It’s no surprise that proper car maintenance is important to keep your car in good shape. A car that is not cared for will break down and may eventually end up costing you more money than if it were properly maintained. Luckily, there are several car care tips that you can do on your own to keep your car running smoothly between regular maintenance visits.
1. Check Oil
Checking the oil in your car regularly is one of the most important things you can do for your car’s overall health. A general rule of thumb is to change your car’s oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles, but it’s still a good idea to check your dipstick for the color and level of your oil. If it’s a light color and at a good level, you’re good to go! If it’s a dark color or too low on the dipstick, it’s definitely time to get it changed.
2. Check Tire Pressure
Properly inflated tires will improve gas mileage and reduce wear on other parts of the car. Most experts recommend checking tire pressure monthly, or at least before long road trips. If your tires are low, you can add air at most gas stations or call your local tire shop to see if they will fill your tires for free.
3. Check Coolant Levels
If your car is running hot, it could be due to low coolant levels. If your car overheats, it can cause damage to the engine and lead to costly repairs. Most auto care professionals recommend checking coolant levels every time you check or change your oil and topping off as needed.
4. Clean or Replace Air Filter
An air filter helps purify incoming air from the outside of your car. Most vehicles have two air filters: an engine air filter and a cabin air filter. As you can guess, an engine air filter cleans the air that is going into your engine and a cabin air filter cleans the air coming into the car’s interior. Most experts recommend changing these every 12 months (or 12,000-15,000 miles) or sooner if you notice any new issues. Changing the filter yourself is a relatively simple process, or you could clean and dry your current filter if it still has a few miles left on it.
5. Check the Battery
Something else you can do on a regular basis is to check your car battery for any damage or corrosion. Corrosion can decrease the efficiency of your battery and even cause your car to not start. If your battery has corrosion or residue around the battery terminals, you can clean it yourself or bring it into your local auto shop and have it done for you. If cleaning the corrosion doesn’t improve your battery’s performance, you may need a new battery.
6. Wash Your Car
Washing your car regularly may seem like it’s only a cosmetic task, but your car’s paint is like a protective shield against the environment. If dirt, grime, or other contaminants are allowed to accumulate on your car over time, they can damage this protective layer and lead to rusting underneath the paint. This will increase maintenance costs in the long run as well as decrease resale value for any cars you might want to trade in someday!
7. Clear Debris
It’s important to routinely clear loose debris such as leaves, pine needles, rocks, or other objects from underneath your car’s hood so they don’t cause damage to your car or get stuck anywhere they shouldn’t be. A debris-free car will not only look nicer but can also reduce the risk of insects or rodents building nests inside of your car.
Keeping your car healthy between maintenance visits doesn’t have to be difficult. Even just taking care of your tires, checking your oil, and washing your car regularly can make a big difference. If you’re looking for more car care tips that are easy to do on your own, contact your trusted local auto care center.