10 Basic Car Maintenance Tips | Car Maintenance Checklist
10 Basic Car Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Car Rolling Well Past 100,000 Miles
Your car is much like your body. The more care you give it, the longer it will last. There are 10 basic car maintenance tips that if performed consistently, will help you prolong the life (and performance) of your car. Some of these tips may seem like common sense — but there are also some little known tips in the mix, too. And when all 10 tips become part of your overall Car Maintenance Checklist, your vehicle will run smoothly for years to come.
Car Maintenance Tips #1 – Replace Your Power Steering Fluid
Be honest, when was the last time you replaced your power steering fluid? If you are like most drivers, the answer might be “not sure”. The fluids in your car are its lifeblood and in most cases they need to be replaced at regular intervals. If not, the fluids collect debris resulting in clogging and overworking your engine or other components inside your vehicle. This could lead to an expensive repair job that we can all do without. Check your vehicle’s Owner’s Manual to determine the recommended mileage for having your power steering fluid replaced.
Car Maintenance Tips #2 – More Fluid Replacement
Many fluids contain additives that lose their effectiveness over time. Therefore, it is recommended to completely replace all fluids i.e. oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant, etc. according to your vehicle’s manufacturer specifications. However, in some vehicles, certain fluids may be contained in a permanently sealed reservoir making it unnecessary to replace. This will be noted in your Owner’s Manual if this special feature pertains to your vehicle.
Car Maintenance Tips #3 – Timing Belt Replacement
One of the most important car maintenance tasks is to have your timing belt inspected regularly and then replaced when necessary. Engine damage caused by a broken timing belt can be extremely expensive to repair. And unfortunately, at some point, your timing belt will break if it is not proactively replaced. It is also a good idea to have your service technician inspect your vehicle’s water pump at the same time. In some vehicles, a new timing belt tensioner could also be necessary as part of the process.
Car Maintenance Tips #4 – Serpentine Belt Inspection
Have your serpentine belts inspected for signs of cracking, missing ribbing, or brittleness as part of your car maintenance checklist. Although these belts are designed to work in a hot engine compartment, this doesn’t mean they will last forever. Be proactive and avoid costly repairs by making sure regular inspections are done.
Car Maintenance Tips #5 – Check Your Tire Tread
Your tires are another important factor. It is extremely important to ensure your tires are in good working order because they represent your sole source of contact with the road! The inflation level and tread depth of each tire should be checked. Also inspect for signs of cracking, bulging, and uneven wear as part of your checklist. If you feel your vehicle pulling to one side, it is likely time for an alignment check or adjustment as well. Remember, you can extend the life of your tires by having them rotated consistently. You can also increase your fuel efficiency by checking your tire pressure regularly.
Car Maintenance Tips #6 – Brake Inspections and Maintenance
Maintaining your brakes is also extremely important. The pads and/or shoes should be inspected to ensure there is enough material left to safely stop your vehicle. If your car has disc brakes, the rotors should be checked for pitting, warping, or uneven wear. If any of these signs are detected, the rotors may require turning. If the rotors need to be turned, you might as well have the brake pads replaced at the same time.
Car Maintenance Tips #7 – Plugs and Filters
It is recommended by most car manufacturers to replace other items as well, such as spark plugs. This is a fairly simple chore and helps with your 100,000 Mile Car Maintenance Checklist. In addition, your fuel filter, air filter and PCV valve should also be inspected regularly and replaced when necessary.
Car Maintenance Tips #8 – Rust Inspection
Yes, you should proactively conduct rust inspections in the areas you may have never thought to look — under your car! When having your oil changed, please ask your service technician to inspect for rust or any other damage to the undercarriage of your vehicle. If rust is detected soon enough, it can be taken care of so that it does not shorten the life of your vehicle.
Car Maintenance Tips #9 – Rubber Hoses
Be sure to keep an eye on the condition of the rubber hoses under your hood such as the coolant and oil supply lines, vacuum hoses, and fuel lines as part of your car maintenance checklist. Cracks and/or leaks will occur if any of your hoses or lines become brittle, etc.
Car Maintenance Tips #10 – Lubricating Joints
And last by not least, be sure to lubricate any moving hinges and/or joints such as doors and seats as the last step on your car maintenance checklist. This will help you avoid the very loud and embarrassing squeak when opening or closing your doors in public!
Follow these 10 Basic Car Maintenance Tips and you will have a great chance of your vehicle moving well beyond the 100,000 mile mark.