Top Five Car Maintenance Tips
Getting a vehicle is one thing – keeping it on the road is another! Maintaining your car, truck, SUV, or motorcycle is imperative to get the longest and best life out of it. Maintenance is a way of protecting your investment and ensuring that it does everything you need it to do, now and into the future.
We don’t necessarily always have time to give our vehicles the most thorough maintenance, though. And while you can’t miss taking your vehicle into your service center for regular check-ups, there are maintenance and regular checks you want to perform on your vehicle between these visits. What are the Top 5 car maintenance tips for your car, truck, or SUV?
Oil Check and Change
Modern oils and new formulations allow your car or truck to tolerate going a while in between oil changes. Some can even make it up to 7500 miles in between services! Still, that doesn’t mean that you don’t open up the hood and take a look. Especially if you put limited miles on, you’ll want to pop the hood every 2,000 miles or so at least to take a gander at your dipstick. Make sure it isn’t lower than expected or dirtier than expected. By keeping an eye on your oil between scheduled servicing, you can catch issues before they expand and prevent harm to your vehicle!
Kick Some Tires
Tires wear at varying rates, so you have to keep an eye on them and check them regularly. Modern tires are meant to last 50,000 miles or more. However, depending on where you drive, that could be more or less. Ugly, beat-up roads – like those found in Appalachia, in the backcountry, or across much of the northeast and Midwest – can tear up rubber faster than the smooth sailing of pristine Florida highways. Check your tires every month or so, make sure the treads are still deep enough, have no uneven wear spots, and no punctures or other damage.
Checking the air in your tires is another part of this. Almost every new vehicle has low air indicators on them, and they have been common for years. Unfortunately, those are not always the most reliable air pressure indicators, and all too often, they will come on at inopportune times. Check air pressure as the seasons change and before taking trips. If a tire looks low any other time, do your best to check it ASAP, either with an expensive tire pressure tool or at an air pump.
Looking good isn’t just about showing off – it’s also functional! Keeping a vehicle clean inside and out will help to extend its lifespan. Regular washing and waxing can prevent rust from forming, protecting your chassis and bodywork from damage. Particularly in winter, if you live in a snowy or icy region, you need to get the salt residue off your vehicle’s sides and undercarriage.
You can’t just go with the exterior clean, though. Ensure to open the hood and clean your engine bay to keep dirt out of your engine and the various intakes. Leaves, pine needles, even animal debris can get into vent openings and raise issues. An overly dirty engine bay can also make the other maintenance – oil checks, fluid checks, etc. – more of a chore.
Finally, cleaning the interior is beneficial maintenance for the long term as well. Regular interior cleanings keep fabrics clean and flexible to avoid staining and tearing over time. You can clean and protect hard surfaces as well – keep glass scratch-free and clear and keep dashboards from deteriorating due to sun exposure.
Check Your Fluids
Your vehicle runs on fluids – but it’s more than just fuel and oil that keep it going! Brake fluid ensures stopping power, and it must be kept full and clear of debris. Make sure to check it regularly. Engine coolant needs to be kept full, and you need to make sure the coolant is the proper balance of antifreeze and water, as recommended by the antifreeze maker or car maker. This is a year-round task – don’t be tempted to overload with antifreeze in the winter or dilute with extra water in the summer.
Automatic transmission fluid lubricates the gears in your automatic transmission while inhibiting rust and corrosion and reducing wear and tear. If it gets dirty, it won’t work as well – not to mention, signs of metal in the fluid can signify a larger issue in your transmission. Power steering fluid helps augment the steering wheel and makes it easier for drivers to guide the car. Dirty fluid or a low level of fluid can cause the steering to become resistant and balky.
All of these fluids can be checked and filled easily! Every other month or so, pop your hood and give everything a once-over. That being said, if you come across an instance where you need full fluid replacement, full system flushes are best left to trained technicians.
Brakes usually tell you when they are going bad, with screeching or scraping – this is a sign you need your brake pads replaced. The importance of your brakes cannot be stressed enough. Brake pads come with built-in wear indicators that produce that noise, or, in modern cars, electronic monitors will alert you. Another sign would be your car pulling to the side under braking – lopsided braking signals uneven wear or warping.
Specialized Maintenance and Auto Transport
For some vehicles – particularly exotic vehicles – not all maintenance can be done on your own or even nearby. For some, you may need to take your vehicle to a specialized repair shop. In others, you may have let your maintenance go too long and might be worried about actually making the trip.
In either case, you should look into getting an auto transporter to move your vehicle. Luckily, here at Number 1 Auto Transport, we are used to dealing with exotics, supercars, motorcycles, SUVs, and everything else! If you need your car, truck, SUV or motorcycle maintained but didn’t want to put heavy mileage on it to get it to the nearest specialist; we’re the team you want shipping your car to the maintenance provider! Talk to our team today to see how we can help!