Tips to keep your car in tip-top condition

24 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
Tips to keep your car in tip-top condition

The Sunday Mail

IT is important to regularly check your car’s fluid levels, tyre tread and inflation, and pay attention to any leaks, sounds or smells that may indicate a need for repairs.

Following your car’s recommended maintenance schedule can save you money in the long run and extend its lifespan.

Regular cleaning and maintenance can also improve a car’s resale value.

Your car should be treated with care, but a busy schedule can make it easy to overlook the maintenance your car needs to run well.

The upside is that you can follow simple tips to keep your vehicle in great shape and preserve its resale value. Slowing your vehicle’s depreciation can also help keep you from going upside-down on your auto loan.

Whether your car is new or old, you can keep it in exceptional shape by giving it the treatment it deserves. Here are some car care tips to get you started:

  1. Clean your vehicle regularly: Schedule routine wash and wax treatments for your ride once every six months. You want to keep your car’s appearance in tip-top shape, so it will not affect the value when it is time to sell it.
  2. 2. Get routine maintenance: All vehicles have a suggested routine maintenance schedule based on the miles driven. You can find it in the manual or request it from the dealership.

Most cars require routine maintenance every 5 000 miles or six months, but some let you go even longer between services. Mechanics perform an oil change and multi-point inspections to ensure the vehicle is running correctly.

They check for wear and replace items like air filters or windshield wipers. The mechanic will also check your car’s fluid levels and alert you if any issues require another look.

To save money over the life of your vehicle, you can learn how to perform some basic maintenance — including oil changes — yourself.

  1. Do not skip major services: When it is time for a tune-up, you will likely need to swap out older parts for new ones. These include spark plugs, oil filters, fuel filters, PCV valves, belts and hoses.

These items’ longevity depends on your vehicle’s make and model. Consider asking the service department for cost estimates before tune-ups are needed so you will be prepared.

  1. Get your brakes checked: There is no standard for how frequently you should have your brakes checked. However, experts recommend doing this every time your tyres are rotated or every six months.

If you notice a change in your brakes while driving, have them inspected as soon as possible.

  1. Check fluid levels often: Select a day each month to check your fluid levels and note it in your calendar. It will only take a few minutes, and you can make a handy checklist to know what to do when the time comes.

Be sure to include engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid and windshield washer fluid. You should also check the brake fluid and transmission fluid at least twice a year — preferably every six months.

You could wait until it is time for an oil change to have your fluid levels checked. However, low fluid levels could indicate significant issues with your vehicle. Plus, you will likely spend more money later on repairs if the issues are left undetected.

  1. Pay attention to your tyre tread: Low tread on your tyres puts you at risk of losing control of your vehicle, particularly when you are driving in the rain, sleet or snow. But there are two easy, inexpensive ways to monitor your tyre tread. You can buy a tread depth gauge or use any other gauging alternative.
  2. Keep your tyres inflated: Proper tyre inflation contributes to vehicle safety and optimal fuel efficiency. If you have a newer vehicle, you will likely get an alert on the dashboard when your tyre pressure is low. But if this feature is not available in your car, purchase a tyre-pressure gauge to monitor your tyres’ air levels.

Refer to the sticker directly inside the pillar of the driver door to confirm the proper inflation levels for your car. If the pressure is low, inflate the tyres to the correct level.

  1. Do not ignore leaks, sounds or smells: Is there fluid on the ground from your car?

Does it make weird noises when you crank it up, accelerate to a certain speed, turn a corner, back up or sit at a traffic light? Are there strange smells coming from your vehicle that you do not recognise?

These signs should not be ignored as they indicate that your car could need repairs. But if you ignore them and put investigating them off, you could spend several hundred or thousands in repairs later.

  1. Pay attention to alerts: Whether it is the dreaded check engine light that pops up or some other icon you have never seen, do not ignore it. Instead, take your car in to be checked out since it is trying to communicate that something is not quite right. Even if it is not that big of a deal, better to be safe than sorry.

The bottom line

Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the cost of maintaining it could put a slight dent in your wallet. However, being proactive and performing preventative maintenance could save you a fortune and extend the life of your car. It can also help preserve your car’s value.

Having positive equity works in your favor if you want to refinance your car loan. — Bankrate

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