People tend to love procrastinating, putting off doing something necessary to enjoy even just a little bit of free time. It is a challenge that we have all encountered at one point or another. While there have been cases that one managed to be lucky and managed to beat the deadline, some were not. In turn, they had to pay much for the consequences of procrastination. Pretty much like owning a car. If the car is still running fine and does not seem to have any issue, it can be very tempting to delay regular car check-ups and maintenance. One might think it can wait. It can’t. Many people spent lots of cash trying to repair their vehicles. The severity of the damages may vary but one thing is for sure – it happened because they took little notice of their cars’ preventive maintenance.
Preventive maintenance is like a scheduled check-up for your car. It can be done by yourself or by a professional mechanic. It is done for the purpose of maintaining the parts of your car and inspecting it so if defects are found, you can rectify it immediately and avoid major damages. It can save you a lot of trouble later. Here are some of the things you can do and check to begin your preventative maintenance.
- Review your owner’s manual. Most drivers forget to go back to the basics. Whatever questions you have regarding your car, the answers are there in your owner’s manual. It is made to help you better understand your car since every car has different parts and maintenance depending on the car’s manufacturer, year, model, and variant. You simply cannot assume that one’s car maintenance is also applicable to yours. The owner’s manual comes in handy because it includes the needed details like how often do you need to change your oil, what oil to use, and in what mileage? You cannot afford to make a mistake because it can cost you either a huge amount of money for repairs or your car’s warranty – if it still has a warranty.
- Familiarize your car. Familiarize your car by inspecting it personally regularly. You have to do this for you to know if there is something wrong with your car. You can easily spot anything that looks unusual or odd. Check where the parts are, understand what they are for. You don’t have to become an expert mechanic to keep a watch on the condition of your car if you are familiar with it. Don’t forget to always refer back to your owner’s manual.
- Check the fluids. Fluids play an important role in your car. It keeps the moving parts of your car stay lubricated. It keeps your car working and running. That is why it is important to check them regularly. Your car consists of different fluids. There’s brake fluid, power steering fluid, coolant, and motor oil. These fluids need to be changed regularly but not necessarily at the same time. They become less effective as they age and become dirty and gunky over time. For this reason, it is really important to change your car’s fluids periodically to keep them clean, uncontaminated and fresh. Though you can’t really change the fluids yourself, at least learn how to check the fluid levels of your vehicle. Always keep an eye on them. Using a dipstick, you can check your oil’s colour and its level. If the oil is way below the minimum mark, you may need to add oil. Make sure to have your car fixed immediately when you see any early sign of leakage. Some of the early signs can be determined by the colour of your oil. For example, if your oil looks milky or frothy, it could mean that there’s coolant leaking into your oil. Please go to your trusted repair shop when things like this happen as soon as possible.
- Check and clean the battery. Many of us want our car’s exterior to look sharp and clean all the time. While this is a good practice, we often forget that there are some parts that need cleaning too. One of them is the battery terminal. By cleaning it, you can get rid of any dirt build up that might cause battery corrosion. This can help your battery last longer and will save you a lot of trouble later. Clean it regularly and maintain the battery’s fluid levels – if your battery has one. You can also test your battery using a jump starter to know if it’s still good to go. You don’t want to be stuck in a car by a dead battery. One way to maintain its charge is by driving the car often. With proper care, regular checking and cleaning, following the recommendations of your owner’s manual, your car battery can last for many years.
- Replace windshield wipers. Many people tend to forget about this one. Windshield wipers are as vital as anything else. Your visibility while driving in extreme weather is important. Many overlooked this small part of the car until bigger problems happened. There are some things you can do to make your wiper blades efficient and prolong its life. When you gas up, you can clean the windshields and remove any dirt or anything that might cause damage to the blades. Wipe it with a damp, soft cloth. It is also a safe habit to pull your wiper blades up away from the windshield when it’s freezing outside. Do not use your blades to remove ice build ups on the windshield. Wiper blades also become less effective over time. If the view gets streaky or blurry, replace it as soon as possible. Wipers don’t cost much and you can replace it yourself.
