Vehicle Maintenance Tips To Make Your Car Last Longer
If you own a car, you are free to go anywhere, at any time. However, your car may develop problems if you don’t maintain it well. Poor vehicle maintenance is one of the main causes of road accidents.
Besides, regular upkeep is much less expensive than any major repairs that result from such accidents. Well-maintained cars also cause much less pollution and have better resale values.
The following tips help ensure that your car is in prime condition. They also prevent any issues from turning into serious roadside emergencies.
Learn everything about your car
Read the owner’s manual that the manufacturer provides. They contain a maintenance schedule and recommendations on what types of parts, accessories, and fuel suit
your car. If the car you bought doesn’t have a manual or is a second-hand car, get a copy from the manufacturer. You can also search and download it from the Internet.
Learn what the sensors and warning lights in your car indicate. If you don’t understand something, ask the dealer, a trustworthy mechanic, or join online forums and read reviews. Inspect your car regularly, take note of what is amiss, and have a professional check it.
As you understand your car better, driving it and caring for it becomes instinctive. It also helps avoid unnecessary repairs or replacements that others may suggest.
Take your car in for scheduled maintenance
Take your car to the dealer’s shop for maintenance as per the schedule in the owner’s manual. They will check your car thoroughly and repair or replace damaged parts with genuine ones. They will also record such visits as part of your car’s service history, which helps bolster the value if you need to sell the car.
Monitor maintenance and servicing
Fluids: Cars use nine fluids, including fuel, engine oil, radiator coolant, battery electrolyte, and various fluids that aid the smooth running of the transmission, power steering, brakes, clutch, and windshield wipers.The following are a few basic things you need to check and replace so that your car performs well.
If your car uses more fuel than usual, its engine could be overworking or its tires may not be inflated or aligned properly. The engine oil’s color and level indicate whether it is contaminated and needs to be changed.
A low radiator coolant level can cause engine failure, as its function is to prevent the engine from overheating. Similarly, the power steering and transmission may malfunction at low fluid levels.
Battery: Check the battery’s terminals for signs of material build-up or corrosion and its fluid levels. Run your car frequently so that the battery does not drain off.
Engine: Check engine parts, such as drive belts and spark plugs. Drive belts, which transfer the power generated by the engine to other parts of the car, are usually made of polymers. So, they may wear and tear easily. If dirt has built up on your spark plugs and corroded then, your engine may fail to start or consume more fuel.
Tires and brakes: Ensure that tire pressure is the same as that recommended by the manufacturer. Also, check tire alignment and balance. Clean your wheels to remove brake dust that accumulates on the brake rotor and the brake pad as you apply the brakes.
Rotate your tires regularly to reduce uneven damage and to make them last longer. Buy tires with treads that work in all weather conditions. Take good care of your tires to reduce premature wear and blowouts.
Lights: Check if all the lights in your car function well. Clean your hands or wear gloves when you replace them to avoid dirt transfer to the bulbs, causing them to heat up and crack.
Wipers: Don’t wait till it rains or snows to check if your windshield wipers are working. If your wipers make odd noises or do not clean your windshield, replace them.
Filters: The air filter prevents contaminants in the air from entering the engine. The fuel filter prevents them from entering fuel injection systems. The cabin air filter helps avoid health issues, such as allergies or infections, by keeping the car’s interior clean. Replace them frequently as the harmful substances remain in them.
Keep your car clean
Cleaning your car of dirt and rust is also essential to its performance and safety. For example, a dirty windshield and headlights can affect visibility. Long-term neglect can affect the car’s paint job and its resale value. So, wash your car often, detail it using high-quality waxes and polishes, and keep its interior neat and organized.
Roadside Emergencies: Do’s and Don’ts
Regardless of the seriousness of your roadside emergency, there are few things that help you stay safe and cope better.
- Find a trustworthy mechanic shop. Have them service the car so that they know your car’s history and its peculiarities.
- Track maintenance using the latest tools and apps.
- Pay attention to your car so that you notice any strange noises it produces.
- Join an emergency roadside assistance provider, such as the Association of Independent Americans (AIA). AIA offers services of two $100 disablements a year for each member.
- Make a thorough maintenance check before going on a trip.
- Carry a first aid kit, blankets, a torch, snacks and plenty of water. Also, take your ID, driving license, roadside assistance membership details.
- At the first sign of trouble, pull away from the traffic to somewhere safe and park the car.
- Switch your hazard lights on and also your sidelights, if it is foggy or dark.
- If you are driving alone, stay inside your car, with your seatbelt on, and lock the doors and windows.
- If the engine emits smoke of flames, exit your vehicle fast.
- Call 911, if it is an emergency. If it isn’t, call a local garage or tow truck services. If you have a roadside emergency assistance provider, such as AIA, call them and they will help you.
Despite all precautionary maintenance checks, if your car breaks down, you might have to rely on roadside assistance. If you do, being a member of AIA can be of great relief and help. AIA offers emergency roadside assistance services for many different kinds of registered and licensed motor vehicles.