A few years back, only the elite in society had vehicles. Things have changed since most cars are no longer considered a luxury item but rather a necessary one. Most families nowadays own a vehicle due to needs such as commuting to work or school. Some people have converted their cars into living spaces so that they can reside anywhere their cars take them. Since a vehicle can simplify your life, you have to ensure that you keep it in the best possible condition to give you excellent service. Read on!
What is the importance of maintaining your vehicle?
Whether you own a Mercedes or Subaru, taking great care of it is the only way you can enjoy using it. Your car is like a baby that needs constant maintenance. Some of the reasons why you should not skip on this are discussed as follows.
- It enhances safety
If you want the vehicle to operate smoothly without any issues, you have to maintain it properly. Doing this can help you become a better driver since car maintenance enhances safety. The maintenance involves checking if every component of the car is running as expected and doing any necessary repairs. Maintaining the car can reduce the risk of causing an accident due to a faulty component such poor brake system or tire treads.
- Boosting performance and reliability
Even if you have just bought a new vehicle, you should expect some parts to wear out with time. Performing maintenance checks can give you confidence since you don’t have to worry about certain parts not functioning accordingly. If you use your car every day without caring about the maintenance, you can quickly notice a decline in its performance. Servicing and replacing specific car components can make the vehicle more reliable.
- It saves you money
Buying a car is expensive. You can save yourself from additional repair costs by being keen on maintenance. If a part such as an engine, for instance, fails due to the lack of maintaining it properly, you may end up incurring more costs on the repairs. In some cases, the cost of repairs can be more than 50% of the vehicle’s initial price. Maintaining your car can save you from spending thousands of dollars. You only need to find the right products to use to maintain different parts of the vehicle from time to time.
- Raising the resale value
Some car owners choose to resell their vehicles after some time due to different reasons. If you maintain your car properly and then decide to sell it, you can ask for a high value. A well-maintained vehicle is considered to be more valuable than a neglected one. Lots of potential car buyers also pay attention to the condition of second-hand cars. Some of them even ask for records of the maintenance activities previously performed on the car. Showing that you have been maintaining the car in top-notch condition can help you earn more when reselling it.
- Reduces roadside emergencies
Have you ever been stranded on the road due to a flat tire or an overheating engine? You can prevent yourself from such inconveniences by being keen on car maintenance. Sticking to the maintenance schedule of your car can prevent you from spending more during such roadside emergencies.
- Your car can help keep the environment cleaner
Though every car runs on fossil fuel, a well-maintained vehicle can reduce environmental pollution. During the maintenance, you can ensure that the engine oil, for instance, is not burnt or no pipe is leaking. By maintaining your car correctly, you can prevent it from producing high fluids or fumes that pollute the air and water bodies. Different countries now have regulations to reduce car exhaust emissions. This responsibility has been passed down to not only manufacturers but also car owners. You should avoid driving vehicles that have excess carbon emissions.
How to maintain your vehicle
Every car owner should pay attention to useful maintenance tips to gain the benefits we have discussed above. For you to maintain your car, you should start by inspecting it from time to time. Every car comes with a manual that contains all the information you need regarding caring for your vehicle. Ensure that you check the different components in your vehicle to determine if they are in the best condition. Inspecting your car is straightforward if you are aware of what you should be checking for.
Understand the meaning of various warning light indicators
For you to maintain your car correctly, you have to start by understanding the basics. Most of the modern cars contain warning sensors that inform you when something is not working accordingly. For instance, the check engine light can tell you when the sensors in the engine detect an issue that needs prompt fixing. Though this indicator may not be the specific issue, you can utilize the OBD2 scanner to identify the root cause. A mechanic can also help you find out more about the problem.
On the dashboard, you should notice an area written service. The indicator light on this part can tell when it is time to service your car. You should also pay attention to the brake warning light since this indicates different things. For instance, when it is activated, it may suggest wearing out of the brake pads or a low brake fluid level. As you drive, never ignore the coolant warning light since this indicates that the engine’s internal temperature is too high. If you see this light, stop driving and open the hood so that the car can cool down.
When the vehicle’s electrical charging mechanism is not functioning properly, the electrical fault light can notify you. If the oil in the engine is low, the oil warning light will show. This is sometimes caused by the oil pump malfunctioning or the oil filter blocking. You should not continue driving the vehicle when you get such signs since some may negatively affect the components.
Maintaining the car tires and wheels
Tires and wheels are one of the most crucial parts of a car that should be highly maintained. Any imbalance on your car tires can lead to a serious accident, especially when you are making turns. You can, however, enhance safety while driving by checking the tire pressures from time to time. Under-inflated tires are quite dangerous on the road since they can affect the handling and gas mileage.
You should confirm the tire pressure at least once a month to avoid such issues. The car manual should tell you the appropriate pressure for the tires. Some drivers also use simple tools to check the tire pressure. Once you inflate the tires, you should also avoid pumping more pressure than required since this can also be problematic.
Tires that are manufactured for regular cars are designed to work well in different weather conditions. Despite this, you should ensure that you keep on checking the tire treads. These are imprinted patterns on your car tires that leave behind marks on the surface when you drive the car on mud or soil. You should ensure that you check the depth of your tire treads before you start driving. If you keep on forgetting to do this, you can buy tires that come with tread wear bars. This feature eliminates the need to check if the tire treads are deep to channel water away from your car tires when driving on wet conditions.
