Love Your Car? Show It Some TLC with Preventative Maintenance!
When you choose to purchase a vehicle, it should not be a decision that is taken lightly. Beyond being a mode of transportation, a vehicle is an investment when treated properly. With the average new car price reaching a high of $48,681 last year, ensuring you maintain your vehicle and keep it functioning at peak performance always needs to be a priority. We’ve compiled a list of the best preventative maintenance tips.
What is Preventative Maintenance?
To those unfamiliar, preventative maintenance refers to the regular maintenance vehicle owners should take care of to spot major issues under the hood before they become a larger problem. By fixing things before they break, you can save both time and money in the future. One of the most common examples of preventative maintenance is replacing spark plugs on a vehicle or fixing holes that appear in tires.
Why Does Preventative Maintenance Matter?
There are a number of benefits to handling preventative maintenance on your vehicle, but the most beneficial include:
- The saving of both time and money in the future
- The ability to spot problems before they develop into something larger
- Your vehicle will be running at peak efficiency
- Your vehicle will have a higher resale value if you choose to sell later on
- The overall lifespan of your vehicle will be increased
10 Preventative Maintenance Tips for Keeping Your Vehicle Sharp
With all of the above benefits for preventative maintenance outlined, the next step all drivers should take is learning how to handle this maintenance on their own vehicles. To that end, use the following ten tips to keep your vehicle fresh:
Don’t neglect the exterior.
When focusing on preventative maintenance, most drivers only focus on the interior of their vehicle or under their hood, rather than the exterior. Start your preventative maintenance by protecting the auto paint on your vehicle in order to reduce the risk of the metal rusting and to keep the look of your vehicle improved all around. On top of this, try to go through the car wash at a minimum of once a month to scrap off any dust, grime, or other particles that have accumulated on your vehicle.
Follow recommended maintenance schedules.
All vehicles come with a recommended maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual which should be followed. In fact, you risk voiding your factory warranty for most vehicle’s if you neglect handling the maintenance. Typically, the maintenance is broken down to 10,000-miles, 30,000-miles, 50,000-miles, and on.
Top off fluids when required.
Over time, all of the fluids under your vehicle will need to be replaced. Coolant, windshield wiper fluid, transmission fluid, and much more will all start to evaporate after they are used for years. When this occurs, they need to be replaced as soon as possible to keep the parts they flow through working properly. Check your owner’s manual to see the specific intervals at which you are supposed to replace these.
Handle the maintenance of your tires.
Rotating tires, replacing tires, and inflating tires when they are low are the primary ways that a driver will maintain their tires. Most experts will recommend that a driver rotates their tires every 5,000-7,500 miles on average. On a longer-term basis, it is recommended that you replace your tires completely every six years on average.
Change the battery in your vehicle.
Most vehicle batteries will last for around five years, which means you don’t need to worry about replacing the battery for a while. However, if it is time for a replacement, it’s best not to wait. Your battery allows the electronics in your vehicle to function, which is why your vehicle will not start when the battery dies.
Replace your oil and filter.
If the engine is the heart of your vehicle, oil is the blood that runs through it. By acting as a lubricant for the metal parts under the hood, oil keeps everything running properly. In addition to this, it picks up dirt and grime within the pipes of your vehicle. Replace your oil when necessary as well as the air filter under your hood.
Check all of the lights on your vehicle on a regular basis.
Lights such as your turn signal, brake lights, headlights, and others are integral to the driving experience. Periodically double check that all the lights on your vehicle are working by having someone walk around your car to check as you test each light.
Break the maintenance down into seasonal chunks.
Every season comes with different challenges for your vehicle based on the weather. It’s best to break down your preventative maintenance on a seasonal basis to make the tasks you need to take care of easier. For example, replace windshield wipers before the heavy rain season, or double check the parts of the air conditioning before the heatwaves arrive in the summer.
Always have an emergency kit on hand.
All drivers should have an emergency kit in the back of their vehicles that contains items such as a flare, nonperishable foods, water, and other essentials. In the event of a breakdown, this emergency kit can be used to keep yourself and other passengers safe in the vehicle until help arrives.
Do a visual inspection once a month.
Your eyes can tell you more than you think on your vehicle. On a monthly basis, walk around the exterior of your vehicle and inspect for damage. Check under the vehicle to see if anything is leaking from the bottom. Also, take the time to pop the hood of your car to inspect all parts and ensure nothing is wrong.
Protect your vehicle today
By taking care of preventative maintenance on your vehicle, you can reduce the risk of expensive mechanical breakdowns that could also cause an accident if they occur while you’re driving. Simply taking the time of handling small maintenance tasks now can save you headaches and money in the future. Don’t hesitate to start taking your vehicle in for maintenance, even if it’s been a long time since your last trip to a shop.