If you’ve ever had the nightmare experience of buying a car that’s a total lemon, you’ll surely know the value of regular car maintenance.
Keeping your car well maintained is the secret to it’s longevity. You’ve probably seen a car that looks like it may have been around to witness dinosaurs roaming the earth, but surprisingly, it looks and sounds healthy. A well maintained car can outlive a newer car which hasn’t been properly maintained and cared for.
The good news is proper car maintenance isn’t hard, and often it’s the small things like checking your performance brakes, fluid levels, battery, tire pressure and lights that will go a long way in keeping your vehicle well maintained.
If you choose to be lazy and neglect your car without proper vehicle maintenance, you will start to notice a decrease in the overall performance of your vehicle. Not only that, but when it comes time to sell your car, it’s value will be significantly less than it would be if you had properly cared for and maintained it.
Vehicle Maintenance Tips to Help Save You Money
Putting in just a little more effort into car maintenance can really go a long way in keeping your beloved car healthy and running for longer. Let’s jump into some car maintenance tips that can help in preventing or delaying the need for otherwise unnecessary repairs.
Change The Oil
Changing your cars oil is one of the easiest and most essential do-it-yourself vehicle maintenance tasks. It’s crucial in keeping your car in good running condition, but the other thing to remember is that neglecting to change your oil on time and not using the proper oil could void your car’s warranty.
So how often should you change your oil? Well that really depends. The sweet spot could be anywhere between 2000km and 16,000km, it depends on a number of factors. If your frequenting many short trips of around 15km or less, it may be wise to consider changing your oil more than every 5000km. On the flip side, if your using synthetic oil (on a car which it’s recommended), you could drive as many as 15,000km before changing your oil.
Keep The Battery Clean
Batteries are easily affected by corrosion, which forms on the terminals of your cars battery. Keeping them clean is an easy car maintenance practice that can prevent you and your car being stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Quality batteries can be costly, a basic wire brush is only a few dollars. All you need to do is put aside a few minutes twice a year to inspect your battery and clean any corrosion. It will go a long way.
Replace The Air Filter
Your car’s air filter is essential in maintaining your car’s performance. Air filters prevent small particles from being sucked into your car’s engine, potentially causing serious damage. Air filters also increase fuel efficiency, reduce emissions and prolong engine life. Suffice to say, changing your air filter is one car maintenance tip that you will regret not following.
If your air filter has been damaged in any way, it should be replaced immediately. It is also recommended to change your air filter at regular intervals, ideally every 19,000 to 24,000km’s.
Use High Octane Fuel
As cars age, over time, carbon deposits within the engine can increase the engines octane rating. This happens gradually, so generally newer cars won’t benefit from high octane fuel as much as older cars will (unless it’s been specified by the manufacturer). High octane fuel also helps in cleaning out your carburettor!
Change Your Brake Pads
As with many basic car maintenance tasks, changing your brake pads is one that the industry has led consumers to believe it’s much harder than it really is. But here’s the good news, you don’t need to take your car into your local mechanic for a basic brake pad change. You can do it yourself. New brake pads are cheap and installation is relatively easy with the right tools.
Most mechanics will tell you that the right time to change your brake pads is when the lining has about 3-4mm remaining.
Check Your Suspension System
The suspension systems responsibility is keeping a smooth ride and stabilizing the vehicle. Keeping your suspension system in good condition is incredibly important but an often overlooked aspect of vehicle maintenance.
Neglecting to care for your car’s suspension system will not only decrease stability and driver control, it’s damage will wear on other components of the suspension system, causing excess unnecessary damage.
You should check your suspension every 25,000 to 50,000km.
Check Your Fluids
Checking your car’s fluids is one of the easiest car maintenance checks you can follow. Checking the fluid levels of your coolant, antifreeze, brake fluid and wiper fluid are generally very easy and intuitive, but if you are unsure where to find each fluid, consult your car’s owners manual. If you find a fluid is low, make sure you top it up.
Additionally, check to make sure you don’t have any leaks.
Get Your Tyres Rotated Regularly
Regular tire rotation is a simple and cost effective way of extending the life of your car’s tyres. All 4 tyres on your car do not wear out in the same way, depending on a number of factors, the front or back sets of tyres may wear out quicker than the others, creating an imbalance. Getting your tyres rotated is a good way of evening things out, one that can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars.
It’s recommended to rotate your tyres every 5000 to 8000km.
Inspect Your Car’s Belts and Hoses
Regular inspection of your belts and hoses is a car maintenance tip that can save you large mechanics bills down the line. Worn belts can cause damage to other components of your vehicle, resulting in unnecessary repair costs. Radiator hoses that don’t function properly could result in your engine overheating, which you really don’t want.