The Preventive Maintenance You Should Do on Your Car


Driving might well be one of the greatest skills that anyone can ever learn, but car ownership doesn’t come cheap. By the time you’ve bought and insured your vehicle, it’s likely that you’ll have spent quite a sum – and that’s before you’ve taken the price of gas and maintenance into account.  


Consequently, the last thing any driver needs is to face the crippling costs of expensive repair jobs. Prevention is always the best form of protection, which is why all motorists should familiarize themselves with the jobs below. While some are quite simple to do yourself, others may require special tools and a car lift, which may be better left to a professional. But even if you can’t do the job yourself, it’s important to have them done when required, to save on costly repair bills down the road. They’ll enhance your experiences behind the wheel, while saving you a lot of money in the long run. In some cases, they might just save your life too.


Tire Pressure

Your tires cover a lot of miles, and that constant contact with various terrains means that they need more attention than most parts of the vehicle. Given that they have a huge influence on safety, comfort, and fuel economy, you’d be a fool to ignore the air pressure any longer.


Checking tire pressure is as easy as unscrewing the cap and putting a tire pressure gauge into the valve. Simply set the recommended PSI for your vehicle (found on the side of the driver’s door and in the manual) and most air pump machines will indicate once you’ve reached that level. Screw the cap back on, and your drive will instantly feel smoother. This can slow the general wear and tear on treads to extend the tire life too. Keep in mind the tire pressure will increase when the tires are hot, such as after a long drive, and will decrease in cold weather.


Many late-model cars will indicate when there is an issue with air pressure. Other maintenance jobs can include alignment and balance. This way, you’ll be far less likely to encounter the need to change all four at once – which is very expensive indeed.


Oil Changes

Late model cars don’t require oil changes as often as they once did. Nonetheless, ensuring that you do this job when it is recommended will keep the engine parts properly lubricated. This keeps the whole car performing as it should for a far longer lifespan. If you are physically able to do the job yourself, it’s not very difficult. And if that’s not the case, there are often discounted prices available at many service centers.


Before completing an oil change, you must let the car cool down. Locate the oil pan and drain the old oil while also removing the filter. Replace with a new filter, filling it to around the two-third mark. Fill the engine’s oil using a funnel and check the levels using your dip stick. Job done.


Fluid Levels

In addition to the oil, there are various other fluids that need to be monitored. From transmission fluids and brake fluids to windshield washer fluids, those elements are crucial for smoother running. Not only do they aid comfort and safety, but they can prevent small issues from escalating into something worse.


Most of those things can be seen either directly or via dip sticks. Meanwhile, checking antifreeze can go a long way to protecting the vehicle throughout the colder months. Given that this is the time of year where those annoying problems are likely to surface, taking those precautions is key.


Battery Maintenance

Falling victim to a dead battery is usually something that only happens once. No driver is foolish enough to let such a simple issue ruin their experience twice. However, it’s far better to avoid the problem altogether. Being vigilant for the signs, such as white residue around the terminals, will allow you to do just that. Battery maintenance involves removing the terminals and replacing them with new ones. While doing this, you should clean the posts with a suitable solution. Make sure that they are dry before inserting the new terminals, and the battery will be sure to keep performing. There’s no denying the importance of the battery’s condition, and this simple job could prevent a breakdown and the subsequent trip to a repair shop.


Spark Plug Maintenance

As a rule of thumb, spark plugs should serve you anywhere from about 30,000 for copper tip plugs to 100,000 miles for platinum and iridium tip plugs, which are used in later model cars. But even the longer lasting plugs will generate less spark well before they reach 100k miles.


To do it yourself, you’ll need a socket wrench with an extension, and buying pre-gapped plugs makes the job much easier. Remove the wire before taking out the old spark plug and installing the new one. Make sure that you do this one spark plug at a time, in the right order. The number of spark plugs will be determined by the number of cylinders, which vary between car models. So, if it seems slightly different to what you’ve seen friends do, this is probably the reason.


Windshield Wiper Replacement

The importance of the wiper blades is often overlooked by many vehicle owners. However, visibility is integral for safe driving, which is why wipers must be kept in great health. Thankfully, it’s a very easy job that does not need the help of an expert. Lift the wipers and disconnect the blades from the arm. Simply fix your new blades to the arm, ensuring the connection is suitably secured. Do this annually, testing that they work before taking your next drive, and you’ll be just fine.


Timing Belt Replacement

While this is a job usually left to the professionals, it is something that should not be overlooked. The timing belt is made of high-quality rubber with teeth that will eventually wear down, causing a variety of engine-related problems. If the belt breaks while the engine is on, costly damage to the engine itself usually occurs. So, at whatever mileage the manufacturer recommends replacement, (usually 60,000 miles) it is wise to have it done.


Cabin Air Filter

Not all jobs are focused on the car’s performance. You should also take your comfort and general health into consideration. With this in mind, keeping the air ventilation system working properly is one of the most crucial jobs you could ever complete. Replacing the cabin air filter is an easy task that makes a huge difference, and cleaning the drain should help too. Finish the job by swabbing the external areas and spraying a disinfectant. Do this once a year to avoid that stale smell forever. The owner’s manual should provide instructions on how to replace the filter, but if not, do a google search for your year and model car, and you’ll find plenty of instructional sites.


Following these few recommendations should help keep unexpected repair costs at a minimum, and give you more enjoyment from your vehicle.