Keeping up on the maintenance is key to ensuring your car runs for many years, and runs well. Many of today’s models, and even some older ones, will go for 300,000 miles or longer without the need for a major repair if you perform the regular service. All car maintenance is important, but these are the items you should never consider skipping.
Regular oil changes are key to prolonging the life of your car. There are lots of moving parts in an internal combustion engine, and fresh oil keeps everything well lubricated. Oil also keeps impurities from building up and redistributes the heat in the engine. Look in your owner’s manual for how often to change the oil, and change the filter with each oil change.
Being able to stop your car quickly is vital when you’re on the road, so keep your brakes in top condition. Most brake pads are designed to emit a high-pitched screeching sound when they approach the end of their wearable life. This is your warning that it is time to change them. Grinding noises when you step on the brakes should be addressed immediately. Make sure the rotors are machined whenever you change the brakes. This will ensure maximum brake life.
Timing Chain or Timing Belt
The timing chain or timing belt synchronizes many of the processes in the engine, and since your engine turns at thousands of revolutions per minute this is important. Depending on the car, a timing belt or timing chain failure can result in catastrophic damage and the need for major automotive repair. Check the maintenance schedule, and get this done when it is indicated. Changing a timing belt or timing chain is often a major automotive repair, so set aside some money for it. Still, it is far less expensive than a new engine.
Tire tread channels water from the front of your tires to behind your tires as you drive on wet roadways, giving you maximum contact with the road. Don’t let your tires wear down. High-speed blowouts and hydroplaning on wet roads can be devastating and deadly.
Additionally, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Properly inflated tires give you optimum gas mileage and handling performance, and checking the tire pressure takes only minutes. Don’t forget tire rotation as well. Front tires wear quicker than back tires. Rotating tires every 5,000 miles extends their life. Most tire stores offer free rotation over the life of the tire.
Your car will run fine if a taillight or headlamp is burned out, but nighttime visibility is diminished. Turn signals, brake lights and back-up lights also serve to warn other drivers of your intentions. Make sure all lights are in good working order. Skipping this maintenance could even result in a fine for traffic violations.
Taking care of automotive repair is much easier when you get any problems looked at quickly rather than putting them off for later. Regular maintenance also helps you build a good relationship with your mechanic. If you ever do face major car problems, this relationship can give you peace of mind and help you get everything fixed up more quickly and perhaps even more affordably.
The owner’s manual is vital for caring for your car. It includes a schedule of regular maintenance. Some maintenance items are more expensive than others, and if you know they’re coming, you can budget for them. Preventative maintenance is always less expensive than maintenance after a breakdown.