Car Maintenance Tips
There’s no need to let car maintenance intimidate you, and we’ve got all the tips you could ever need to get started. You don’t need to be a mechanic to take care of your car’s basic maintenance needs. If you think about how much money a vehicle costs (a lot), it makes sense to invest some time in its upkeep. Staying on top of preventive car maintenance, you’ll save money by fixing little problems before they turn into big, expensive problems. You’ll be safer as well. Neglected car repairs can put you in danger on the road or leave you stranded with a breakdown.
While you might not be able to handle every big repair yourself, it’s important to know what to look out for. Having a basic knowledge of what makes your car tick means you’re more likely to notice if something isn’t quite right. Check out the following videos to learn some vehicle maintenance tips, and to see how easy it is to take good care of your car, whether you proudly wear grease and motor oil on your hands or you’ve never popped open a hood before.
Watch Our Car Maintenance Tips Videos
- Choosing an Auto Mechanic
- Car Battery Care and Maintenance
- Brake Fluid
- How to Check or Change Your Vehicle’s Oil
- Flat Tires
- How to Measure Tire Tread
- Car Warning Lights
- How to Check and Change Your Engine Coolant (Antifreeze)
- When to Change Your Transmission Fluid
The major areas of preventive vehicle maintenance are the fluids, tires, and engine. Let’s check out a quick overview of each topic:
Check your fluids! Just as people need fluids (water, coffee, and that green juice you choke down because it’s good for you…), vehicles need their fluids too. Things like engine oil, brake fluid, coolant, and transmission fluid keep your car running smoothly and help prevent wear and tear on your ride over time. Check your levels regularly, making sure to refill or replace fluids as necessary to keep your car happy and functional. Don’t know how to do this yourself? It’s a good idea to ask your mechanic to check for you and top off your fluids if needed whenever you stop in for your regular oil change.
One of the biggest safety issues is poorly maintained tires. There are a few things to keep an eye on when you’re checking out your tires. First off, you’ll want to check your air pressure with a tire gauge and adjust the pressure accordingly when needed. You can usually find the pressure you need (called the psi) on a sticker inside one of your door jams. If your tire pressure is reallllyy low, you should even be able to see this visually without the need for a gauge, but we recommend not letting it get that bad. Fun fact: did you know tire pressure actually drops a little bit in cold weather?
Next, you’ll want to keep an eye on the tire tread depth for uneven wear, and replace them when necessary. If you ignore your tires, you’re likely to get stuck with a flat or have a blowout while driving. Blowouts are scary and dangerous, especially if you’re on the highway or in the middle of traffic! Bad tires also put you at a greater risk of skidding or hydroplaning. Don’t let your tires lead you straight to a crash.
Sure, the car engine is a complex thing. It’s also an extremely important part of your vehicle, so watch out for problems and don’t procrastinate. Keep an eye out for vehicle warning lights- you can find these warning symbols and gauges on your car’s dashboard. If your “check engine” light comes on, go get it checked out. Better safe than sorry. And by sorry we mean broken down on the highway waiting for your tow truck in the middle of a 100+ degree summer day. Yeah, don’t go there. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the temperature gauge. You want your needle to fall as close as possible to the halfway point between the H(hot) and the C(cold) on the gauge. Another pro tip: if your car is overheating and you can’t pull over right away, turn on your heater. This will pull hot air off of your engine allowing it to cool off a little. Unfortunately, you will be the opposite of cool when using this life hack. Battery level and engine oil pressure are also equally important. Both keep your car running, so be sure to stay on top of replacing your battery when needed and changing your oil regularly (your oil technician should let you know at what gas mileage you need to change it out). You may not know how to fix all of these problems yourself, but at least with these auto maintenance and car care tips you’ll know when it’s critical to pull over or head to the repair shop. Happy driving!