If you drive your car for long, you should always inspect the tires regularly. They are quite sensitive since any stuck object or small crack on the surface can cause you a lot of problems when you drive for long. You should also check the manual to find out when the tires should be aligned. Most of the tires have to be rotated and balanced after 5000 miles. Doing this can help you save on fuel costs. You should also dust off any brake dust that tends to accumulate on the wheels. Doing this can prevent the wheel from staining. Use cold water and a damp sponge to get rid of the brake dust.
Some drivers tend to overload their vehicles. Avoid making this mistake since it can make a car tire break down. Every car manual provides information regarding how much weight your car can support. If the tires are worn out, you should also consider replacing them. You should also avoid using mismatched tires in your vehicle since this can negatively affect the handling.
Maintaining the car engine
Apart from the tires, you should also pay attention to the engine since this is another crucial component. Maintaining the engine can help your car perform well. A small issue with the engine, on the other hand, can lead to severe damage. To keep the engine in perfect condition, you should ensure that you check the oil from time to time. The car engine has different mechanical parts that tend to create friction when they come into contact with one another. Since friction can generate heat, it can affect the performance of the engine negatively. The oil helps in the lubrication, thus preventing excess friction.
You should ensure that you check the oil level from time to time. The car manual should tell you how often you need to change the oil. If you don’t know the oil level remaining, you can use a dipstick to check it. Apart from the oil level, you should also pay attention to its color. Engine oil should be amber. If the oil is dark-colored, it indicates the presence of chemical additives and contaminants. You should replace such oil.
Every moving vehicle produces heat. Though the oil can prevent friction between the moving components of your car, the engine still requires a system that can eliminate generated heat. This part is what is referred to as the radiator. The fluid that is supplied to this part is known as the engine coolant. If the reservoir does not have enough coolant, it can cause overheating of the engine. As part of maintaining the engine, you should check the coolant level from time to time. If you are using a modern car, you will not struggle to check the coolant levels since the reservoir is probably translucent. The panel also contains different level markings. Going through the car manual can help you figure out where the coolant reservoir is located in your car.
The engine of your car produces enough power for the wheels and other parts to run accordingly. To maintain the engine properly, you should also focus on the drive belts. Since the drive belts are mostly made from polymer or rubber, they tend to wear out after some time. Check them from time to time to confirm that they are don’t contain any hairline cracks that can affect the functioning of your car engine. If you notice a squeaky noise from the engine, it could indicate faulty drive belts. Replacing them can solve this problem.
Do not forget to check the air filter from time to time. This is the part that enhances the circulation of air in the car’s engine. It also protects the engine from accumulating dust and debris. If you often drive on rough roads, you should keep on changing the air filter regularly to avoid dealing with issues such as sounds from the engine or reduced horsepower. The manual should be able to tell you when to replace your air filter. If you are having trouble accessing the air filter on your own, you can ask a mechanic to show you.
If you notice the engine misfiring, you should think about replacing the spark plugs. Sometimes, you may have trouble trying to start the car due to malfunctioning spark plugs. If the spark plugs of your car are made of copper, you should replace them after 30, 000 miles. You only need the right tools to replace the spark plugs on your own. You should also ensure that you change the wires to match the current of the new spark plugs.
How to maintain the brakes
Maintaining the brake system can help you continue enjoying a smooth ride even in winter when the roads get quite slippery. You should ensure that you check the rotors and brake pads regularly. These are the parts that initiate contact as soon as you hit the brakes to prevent the tires from moving.
Since the rotors and brake pads are always in contact with the tires, they easily wear out because of intense friction. Every time you remove the tires, you should, therefore, inspect the rotors and brake pads to check if they may are wearing out. If you notice a burning odor every time you hit the car brakes, consider changing the brake pads.
You can also maintain the brakes by flushing the brake fluid from time to time. This fluid transfers pressure from the pedals to the rotors and brake pads. The fluid tends to attract moisture, which can reduce the normal functioning of the brakes. If you notice a milky appearance of the brake fluid, you should replace it. You need to replace the brake fluid after 25,000 miles.
Excess air can easily get trapped between the car’s brake lines leading to the deterioration of the brake system. During the brake inspection service, a technician should help you get rid of this excess air to enhance the performance of the braking system. Bleeding the brakes should be done after a few years. You can enhance how your car performs by upgrading or replacing some of the brake parts. For instance, you can get slotted disc brakes to enhance heat resistance or get ceramic pads to minimize brake dust.
Maintaining the vehicle’s electrical system
Some drivers tend to ignore the car battery for long until the car fails to start. To prevent it, you should ensure that you are driving the car regularly. Doing this can keep the battery charged. Even if you don’t need to go somewhere for a while, you should ensure that you are starting the car at least twice every week and let the engine run for half an hour so that it can power the battery.
When the engine is not running, you should avoid leaving car accessories like the radio or lights on for long. You should also avoid leaving the key ignited so that you don’t kill the battery within hours. Ensure that the battery case is always clean since excess moisture or dirt can spoil it. Use water to clean the battery case and apply some grease to prevent the build-up of dirt and moisture.
The battery is a fragile component in the car. If you fail to secure it, the vibration can affect the terminals negatively, forcing the vehicle to stop. You can prevent such issues by locking the car battery correctly in the bay. During winter, you should also avoid parking your car outdoors. This is because the battery tends to discharge faster in extreme weather conditions. Parking your vehicle in the garage can keep the battery protected.