5 Aspects of Basic Car Maintenance

Owning or renting a vehicle requires responsibility. By completing simple tasks, you prevent major breakdowns from occurring that could cause extensive financial problems, harm to the auto, or worse, your passengers. Schedule time to inspect and maintain your automobile daily. It will only take you a total of a few minutes a day, and it will save you endless hours at the mechanic and thousands of dollars.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Checking Tire Pressure - Auto USA

Image via Flickr by State Farm

With modern technology, most newer vehicles have sensors that inform you of low tire pressure, but apart from heading to the nearest mechanic shop, how can you rectify that situation? Keep a tire gauge in the side pocket of the driver’s door, close to the sticker that displays the amount of air each tire needs. The digits written before PSI — per square inch — indicate the correct pressure for each tire. Also, run your hands over your tires and look for cracks, bulges, odd lumps, or low tread spots.

Inspect Your Oil

A great time to check your oil is when you set the gas pump to automatic. Since you have nothing to do but watch the gallons increase, take a minute to extract the dipstick and check the color of the oil. It should be amber. Dark oil indicates high heat or the presence of additives or contaminants. The oil level should be close to full. If there are no words on your dipstick, it should have two dots. The dot that is closest to the top of the dipstick when it is in its place is the full line. If you find yourself adding oil often, take your vehicle to a mechanic to get it checked out.

Clean Your Lights

Rub toothpaste on your light covers and leave it on for five minutes. Then wipe it off with water and a towel. You will be amazed how clean headlights affect visibility. When caravanning with other vehicles, ask the drivers in front and behind you to inform you if any of your lights are out. Also, laws require working lights on all vehicles on the road. Neglecting the status of your headlights, taillights, and brake lights could cause you to incur an infraction that could increase your insurance premium.

Windshield Washer Fluid

Assessing the level of your windshield wiper fluid is critical because being without it can lead to dangers on the road. While having water in the container is better than nothing, a gallon of washer fluid is inexpensive and will clean your glass better.

Complete Regular Maintenance

Regardless of your mechanical prowess, one thing you can make sure gets done is routine maintenance. Something as simple as getting an oil change every 3,000 to 10,000 miles depending on the vehicle and oil quality can extend the lifetime of your vehicle. Most technicians complete a thorough inspection of the automobile when they replace the oil to make sure the fluids are in good condition and at the right levels. Inspection is the best preventive against repairs. Be on the safe side and stay on top of car care, so you can transport your loved ones confidently.