Car ownership can be daunting with everything involved, but there are some truly simple ways to maintain your vehicle to keep it running optimally, such as listening for brake issues, checking tires every month, and replacing the air filter. But being prepared does not end there, you also need car insurance. When you search for car insurance quotes be certain you are getting the one that fits your lifestyle and budget best.
Get to Know the Owner’s Manual
While no one expects the owner to be a mechanic and fix every single thing that goes wrong with their car, getting acquainted with the owner’s manual just makes sense. If you can’t find a hard copy in your glove box, there is likely an online version or you can contact the dealer.
In every owner’s manual there is a maintenance schedule category. It will let you know exactly how often (whether in elapsed time or miles) the engine oil, the oil filter, belts, and hoses should be changed, tire rotation schedules and more. Following these guidelines will help keep your vehicle in optimal operating condition.
Remember the Air Filter
As a rule of thumb, every time you get the oil changed make a point to ask how clean/dirty the air filter looks. Depending on how often you drive the car, you might have to replace the air filter once or twice a year. It’s an inexpensive “fix” that will help your car run more smoothly.
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Keep an Eye on the Tires
The quality of your tires will directly affect how your car handles, safety, and your fuel economy. When you think about it, if not for the tires on your car you wouldn’t be going anywhere! They are often overlooked and taken for granted but they are also one of the most vulnerable pieces of equipment on your car.
Invest in a tire gauge (they are relatively inexpensive) so that you can check tire pressure on a regular occasion. Monthly checks, at a minimum, and also whenever a tire is looking low. But first you will need to know the ideal tire pressure, and you can find that on the inside driver’s side door. Inflate tires when they are cold and if you’re not able to do that, add 4PSI to the pressure recommendation. Don’t forget to check the pressure and viability of the spare tire while you’re at it!
Change the Oil on Time
It isn’t enough just to add oil to the vehicle, the oil must be changed regularly. It’s essentially the lifeblood of the car, providing lubrication so the parts of the engine don’t grind, erode, and ultimately get destroyed.
The rule of thumb is 3,000 miles or 3 months whichever comes the soonest. Follow your owner’s manual suggestions but you’re not going to go wrong with following these general guidelines.
Listen to the Brakes
Just as important as listening to how the brakes sound you should also take note of how they feel. Are they spongy? Does it take longer to brake than usual? Do you hear a whirring or a grinding? Don’t allow the condition to get to a dangerous point. Be proactive in diagnosing (with the help of a professional) what needs to make your brakes healthy again.
- Usually grinding is a sound to pay attention to but sometimes if there has been precipitation and the car is parked outside, rust can form on the rotors and the grinding noise is the rust being knocked off. There is no cause for alarm here but if you want to avoid this, park the car inside a garage especially when it’s been raining, snowing or is humid.
- Make an appointment to get new brake pads put on if you’re hearing squealing. It means the old ones are worn out and they are rubbing against the rotor.
- Unusual Sounds. Overheating can cause what’s called ‘brake fade.’ The brakes aren’t as responsive and you might hear unusual sounds that come and go. It’s best to make an appointment with your trusted mechanic to determine the exact cause.
- Vibrations or rattling suggests that one or more of the rotors is worn out or warped entirely, and they’ll need to be replaced.
Don’t Neglect the Wipers
Maybe you’ve been living with that smudge for a while now. While autumn might let you work around the smudge on the windshield left by the wipers, winter won’t be as kind. Windshield wipers are inexpensive and easy enough to replace on your own. You’ll increase visibility and decrease your chances of getting into an accident.
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