How to Keep Your Vehicle in Tip Top Shape
Regardless of the nature of your driving style, it’s crucial to keep your car in good condition. Neglected vehicles tend to act out at the worst times, leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Being a vehicle owner means more than just refuelling your car now and then and driving your car around the neighbourhood. You have to maintain your vehicle if you want to get the most life and best performance out of it.
Vehicles are usually big investments, second only to our homes. Whether yours is an everyday vehicle or a supercar, it’s important to take good care of it, so it stays in excellent condition.
Mechanics recommend that you take your vehicles in for servicing at regular intervals. Even if you’re the proud owner of a brand-new car, it’s essential to keep it healthy and properly maintained so that it will run seamlessly for many years to come.
There are certain guidelines to ensure longevity and avoid problems in the long run. Here are six of the main things to be on the lookout for:
Oil and Filter Change
Oil is the blood of your car, and the filters are the lungs. All the moving parts in the engine need to be lubricated to function properly; if there’s a problem with your oil or if the filters are worn out, you’ll have a lot of problems with your car.
Checking the engine oil is relatively easy, and you should do it once a week, but it’s also necessary to have your mechanic check your oil levels every 3,000-3,500 miles. Oil manufacturers suggest that your oil can last up to 10,000 miles, but auto experts think that it’s best to avoid using the same oil for more than 5,000 miles to maximise engine reliability and efficiency.
Special engines such as diesel and turbo engines may need oil changes more often, so be sure to check and be familiar with the specifications of your car.
Dashboard Warning Signs
Vehicles have become quite sophisticated over the years and dashboards are constantly being upgraded by car manufacturers. The different symbols that illuminate when a problem is detected indicate the nature of the problem.
While delaying a serious problem can cause irreparable damage to integral parts of your car and could cost you a hefty amount to get fixed, not every warning light means a major issue and some mechanics will try to exploit your lack of knowledge about cars.
The trick here is to read your car manual or have a trusted mechanic look at your vehicle, so you know what each warning light means, this can not only help you avoid getting scammed but also inform you about when you should take your vehicle in for repairs for important issues.
Maintain Your Tires
Tires are not exactly cheap, but they serve a very important purpose. If you want them to last as long as possible, they need to be taken care of meticulously. You should use a pressure gauge to check the pressure in each tire - that includes the spare tire too - at least once a month and before any extended trips.
The tire pressure needs to be just right.
Underinflated tires deteriorate at an accelerated rate and burn extra fuel, while overinflated tires can reduce traction and damage your suspension. Having your tires rotated regularly and kept at the right pressure will maximise their life span.
You should get the filters, belts and battery in your vehicle checked or replaced at certain major milestones. Regular tune-ups will keep your vehicle running smoothly; with the help of a trusted car mechanic or your vehicle’s manual, you can check when certain filters and parts need to be replaced or cleaned.
For example, the fuel filter should be replaced every 30,000 miles. Another example is the timing belt or timing chain; every car engine has one of these vital parts to keep it running smoothly. Although it’s an expensive part, if it breaks, the damage to the engine can be catastrophic, and no one should have to pay thousands to rebuild an engine. You should have it replaced at regular intervals (between 60,000 and 100,000 miles) to avoid having major problems.
Generally speaking, all filters, belts, valves and fluids need to be checked and replaced at intervals of 30,000/50,000/100,000 miles to make sure your vehicle works at optimum capacity.
Keep All Fluids Topped Up
Most of the essential parts in your vehicle rotate or move constantly. Besides engine oil, vehicles require a multitude of fluids such as coolant, power steering, transmission, brake and windshield fluids that all need to be checked periodically.
Some of the fluid containers may not be easily accessible, so it’s best to ask your mechanic to show you how to check them if you’re not sure. If any of these fluids deplete at the wrong time, the related parts may suffer extensive damage.
In the worst-case scenario, this could trigger a chain of events that could lead to a serious accident.
Monitor the Vitals of Your Car with a Vehicle Tracking Device
When vehicles experience a malfunction, the onboard computer generates an engine error code and logs it into the vehicle’s database. Historically, only car mechanics could access this information, but that changed after OBD-II ports were introduced.
The OBD-II or onboard diagnostics II port provides access to the onboard computer of a vehicle; that includes information about emissions, mileage, error codes and other integral data. Engine diagnostic reporting is a key feature of vehicle tracking devices, and the reports generated can be used to keep your car healthy.
Gaining access to engine error codes can help you save significant amounts of money with timely part replacements and on-time maintenance appointments. Car tracking devices boast an array of features and tools to enhance your driving experience and keep your car in excellent condition for a long time.
Your car is a durable machine, but it needs to be maintained properly. Even if you are not very knowledgeable about cars and car parts, you can still take good care of your vehicle by getting help from a trusted mechanic or your car’s manual.
Basic maintenance is enough to keep your vehicle running properly for a long time, but you shouldn’t ignore the more important aspects of vehicle maintenance for long periods.
To avoid the pain of having to dip into your savings for car repairs and to keep the value of your investment, all you have to do is heed the warning signs and perform general car maintenance regularly.