6 Most Important Car Maintenance Tips

Do you love your car? Of course, you do! You take care of it, fill it up with gasoline, and keep it clean. But what about the inside? The engine? The undercarriage? All of those need just as much attention as the outside — if not more!

It’s no secret that regular car maintenance is key to keeping your vehicle running smoothly and avoiding costly repairs down the road. However, many drivers don’t know where to start when it comes to maintaining their car. That’s where a good car service manual comes to the rescue.

These manuals should be your go-to source for all things maintenance-related, including everything you need to change your oil, replace your brake pads, fix suspension issues, etc. Still, aside from performing your own repairs, your best bet to save some money is still to service your vehicle on a regular basis and prevent those problems from occurring in the first place.

To help you with that, this blog will outline the 6 most important car maintenance tips and some great advice to keep your car running for years to come!

Tip #01: Check and Change the Oil Regularly

One of the most important — and most straightforward — car maintenance tips is checking and changing your oil regularly.

Most carmakers recommend changing the oil every 5,000 miles, although this may vary depending on the oil quality and specific driving conditions. Use the dipstick to check the level and quality of the oil. If the level is low or the oil looks dirty, it’s time for a change.

Remember: Failing to change your oil can lead to all sorts of engine problems in the medium to long term, so it’s definitely not something you want to skip!

Tip #02: Check Other Fluids Periodically

Just as you check your engine oil, it’s also essential to keep an eye on the other fluids in your car, including antifreeze, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid.

Luckily, the antifreeze and brake/power steering fluids are easy to check on your own — simply pop the hood and take a look at their respective tank. It’s also easy to check the transmission fluids on most vehicles, but if you’re not sure, you’ll want to find the manufacturer’s procedure in a car service and repair manual.

Remember: Fluid leaks are not only inconvenient, but they can also be expensive to fix. So, be sure to check your fluids regularly and keep an eye out for any leaks.

Tip #03: Check Your Tires’ Air Pressure & Rotate Them at Each Oil Change

It is crucial that you check your tires’ pressure regularly (at least once every month), as they are the most critical part of the car. You might need to do it even in even shorter intervals if there are big temperature drops/rises where you live, as the weather has a significant impact on the pressure inside the tires.

Tires provide traction and grip on the road, help with braking, and keep us comfortable by absorbing road irregularities. Given their importance, it’s no surprise that we need to take care of them to keep them performing at their best.

Under-inflated or over-inflated tires not only tend to reduce fuel efficiency but can also be quite dangerous. Indeed, under-inflated tires can cause serious stability issues, while over-inflated tires will wear down irregularly, won’t be very comfortable, and could even burst when hitting a pothole with sharp edges.

And even if they are properly inflated, tires will still wear out at an uneven rate. To prevent that, rotate them every few thousand miles or so (depending on how often they’re changed) for an even longer life!

Remember: A well-maintained set of tires can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Tip #04: Check Your Brake Pads and Rotors

Your car’s brake pads and rotors take a lot of abuse, especially if you drive in stop-and-go traffic or do a lot of city driving. Hence, it’s important to check them regularly and replace them as necessary.

Brake pads should be replaced when worn down to less than ¼-inch (or when they start to squeal). Meanwhile, you should regularly check the discs for wear and replace them if they are scorched or rusty.

Remember: By keeping an eye on your brake pads and discs, you can ensure that your car stops safely and in a timely manner. And if you do need to replace them, be sure to follow the instructions in your service and repair manual to do so correctly — you really don’t want to end up with a faulty braking system at any point.

Tip #05: Check the Belts and Hoses Inside the Engine Bay

The belts and hoses inside the engine bay are in the same boat as brake pads and discs.

The timing belt is responsible for synchronizing the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft, meaning it’s crucial for the basic operation of any engine. And when a timing belt breaks, it’s not uncommon for the piston to come in contact with the valves — and replacing valves and pistons costs a lot more than just a quick timing belt replacement.

Meanwhile, other belts power various other components, including the alternator, water pump, power steering, and air conditioning.

Over time, belts can loosen up or crack, leading to severe issues. That’s especially true for the timing belt, which should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommended interval (usually every 60,000-100,000 miles).

Meanwhile, the hoses are essential to keep the engine coolant flowing. If a hose develops a leak, it can cause the engine to overheat, potentially leading to even costlier repairs.

Tip #06: Read the Owner’s Manual and Get to Know Your Car Better

Most people don’t read their car owners’ manual from cover to cover. But, if you want to be a responsible car owner, it’s important to at least skim through it.

The manual will tell you how to check and change the various fluids, but also includes essential safety information, such as adequately using your car’s seat belts and airbags.

But if you know your way around tools and want to take things even further, we would highly suggest getting your hands on a car service & repair manual. Unlike an owner’s manual, a repair manual is designed to guide mechanics through every maintenance and repair procedure and comes directly from the carmaker.

Even better, you can easily acquire a digital version of most service manuals online. They are cheaper than one hour of labor at any workshop, so think of them as a smart investment.

Remember: Repair manuals are your best friend for maintaining your car. So, be sure to familiarize yourself with it and use it as a reference whenever you have a question about car maintenance. Not sure where to get one for your car? No worries! eManualOnline has got you covered.

Last Words

Taking proper care of your vehicle can seem daunting, but can also be quite expensive nowadays. Fortunately, you can follow my example and maintain your vehicle on your own using a car service manual and some simple tools.

I’ve never been particularly good at repairing stuff, but I learned the basics within months using a repair manual. Now, I can save hundreds of dollars on oil changes, replacing spark plugs, and brake jobs. I even changed my Corolla timing belt using the replacement procedure found inside my repair manual and I couldn’t be happier!

But, of course, not everyone wants to get their hands dirty, which is totally fine! Even if you have your car maintained at the dealer, you can still prevent expensive repairs and save money in the long run. Whichever way you do it, maintenance is always essential!

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