Car Maintenace: Small Things Make A Difference
One of the worst feelings ever is starting your car and nothing. It’s hard to learn a lesson about car maintenance, the day the car doesn’t start, and you have a full day of work ahead. We take for granted that our car will do its job and transport us from place to place at any time. But with all their moving parts, cars must be maintained to provide us with reliable transportation. Just as we need medical care to stay healthy, our car needs maintenance to ensure it performs at peak condition.
No Need for Big Spending
Spending a little money and time on your car is a good investment. Simple things like changing the oil on schedule, rotating your tires, and checking the tire pressure, means you won’t have big repair bills in the future. Take advantage of auto maintenance check ups at your dealership. Maintenance programs are designed to protect your car and to give you the very best value when you go to trade it in.
Certified auto technicians are also able to detect if there is a problem that must be addressed when you take your car in for maintenance. Even if you think your car is running, “just fine,” it doesn’t take long for things to start failing if you do not service your car at least twice a year. The last thing you need is an unpredicted breakdown or even an accident.
Some of the maintenance items on your list include:
Oil Level Check
Without oil, your car won’t budge. All those moving parts in your car’s engine need oil to keep them clean, to make sure they don’t overheat and ensure they stay lubricated. Think of it this way, if metal parts rub against each other, what happens? They heat up and eventually get scratched to the point of serious damage. Oil ensures that the metal components of your engine work together with as little friction as possible. Oil cleans your car’s engine by trapping dust, dirt, and road debris. Contaminated oil goes through the oil filter; the filtered oil is pumped out to be reused. When you change your oil, change your oil filter.
You can check your oil on your own or have an auto service technician do it for you. Cars must have an oil change every 3,000 to 10,000 miles. Don’t forget the transmission fluid! You want to be able to shift gears when you drive your car.
Check Your Air Filter
Your car’s ignition system will not function properly without an air filter. The liquid fuel in your car turns into the gas that powers the pistons. The air filter allows the engine to “breathe.” Think of the things that can get sucked into the engine such as dirt, pollen, mold, and, during the winter, road salt. The air filter blocks the contaminants from getting into your engine.
When a technician shows you a dirty air filter, you’re likely to see something that looks like a donut or a square with paper-like pleats. While it looks like paper, the pleats of an air filter in a car is a lot thicker than cardboard; it’s more like felt. The pleats are porous to allow air to flow but they trap particles that could damage the car’s engine.
Check your Brakes
Brakes are so important that your car is designed to warn you if something isn’t right. Don’t ignore the brake warnings on your dashboard; you may be low in brake fluid. If you hear squealing when you apply your brakes, get your car into the repair shop. If you start to hear grinding sounds, it usually means your brake pads need replacement. Driving around with brakes that are not working can endanger you, your family, and others.
Check Your Tire Pressure
While you can easily check tire pressure on your own, it’s also smart to have your tire pressure checked when you take your car in for service. Read your car’s instruction manual to make sure that the pressure level is correct. Make sure that you spare tire is in good condition and ready for use should you need it.
Small Things Do Make a Difference
Little things, like keeping your car clean, driving safely, and paying attention to any noises that sound unusual, also extend the life of your car. There is never a reason to avoid regular check ups at your auto repair shop. A trusted, professional auto technician can help you identify and correct issues before they become costly repairs.