 – Watch where you park. By parking in the shade and putting up a sun screen in your windshield, you will help keep the interior of your car looking great. You may also want to put down a layer of UV protection over the vinyl and plastic on the interior to help keep it from developing cracks. Don’t forget to keep your car clean, too—nothing leaves your car looking worse that garbage all over it!
#9 – Take the time to clean and repack the bearings on the wheels using the correct grease according to the timeframe giving in your owner’s manual. It’s much easier and cheaper to do this than it is to replace the parts.
#10 – Be sure to flush your brake system and replace the brake fluid annually. The fluid actually attracts moisture, and that can lead to corrosion forming within the brake system. Prevent this by regularly maintaining the system.