10 car maintenance tips for keeping your car in shape

Keep your car in top shape throughout the year.

Life + Leisure Cool Cars Peter Minkoff

This article was published on September 24th, 2018

Summer is slowly passing us by, and with the new season comes the car maintenance routine every owner dreads. In preparation for the wet driving conditions and the unavoidable snow-laden roads at the end of the year, you should really tend to your car’s basic maintenance needs, and if you’re buying, know what you’re getting into. Without further ado, here are the 10 car maintenance tips for keeping your trusty metal steed in top shape.

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Stick to the manual

Every car comes with a manual, you know, so why not use it once in a while? Usually, it’s that little booklet sitting in your glove compartment. It should contain all the relevant information about your new purchase, as well as the basic maintenance tips to help you avoid costly repairs down the road and enjoy a safe driving experience. With your trusty manual in hand, let’s move on to some concrete maintenance.

Are the tires underinflated?

Tire pressure – the average driver’s greatest mystery. Usually left unnoticed until your car starts performing like a slug in drag racing, this problem could cost you dearly down the road. So, check your tire pressure and reinflate them as needed – it could help you save money and green up your car down the line. If you tend to drive in harsher conditions, be sure to check your tire pressure several times a month.

Change tires for the new season

If you’re one of those people who don’t change their tires according to the season, it’s time you changed your wicked ways. Not just because you could be looking at a hefty fine should you get pulled over, but also because you could be looking at a nasty roadside accident in the near future. In fact, you probably won’t even see it coming. Change your tires.

Caring for a rental – is it any different?

Many people have a tough time distinguishing between personal vehicle maintenance and rental car maintenance. Are the maintenance duties the same? Should you take care of this car as you would your own? First off, it’s important that you always rent a car from a trusted dealer.

If you’re traveling to New Zealand, for instance, you can rest assured that the Avis car rental has top-quality vehicles on offer that require little to no meddling on your part. If you get in touch with a reputable rental company like that, then you might not even have to worry about maintenance at all. Other than that, your duties towards the vehicle will be defined in the lease.

Change your oil

One of the most important maintenance checks for any vehicle, and especially if you’re soon to embark on a lengthy road trip, is checking the oil level in the engine. Being one of the key components of a smooth-running engine, the oil should be changed according to the model of the vehicle and the manual. However, these recommendations are usually a bit exaggerated and you should be perfectly fine changing the oil every six months – roughly 5000 miles.

Replace the engine’s air filter

Your car’s manual will also provide you with the necessary information about engine filters; however, there are special conditions in which frequent air filter replacement is needed. If you are usually driving in harsh conditions such as dirt roads, you can expect your air filters to suffer from debris accumulation at an increased rate. This means that you should change your filter sooner than planned.

Change the worn-out timing belt

Another engine problem you should be wary of, particularly because it’s very easy to forget about it, is timing belt maintenance. These are durable little things and they needn’t be replaced before you cross the 60,000-mile threshold, but that doesn’t mean that you should forget about it altogether. Allowing the timing belt to fail mid-drive can cause serious problems, and you can expect it to damage other vital engine components as well.

Fill up your engine coolant

In case you were wondering, engine coolant is the thing that’s keeping your engine from melting down from heat accumulation. Literally, so it’s kind of important. The most common problem that tends to go by unnoticed is a small puncture in the casing that slowly drains the liquid from the engine. Suddenly, your heat gauge starts going crazy, which is a clear sign you should pull over immediately. So, fill up the engine coolant regularly and inspect the coolant compartment.

Power up the battery

Battery testing is a biannual task every car owner should adhere to. Because if the battery dies, the whole system powers down as a result. Luckily, battery testing can be done at any auto shop, and charging usually comes at a reasonable price.

Upgrade the windshield wipers

Last but not least, replacing the windshield wipers becomes a crucial maintenance task in expectation of the fall and harsh winter seasons. With many rainy days and snowy nights bound to descend on your windshield in the near future, it’s imperative that your windshield wipers are ready for the task of keeping your line of sign crystal clear at all times.

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Car maintenance is not exactly fun, but that doesn’t make it any less important. With these ten essential check-ups in mind, you will have no problem keeping your car in top shape throughout the year.

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