To keep your vehicle running smoothly, you have to regularly run maintenance on it. This will greatly increase the longevity of your car, and it will be looking good all around. Some of the car maintenance has to be done by a professional, and requires a good bit of skill. These include replacing the suspension, changing bushes and brake parts and checking for problems with hydraulic systems.
There are however some routine things that you ca do to ensure that your car remains in top shape. To put this into perspective, try and follow simple easy to remember steps. Here are some of the regular maintenance tips that will have your car looking and running like the day you bought it:
Check the fluids
Oil is literally the life of your car. It acts as a lubricant and as a coolant at the same time. You can check the levels of your oil by looking at the dipstick at least once a week. Your car should be parked on level ground to get you an accurate reading. While some engine oil manufacturers claim that their oil can last as many as 10,000 kilometres, it is advisable to change your oil every 4000 to 5000 kilometres. When changing the oil, the oil filter is also swapped for a new one.
Other fluids that require constant checking are the coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid and washer fluid. With sensitive areas such as brakes, you should replace the fluid and bleed the system at least once a year. This is because brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water. This can go on to corrode some components, which could damage callipers, hoses and sensors.
Tyre pressure is your friend
Check your tyre pressure at least once a month and before a long trip. This is something you can do on your own using a tyre gauge, which you can buy for cheap at an auto parts store. Make sure the tyre pressure is in-line with the manufacturer’s specifications. Most people forget to check the pressure on the spare wheel, something that can be dangerous in the event of a puncture.
Mirrors and windows
Look through your windows and mirrors to see which ones need attention. Replace any broken lights and mirrors as soon as possible and have any cracks on your windscreen attended to by a professional. To avoid damage to your windscreen, avoid following cars too closely on the road. Loose debris such as a small pebble can cause a lot of damage.
Detailing and interior
Taking your car for detailing and the cleaning of your interior is a prerequisite. The interior is often one of the things that people judge the quality of your car with, especially during sales and trade-ins. Have a professional take care of stains and foul smells to keep your interior clean.
Wiper blades can wear out or come loose, which could leave nasty scratches on your windscreen. These are things that are easy to replace and you can actually do it at home. You should always check the status of the blades especially before the rainy season. Most blades require to be changed only once a year.
Belts and battery
If you are conversant with your car, you can check the tension in the belts, or better yet, have an expert do it for you. Loose belts usually make this annoying high pitched squealing sound and you should have yours serviced when you hear this noise.
Your battery should be checked at least once a year for corrosion, Clean off the battery heads at least once a month and take care not to run the battery down. Contrary to what most people believe, jump starts are actually hard on your battery and one too many could ruin it completely. Batteries also wear out and need to be replaced when this happens.
Make sure to check your lights at least once a month as well. There is nothing as scary as finding out one of your headlights does not work, while in the middle of a drive in the dark. It is also illegal to have brake lights and turning signals that are not working. To find out which lights need to be replaced, have a friend walk around your car while you try each one on. He/she should be able to let you know which work and which don’t.