Compared to the automobiles of just one or two generations ago, today’s modern car needs about as much maintenance as a vacuum cleaner. The problem is, most people still haven’t gotten used to that fact and either continue to ignore their car completely or totally overdo it with maintenance that isn’t necessary anymore.
The simple fact is that the answer to most maintenance questions are actually found in the owner’s manual that comes with every automobile. If you haven’t taken the time to read yours (and you really should), today’s blog will give you some good tips about avoiding car maintenance mistakes and saving money on your ride. Enjoy.
Tip 1: Taking care of your tires.
One of the easiest, and most overlooked, car maintenance tasks that can easily be accomplished by the average driver is simply to make sure that their car’s tires are always inflated correctly, and that they are rotated regularly. Underinflated tires waste gasoline and both under and overinflated tires wear out sooner. If you have five minutes, checking your tires once or twice a month to make sure they are inflated properly, and having them rotated every six months, is the best way to save gas and replace your tires less frequently.
Tip 2: Wiper blades.
Most people completely ignore their wiper blades, even if they are old, worn-out, damaged and aren’t doing much of a job. Of course, that all becomes much more important when it starts to rain, sleet or snow. Your best bet is to have them checked every time you have your oil changed and, if needed, get them replaced. You really should only need to do this about once every two years anyway.
Tip 3: Tuning up your car.
Today’s new cars are incredibly high-tech and no longer have things like carburetors that need to be adjusted regularly. In fact, most parts can go for 100,000 miles without a problem, so spending money on “tune-ups” is really a waste. Instead you should save your money for the big 60,000 and 100,000 mile checkups to make sure that things like or plug wires, timing belts and so forth are in good shape.
Tip 4: Gasoline grades.
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again; unless you have a very high-end luxury or sports car, there is almost no need for “super” gasoline. “Regular” will suffice and save you nearly 30% every time you fill up your tank.
Tip 5: Changing the oil.
It used to be that a car’s oil needed to be changed about every 3000 miles but today’s new cars can go quite a bit further between oil changes. In fact, some can actually go up to 15,000 miles! Follow the recommendations of your car’s handbook and your trusted auto shop to be sure you are not overdoing it with the oil changes.
Tip 6: Replacing the air filter.
Unless you live in an arid, dusty area of the country like Nevada or Arizona, your air filter can run for years without the need to be replaced. This is something that your mechanic can check when you have your oil changed and, even though a dirty air filter will definitely decrease your MPG, you probably won’t need to replace yours more than two or three times (at most) during your car’s life.
Tip 7: Don’t ignore your brakes.
Simply put, if your brakes sound, feel or respond differently than you’re used to, ask your mechanic to check them out immediately.
Tip 8: Use your garage to protect your car.
Our final tip is simply this; a car that is kept inside a garage will look better and last much longer than one kept outside. If you have the luxury of a garage but you are not using it because there’s so much junk that your car can’t fit inside, you’re really doing your automobile a disfavor.