A Car Maintenance Primer for Owners
Who Aren’t Exactly Auto Mechanics
If you think that you can simply take your car in for an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles and a tuneup once a year or so and everything will be fine, you’re deluding yourself. Your automobile is a complicated machine with many moving parts – which means there are many things that can go wrong on any given day. Even if you have a low-level to moderate knowledge of cars or no clue at all, car maintenance is important and you should know how to accomplish some of the routine basics.
Why is car maintenance so important?
Keeping your car well-tuned will make it run better. This will provide a better driving experience. While this is important, it’s not really the most important reason to maintenance your car on a regular basis. Routine maintenance is really about one thing: preventing future catastrophes. As FMP Motor Factors notes, some of the most expensive car problems like busted cylinders, transmission problems, and camshaft & engine failure are often the result of neglect and improper attention to maintenance. These are large, multi-thousand-dollar repairs we’re talking here. You don’t want to find yourself in this position.
Long story short, basic maintenance can extend the life of many of your car’s parts and systems, prevent catastrophic failure, and keep you safe on the road.
Some DIY maintenance
Can you create a solid foundation for your car’s maintenance at home? Yes, you can. Even if you’ve never popped a hood before, there are some DIY basics anyone can tackle.
– Check your tire pressure. It’s so simple yet so important. If you let your tires deflate, you’ll wear them out quickly, your car will lose handling, and you will waste gas. When you’re checking the inflation level, don’t forget to check the treads as well. This penny test will let you know when it’s time to think about new tires.
– Replace your air filter. It costs less than $20 and will take you 10 minutes. You don’t even need any tools to complete the job. Replacing your filter every year or so will dramatically improve the life of your automobile. Look for the black air filter box that’s located near your engine. Check here for a complete guide.
– Battery maintenance: it’s easier than you think. You need to replace your battery every few years, but you can increase its lifespan if you do some simple cleaning. All you need is a wrench and screwdriver to remove the battery terminals (negative first!) and some anti-corrosive liquid to clean off any (usually white) gunk. One tip is to use Coca-Cola.
Leave it to the pros
You can get overly ambitious with your own maintenance, however. Unless you’re a trained mechanic there are some tasks better left to the pros. These tasks include anything to do with the airbags, replacing a clutch, body work, and balancing tires. You may think you’re set after watching a YouTube video. Don’t fall into the trap. It’s worth the money to have it done right in these situations.
In the end, you shouldn’t be afraid to work on your own car. Do a little research online. See if it looks like something you can handle. Keep your garage stocked, organized, and ready for work. Equip the area with organizational and operational features like drawers, storage containers, and hangars. Having an organized garage is one way to get better at doing your own maintenance. If you are set up for success, you’ll be more likely to tackle these DIY car jobs yourself.
Of course, car accidents happen, if you’ve recently been involved in a collision, Critical Car Care can help you with your repair needs for any vehicle. Call us now at 661 943-0629 to learn more about our full-service auto repair and get a FREE computerized repair quote.
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