You don’t have to be a certified mechanic to keep your car healthy and on the road. With just these five simple car maintenance tips, anyone can improve the performance, extend the life, and save money on the repair of their car.
Follow this easy guide, and you’ll find yourself arriving at Point B time and time again.
5 Tips to Maintaining Your Car
- Change your oil.
It’s important to change your oil on a regular schedule every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or so. There are essentially two ways to change your oil: Do it yourself or take your car to a service shop and let a certified professional do it. No matter which route you choose, changing your oil keeps the moving parts of your engine properly lubricated and prevents the breakdown of parts that rub together.
- Replace windshield wiper blades.
Driving through a hard rain with a poor set of wiper blades is not just difficult, it’s dangerous. It’s recommended that wiper blades be changed every year, and this 10-minute, 10-dollar fix is well worth the investment. Most sets of wiper blades will include a set of instructions for how to take the old ones out and put the new ones in.
- Replace the air filter.
A dirty air filter can negatively affect your gas mileage, emissions, and acceleration. And at only $10-15, it’s a wise investment to change your filter once every 12,000 miles or so. The air filter is located under the hood in a rectangular box and held in place by some clips. Simply unfasten the clips, remove the old filter, pop the new one in, and fasten the clips again. If you have your oil changed at a service shop, they can easily replace your filter at the same time.
- Change the spark plugs.
Changing spark plugs may sound intimidating to a novice, but it’s actually a simple process. A faulty spark plug can cause your engine to misfire, reduce acceleration, make it difficult to start your car and even drain your battery dead. The spark plugs will need to be replaced when your car reaches 80,000 to 100,000 miles.
Your car will have either four, six, or eight spark plugs that are visibly located under the hood and attached to thick wires. Using a socket wrench, remove the wire and spark plugs one at a time and then insert the news ones and re-attach the wires one at a time.
- Maintain the cooling system.
Summer is upon us and it’s important to plan accordingly for the hot weather. Maintaining your cooling system will ensure that sitting in traffic on a hot day doesn’t leave you stranded on the side of the road thanks to an overheated car. To do this:
- Top off your radiator with coolant
- Flush the radiator with a chemical that washes away buildup and debris
- Make sure the radiator cap is snug and secure
- Check hoses for cracks
By following these simple maintenance tips, you’ll get the most out of your car while your mechanic gets the least out of your pocket.