It might be hard to admit, but your life probably revolves around your vehicle. Between errands, family activities, work and entertainment, your car must be reliable and trustworthy to keep your world running smoothly.
Since you expect so much from your vehicle, it’s important to keep it running efficiently for as long as possible. The best way to ensure your vehicle’s good health is to practice regular car care. With these car maintenance tips from the experts at Kelley Blue Book, you can help your vehicle operate at its highest potential.
Oil and air
Regular oil changes and oil level checks are great ways to protect your engine. Whether you choose to do the work yourself or relinquish the responsibility to an automotive professional, regular oil changes are essential for a long engine life.
Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for the service schedule recommendations for changing transmission and other fluids. While oil needs replacing regularly, other fluids only need flushing at intervals specified in your owner’s manual.
While you are tackling an oil change or oil check, MoneyCrashers.com writer David Bakke suggests turning your attention to your car’s air filter, which needs replacing every 12,000 miles, or once a year. Again, this is a task you can handle yourself, but if it would make you feel more comfortable, seek out a professional’s help. According to Bakke, the air filter is under the hood encased in a black rectangular box with metal clips. Open up the box and before removing the filter, take notice of how it fits inside. Take out the old, put in the new and secure the clips.
To keep your car from running too hot, a yearly flush of the cooling system is needed. Use a half-and-half mixture of coolant and distilled water as a coolant replacement. This potion works well to keep deposits and corrosion at bay.
Wash and wax
Regular car washes are not just exercises in vanity. By consistently washing your vehicle, you will rid it of potentially corrosive materials like salt and road muck that love to nest under your vehicle. To make the most of your car washing efforts, apply a coat of wax at least twice a year. Your paint will be protected and shine like new.
It’s a common occurrence—you’re running late for work and when you go to start your car, nothing happens. To prevent this from happening, Bakke recommends looking at the condition of your battery and its connections every few months. Is it getting gunked up with crunchy white residue? Even a little bit of this residue signals that a cleaning is due.
Your vehicle is a mass of parts moving and working together to keep your life moving on the road. By practicing regular maintenance checks and procedures, you will have peace of mind knowing your vehicle is running at its best. If in doubt about your mechanical abilities, take your car to your local dealership where certified technicians will give it the TLC it needs to remain in top shape.
This article is presented by CitySide Subaru in Belmont, Massachusetts.