People who drive know how important it is to maintain the car they own. The newer your car is, the better it runs. But eventually, it starts demanding a little attention. Some essential car maintenance tips will go a long way in maintaining your car’s value as an asset and keep it running like new. However, new or old, all vehicles do need regular maintenance to run efficiently. UrbanClap brings you a simplified knowledge, sub-divided by category, about basic car maintenance hacks. These tips apply to pretty much every car owner – from those who have a business fleet to specialists such as a limo service, to the weekend hobbyist. It isn’t very difficult. We’ve listed below some of the most basic car-care guidelines you should know to keep your vehicle in a very good shape.
1. Oil-Changing Intervals
One of the biggest questions that every car owner asks is how often should you change the oil. For several years, experts have been recommending oil changes after every 5,000 km. But ever since modern technology has come in, most auto manufacturers recommend oil changes between 12,000 and 15,000 km.
Tips to keep your oil clean!
- In a new vehicle, you can trust the oil-life monitor to tell you when to change your oil next.
- You can refer to your car’s user manual as well for the recommended oil- change intervals.
- You can use a dipstick to check your oil level. If it is less, then add more oil. If it looks dirty, then change the oil.
Make it a habit to keep track and note down the mileage of your car whenever you change the oil or get it done by a mechanic. Use a small notebook or manual to write down dates and the mileage on that date to help you figure out when to change your car’s oil next time.
2. Brake Checks
Driving in a heavy traffic every day puts a lot of pressure on your brakes. So, if that is a part of your daily routine, or in case your car gives a lot of mileage every year, it’s important that you know the right time to get your brakes checked.
There are several signs that will help you figure out when the brakes of your car need a check-up. Keep an eye out for these:
- If you hear a high-pitched squealing while braking.
- If the car’s steering wheel vibrates when you slow down or stop.
- If you hear hardcore metal-on-metal grinding sounds.
- If the time taken to stop your car has increased, or you need to put in more effort on the brake pedal.
- If your car gets pulled to one side while applying the brake.
- If there is a foul smell when you pull the brakes.
Of course, the worst and most dangerous sign is when you are on the road, and you have applied a break, and you are still unable to bring the car to a halt. To prevent such a situation, keep taking your car for routine brake checks if you notice any of the above signs.
Also read Car Cleaning At Home – Top 10 Hacks!
3. Tire Maintenance
Maintaining the health of your tires can go a long way in helping you save money and preventing dangerous driving situations. So, it’s good to know how and when to check on your tires. Here is a category wise information:
- Tires that are under-inflated can put you at high risk of damage or even a blowout. They also decrease the fuel efficiency of your car.
- In the user manual, you can find the optimal PSI for your car and get your tire pressure checked at least once a month accordingly.
- If you want to check the tire pressure yourself, follow the user manual steps. You can start with a gauge to check the PSI.
1. Tread is the surface of your tires and it keeps your car running on the road. When your tires get worn out, there are increased chances that your car may slip, especially on wet or icy roads.
2. When you can see your tread all worn out, get your tires replaced. It’s wise to check your tread around once a month.
1. It is good to rotate your tires as that helps maintain your car’s fuel efficiency and prevents irregular wear and tear.
2. To see the recommended rotation intervals, you can check your user manual.
3. If you see any signs of wear, then rotate your tires sooner.
- Balance & Alignment:
- Balancing your tires will ensure your car doesn’t get pulled on one side. It also prevents your tires from wearing out early.
- Always remember to balance and align your car tires while changing the oil or replacing tires.
4. Power Steering
There is a hydraulic fluid reservoir in your car. Make sure your garage fills it whenever you get your car serviced. Then your job will be to check its levels once a month. If necessary, you can add more of the recommended fluid.
Regular cleaning, polishing and rust maintenance can help protect your motor from exterior elements. As time passes, the paint of your car gets dull. To give it a newer look, apply polish and elbow-grease. Around once a week, a general clean-up will be good enough to wash off debris and corrosive elements from your car. Every three or four months, your motor will benefit from waxing; it also makes the motor shine like new.
All car lights must be checked once a week. These include indicators, reversing lights, brake lights, and fog lights. Also look out for any frozen dirt on the lenses or broken or cracked bulbs.
The car’s coolant level must be between the Min and Max level as per the user manual. You can check this once a week when the car ignition is off, and the engine is cold.
Winter tip: You should get your antifreeze checked and topped up if needed before the winter sets in.
It is common to have flying stones hitting your windscreen and cracking it. But people tend to take them lightly and take no action. However, remember that if you don’t get them repaired, the cracks can grow. If the damage is such that it cannot be repaired and is at a crucial place – say, right in front of your driving seat or a place that easily distracts you, then you may need to replace the windscreen.
9. Air Filter
- People who live in polluted cities and drive in a lot of traffic through dusty areas or construction sites must get their air filters checked more often.
- You can get your filters checked during your routine oil checks.
10. Hoses and Belts
- As your car starts losing its newness, the first parts to deteriorate are the rubber ones.
- Check under the hood regularly for any holes or cracks as rubber parts can wear out with drastic changes in weather.
11. Windscreen Wiper Blades
- Wiper blades need to be intact. If they are cracked or broken, they can hinder visibility by not working properly.
- If you drive through drastic weather conditions such as heavy rain or snowfall, you should replace them often.
- To prevent smearing, you should replace them once a year anyway.
12. Don’t Skip a Scheduled Service
Our hectic schedules, it becomes difficult to check on our cars. Take care not to miss your scheduled service appointments. Usually, your user manual will contain information about your scheduled car maintenance services. A regular maintenance service involves checking or replacing minor parts such as spark plugs, wires, and timing belts. With more and more services, major parts also start demanding attention and may need replacing in order to keep your vehicle running efficiently and safely. Servicing your car will also ensure you attract more buyers and get a noteworthy value for your car if you plan to resell it.
13. Wash It
Washing doesn’t just get the dust off your vehicle, it maintains the new look of your car. There are many regular exterior elements that, if not removed or cleaned regularly, can damage the car’s body, strip away its wax and dull down the paint. Be it dead bugs, bird droppings, pollution, dirt or other chemicals, they can all accumulate on your car layer by layer and ruin the shine. For mild cleaning, use a sponge or soft cloth; make sure it’s not abrasive. Ensure you have no particles of dirt trapped in the sponge as this can scratch the paint. Don’t forget to wash the windows too – it’s a tried-and-tested trick to polish them off with newspaper. Use a product designed specifically for cars and not your regular dishwashing soap.
These car-maintenance tips can take your car a long way and ensure its long, healthy life. Which means that you and your family can enjoy those relaxing drives to the fullest.