Do It Yourself Vehicle Maintenance
It’s important to take care of your car. That way, it will last you a lot longer, and you’ll get more of your money’s worth out of it. There are essential steps you can take to minimize the amount of repairs your vehicle will need throughout its life. You will still need to drop your car off at the shop some eventually, but by doing the things we’re about to tell you about, you can greatly minimize this. Some people think using higher octane fuel will keep you out of the shop more, too, but this isn’t really true. Just use the minimum octane your owner’s manual requires.
Oil Checks and Changes
The most important thing you can do is to check your oil once a week. When it’s low, add whatever kind your owner’s manual indicates your car uses. You’ll also want to actually get a complete oil change regularly, too. Again, your owner’s manual will tell you how often. We have two tips for you to keep in mind when you check your oil. First, your car should be on a level surface. Second, you should do so only after you engine has had time to cool down. Following these two precautions will prevent you from getting a false reading when you check your oil.
You should maintain your tires, too. This will give you better gas mileage and improve the safety of your vehicle. During your weekly oil check, take a walk around your vehicle. Look at your tires. What you want to make sure is that the grooves in your tires are deep enough. This is called “tread.” When your tread is low, you will need to replace your tires. You also want to use a tire gauge to make sure the air pressure in your tires is where it needs to be. The tread will wear out on the front tires first, so when you see it wearing thin, you can switch your front and back tires. You’ll still need to replace them before you see any metal poking out, though.
When To Call a Pro
Even with proper maintenance habits, your car will eventually require attention from a professional mechanic. In short, any problem you notice but don’t know how to fix yourself should motivate a trip to at least have it checked out. One of the most common examples of this is when your car is making some kind of funny noise. Not starting is another common problem, but that could be something as simple as just needing a jump. It might also indicate that you’ll need to replace the battery soon. Other causes of not starting could be the alternator or the starter. Bigger problems for which you would need to see a mechanic include transmission issues and engine problems.
Check Engine Lights
Speaking of engine problems, you might see your car’s “check engine” light come on eventually. If you take your car to an auto parts store, they will diagnose the problem for free. If you follow the advice we’ve given you, and take your car in for a tune-up every now and then, this will be a very rare occurrence.