- Periodic tire rotation. Tires that are maintained well improve the safety of your car. The safety of your car means your safety too. One way to protect your tires is by tire rotation. It is mostly done by your trusted automotive professionals. Tire rotation is important because tires wear down differently depending on where they are positioned. If you are using a front-wheel drive vehicle, your front wheels are doing all the hard work and they wear down quicker than the rear tires. By doing the tire rotation, your tires will be removed, swapped and will be mounted again. This process allows the tires to even out their wear and extend their life as a set. More savings for you since you don’t have to buy new sets of tires all the time.
- Wheel Alignment. Another way to improve the lifespan of your tires is by doing the wheel alignment periodically. This is also done by professionals. It is done to make sure your tires are perfectly aligned. Misalignment can happen when your car hits big bumps, potholes, driving on uneven roads or from getting into an accident. Bad driving habits can also cause it. When your wheels are not accurately aligned, you might encounter different problems. You might feel that your steering is difficult to control. You may experience a pull that steers your car to the right or left making it difficult for you to drive in a straight line. Wheel alignment is not just a preventative care, but it is also done to ensure your safety.
- Spark plugs. Spark plugs are tiny but powerful. It plays a crucial role in the car’s operation as it releases small electricity that creates the ignition to start your car. It powers up your car and is responsible for the whole car’s combustion engine. Because of its role, it is safe to say that one should not forget or delay its periodic replacement. If you don’t do it and your spark plug is worn out, you could experience some engine problems like engine misfiring, slow acceleration, uneven idling, difficult starting, and it is also the main cause of excessive fuel consumption. If you don’t want to pay more cash for those additional fuels and wouldn’t want to wait for an engine breakdown, you better set a reminder to change your car’s spark plug. You can check your owner’s manual for the recommended replacement interval. Depending on what car you own, checking and replacing them can be done easily. Don’t try to change it yourself if you are not that confident.
- Replace the air filters. There are two types of filters that you should replace regularly – the cabin air filter and the engine air filter. Changing your car’s air filters protect its overall air conditioning system. While it doesn’t do much for the car’s whole operation, it protects the passengers. Cabin air filters are the one responsible for cleaning the air flowing into the car before it is breathed in. Ensuring a healthy environment inside it. When the cabin air filter becomes dirty and has not been replaced, the flow of air into the car will decrease. Pollutants and allergens may dwell in the air inside the car. Dirty cabin filters can also cause the heater and the air conditioner to cease working. It is another problem you can easily prevent if you replace your filters regularly. While the cabin air filters protect the passengers, the engine air filter’s purpose is to protect the car’s engine. It protects the engine from any debris it encounters as you drive. Though it can also filter pollutants, its main purpose is to filter anything that goes into the engine. It filters insects, debris, and any form of dirt. If one happens to successfully enter into the engine, it will wear out quicker. The pollutants in large quantities can damage internal engine components and it is not very cheap to fix or replace. Changing your filters is easy and is something you can do yourself.
- Serpentine belts. Serpentine belts are always in use when your car is running. For that reason, they are very susceptible to wear and tear. It is like a one big, rubber band that is responsible for powering up the car’s alternator, water pump, power steering pump, and air conditioner. It keeps them running effectively and smoothly. If the belt slips or breaks, everything will stop working. While serpentine belts are usually built to last, it doesn’t mean you can forget about it. Some belts need to be adjusted or checked since it can wear down over time. Take time to check the serpentine belts periodically. Look out for signs of wear and tear like losing of flexibility, hardening, and cracks. Replace it when it’s old for it can severely damage the parts it controls.
- Covers work. While it seems so simple, it is rather effective on maintaining your car. Covering your car can help protect your car from the harsh weathers, birds, pests, and falling leaves. It can help maintain your paint and interior in excellent condition. Invest on a good car cover to make sure that it will last long.
These are just some of the things you need to check and do regularly for your car’s preventative care. Always consult your owner’s manual if there are other things you need to check that are not included in this list. Most of the things that are listed above can be done on your own. Though some of it requires professional help, it only takes a small portion of your time and money compared to what you will have to pay if it turns out to be a bigger problem. Remember, it is always a good idea to maintain your car as it can save you a lot of unnecessary repairs that could probably hurt your wallet. Having a regular schedule of maintenance can also give you a peace of mind knowing that your car is in its top working condition. Make it a habit to conduct regular car maintenance check-ups. As you take good care of your car, it will also take good care of you and will ensure your safety all the time.