You're running late for a meeting as you bolt out of the house and behind the wheel of your car. You put the key in the ignition, give it a turn, and nothing happens. You're probably nodding your head at this point, with a bit of "been there, done that" on your mind.
This might be an extreme example of the bad things that can happen if you don't maintain your car, but it can and does happen. Since a vehicle is the second most expensive purchase that most people make, it's important to keep in mind the regular maintenance tasks that should be taken care of. Check these items off your to-do list, and you'll keep your vehicle running properly for a long time to come.
Check the fluid levels in your car.
Your vehicle's fluid levels say a lot about what's going on inside. Make sure to regularly check the levels of your oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and anti-freeze (at least once a month is ideal). You should also keep a good written record of any observations you take so you're aware of any fluctuations in fluid levels. Any unexplained decreases in your fluids should be checked immediately at an auto shop.
Get regular oil changes.
This is probably the most important task you should take care of on a very regular basis. Your engine oil is your vehicle's lifeblood. It's what coats all the working parts inside the engine, making sure they stay working properly. Over time, your oil gets dirtier from the engine's heat, dust in the air, and exposure to other elements like water particles, smoke, and more. The dirtier your oil gets, the stickier and grainier it gets, which makes your engine have to work harder. This also can cause a lot of unnecessary wear on your engine components. Keeping your oil changed (every 3,000 miles is most recommended) keeps your engine clean and working at optimum performance.
Maintain your car tires.
Your vehicle's tires serve a lot more purposes than you may think. Yes, they help the car turn and keep the ride smooth, but the can also affect the performance of your car's engine and inner workings. Each time you fill up with gas, check your tires to make sure they're not losing air. If you can't tell visually, give them a quick check with an air-pressure gauge, and make sure they're all staying at safe levels. If any tires are losing air, get them inspected to see if they have any punctures that need repair. Also, getting your tires rotated and balanced will even out the wear on your tires, which prevents vibrations that can lead to engine damage.
Check your car brakes.
Make sure you get your vehicle's brakes inspected at least once a year. It's true that keeping your pads in good shape can prevent costly damages if other components start to wear, but the entire brake system needs to be performing properly to ensure that your vehicle is as safe as it should be. A good inspector will check the brake fluid lines, pads and shoes, rotors, and even your emergency brake line.
Get your car inspected annually.
You can do many vehicle maintenance tasks at home if you're car savvy, but you should hire a licensed mechanic to inspect your car once a year. This isn't some 21-point inspection at the Quickie Lube; it's a detailed inspection of vital mechanical components that affect the safety and lifespan of your vehicle. Getting this in-depth mechanical inspection done once a year will keep you informed of simple, but necessary, repairs, so you can keep your vehicle safe and running at peak performance and avoid costly repairs. You can find reliable, licensed mechanics in your area on Kudzu.com today.