20 Essential Car Maintenance Tips
The modern automobile is no longer just a piece of luxury that only individuals of stature can have the bragging rights of owning. Almost everyone, every family, has a vehicle to call their own. For many, it has become an important extension of their house. Some have even decided to forego with the whole house ownership idea and instead opt for a mobile home, giving them the freedom to ‘live’ wherever their vehicles take them. For many, it’s an important part of business, providing mobility when public transportation simply isn’t the best choice.
For others, it’s the best way to enjoy the many beautiful sights and experiences the world has to offer. Whatever the reason, the vehicle is here to stay and will continue to be a very important part of man’s evolutionary development. That is why it is imperative to keep your car in tip-top shape so you’ll get to enjoy all the benefits that you derive from it.
We have prepared a very comprehensive car maintenance checklist to help you keep your vehicle in optimum operating performance.
Importance of Car Maintenance
Like we already said, there are a lot of reasons why you need to employ even basic car maintenance. We have listed below some of the more compelling reason why maintaining your car is very important.
As we shall learn later on, making a comprehensive car maintenance checklist and adhering to it can help make your vehicle run a lot more efficiently. More importantly, however, is that we can help ensure that all of the critical components of the vehicle are running smoothly or functioning optimally. This helps us improve safety while driving, although accidents can still occur through no fault of our own. Every day, hundreds of people die because of traffic accidents secondary to a faulty brake system, poor tire treads, and worn out drive belts, just to name a few. Thousands more lay in hospital beds nursing their injuries and tens of thousands more are trying to overcome the emotional trauma brought about by such accidents. Basic car maintenance, while it doesn’t prevent accidents directly, can help improve our safety and that of others whenever we take to the road.
Enhances reliability and performance
Certain components of our car are naturally more vulnerable to wear. By performing regular maintenance checks, we can help ensure the optimum functioning of these parts so that when we do need them, we’ll feel more confident that these parts will pull us through out of any given situation.
Saves you expensive repair costs
How much does an average car maintenance cost? The actual cost actually depends on the type of vehicle, your driving habits, and the various types of products that you use in your maintenance. To give you an idea, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, it usually costs about $8,000 to own and operate an average vehicle. This is broken down into $3,800 as the average cost of purchasing a vehicle while the remaining will be broken down into motor oil and gasoline expenses as well as other vehicle-related costs. This is under normal operating conditions. Suppose your car has a damaged engine because of failure to do basic maintenance, you’re actually looking at several thousands of dollars more in repairs. Sometimes, the cost of major repair will be more than 50% of the cost it would take you to purchase a new vehicle of the same model and make. Performing regular maintenance checks can help you avoid costly repairs from major problems.
Higher resale value
A well-maintained car can command a much higher value in the resale market than a car that has been obviously neglected. Also, potential car buyers are now more meticulous about their choices. And with the growth of information technology, they can easily gain information on the prevailing market rates of different car brands. Even those who only have a rudimentary understanding of cars can be quite meticulous that they would like to see records of maintenance activities performed on the car they would like to buy. You cannot blame them really because that is also exactly what you will be doing if you were to buy another car. Being able to prove that your car is well-maintained tells the buyer that you are taking good care of it and that you’re not going to part with it except at the price that you want.
Contributes to cleaner environment
Okay, your car may run on fossil fuel but this doesn’t mean you cannot contribute, somehow, to a cleaner environment. Making sure that your engine oil is not burnt, that everything is running smoothly, and that there are no leaks whatsoever from the various pipes that run across your vehicle can also contribute to a cleaner environment. It may not be as ecologically friendly as those that run on hybrid or electric engines, but remember this, a well-maintained car will produce consistently lower levels of harmful fumes and fluids that can potentially pollute the air and bodies of water.
Minimizes roadside emergencies
We’re pretty sure some of us, if not all, have already experienced having a flat tire or an overheating engine while on the road that we really have to pull over and make quick fixes, if ever it can be fixed at all. In many cases we’re left with no choice but to call for roadside assistance, someone to jump start our car, an emergency car battery delivery, or even a towing service. The point is that many of these roadside emergencies can actually be prevented just by adhering to the periodic maintenance schedule of our respective vehicles. It is a lot cheaper and won’t make a dent on your average car maintenance cost.
Reading the Owner’s Manual
Most of us are guilty of not paying too much attention to the owner’s manual that comes with our vehicles. We are all just raring to get behind the wheel and take it for a spin. The thing is that there are a lot of information in the owner’s manual that pertains to how you can optimize the performance and functioning of your vehicle. It also gives you information on the things that need to be checked, how these should be checked, what manifestations or signs and symptoms you need to assess, and when you need to perform these checks. There are also recommendations on what models or types of parts and accessories you can put into your car.
As you will see in our succeeding presentations, we will always refer you back to the car maintenance checklist that is printed on the pages of the owner’s manual. Things like tire pressure, the type of light bulb to use in headlights and signal lights, as well as the type of oil you need to put into your engine, among others are all found in your owner’s manual. If the vehicle you bought doesn’t come with a manual, as is often the case in second-hand vehicles, you can still obtain a copy of the manual from the vehicle manufacturer itself. Alternatively, you can search the internet and download the owner’s manual of your vehicle.
Using the wrong parts or products on your car can seriously undermine its roadworthiness. It may not be apparent immediately, but over time, the problems will arise. By then, you’d be faced with very expensive repairs that include replacement parts and labor. In some cases the cost of repairs is too high that you’re better off buying a new car.
So before putting the key into the ignition, make sure you have thoroughly read the manual. Even professional racers and car enthusiasts read them because of its importance. It gives them an idea on the keep the vehicle it top shape. Plus they can get the best performance even from a so-called non-performance car.