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When you buy a new car, you obviously want to keep it for as long as possible. After all, new cars are not cheap! To extend the life of your car and keep it running smoothly, it is important to perform regular maintenance. Whether you just bought a new car or have had the same vehicle for many years, you need to keep up with its maintenance to avoid unexpected problems down the road. Neglecting regular upkeep can lead to much more expensive repairs later on. Even if you’re not in the market right now, these tips can help you take great care of any car that you own. Read on to learn how…
Change your oil regularly
Oil is the lifeblood of your car’s engine, but it can break down over time. Some cars can go as many as 10,000 miles between oil changes, but others might need it more frequently. Check your car’s owner’s manual for the recommended mileage for your vehicle. If you’re not sure when it’s time to change your oil, look out for a warning sign: your car starts to sound louder. This is typically caused by the engine being too hot. A dirty and clogged oil filter will also make your car louder. Changing your oil once a year will help keep your engine in tip-top shape. It’ll also save you money in the long run, since you’ll avoid having to pay for a major engine overhaul.
Check your tire pressure
Most people only check their tire pressure when they’re about to hit the road for a long trip. However, it’s a good idea to check your tire pressure regularly, especially during the winter months. Low tire pressure can affect how your car handles in bad weather and even cause a blowout. The recommended tire pressure for your car is listed on a placard usually found in the driver’s side door jamb. You can also find this information online. If you notice your tires seem low, check your tire pressure right away. And don’t forget to check the pressure in your spare tire, too. While you’re checking your tire pressure, also inspect the tread depth of each tire. Worn tires can lead to unsafe driving conditions. Depending on where you live, you may need to replace your tires each year, or every few years. You can usually find the required tread depth on your state’s Department of Transportation website. If your tread is below the acceptable mark, you should replace your tires as soon as possible. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Have your brakes checked once a year
While driving, keep a close eye on how your brakes feel. If you feel that they’re squealing when you press down on the pedal, there may be something wrong with your brakes. This could be a sign of needing a brake pad replacement. It’s recommended to have your brakes checked at least once a year, preferably in the fall when it’s not as busy at the mechanic’s shop. If they find any problems, they can usually fix them right away and save you the trouble of having to come back later in the year. If your brakes are worn, they’re not going to stop your car as quickly as they should. And if they’re seriously worn, they could fail completely. It’s better to get your brakes checked before they fail and cause a serious accident.
Check your battery and alternator
At the same time that your mechanic is checking your brakes, have them take a look at your battery and alternator. These are two components that are often overlooked, but they’re super important. If your battery is more than three years old, has a lot of miles on it, or has been in a few extreme temperature conditions, you might want to consider having it replaced. The same goes for your alternator which helps charge your battery. If your mechanic finds that either of these components needs to be replaced, it’s best to replace them. This is a situation where you don’t want to “wait and see.” If your battery or alternator is on its way out, you don’t want to risk being stuck with a car that doesn’t start.
Check your tires
Lastly, check your tires. Make sure that your tires have the right amount of tread on them. It’s also a good idea to check the side walls of your tires. If they’re looking worn or have cracks in them, it’s time to replace them. The last thing that you want is to get a flat tire while driving in bad weather. It’s also a good idea to visually inspect the pressure of your tires before you drive. If your tires look low, it’s probably because they need to be filled up. You can use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure on all four tires. If any of them are low, you’ll want to fill them up before driving. If your tire pressure is low, your car will not handle as well. Plus, you risk a blowout, which can cause a serious accident.
Keeping your car in good working condition is important for many reasons. First, it will save you money in the long run. If you take care of your car, you’ll avoid needing to pay for expensive repairs. Second, you’ll be more safe when driving. If you have worn tires, they may blow out while you’re driving. Or, they might not have enough air in them, which will make your car handle worse. If your engine is dirty or clogged, it may overheat and cause your car to become louder than usual. Plus, if your breaks aren’t working properly, you could cause an accident. Keeping up with car maintenance is the best way to ensure that your car lasts as long as possible.