The last thing anybody wants as they hit the open road is to have a mechanical breakdown which leads to an accident or leaves you stranded in the middle of nowhere. This is why ensuring your vehicle is road-ready every time you take it out is so important. Far too often people allow their car to degrade until it would cost more to fix the car than simply sell it. Rather than allowing this to occur and potentially putting yourself into a dangerous situation, consider tackling some at-home preventative maintenance tasks which can improve the lifespan of your vehicle.
What is Preventative Maintenance?
Preventative maintenance is an extremely important, yet not well-known, aspect of vehicle ownership. It refers to the regular hands-on maintenance of your vehicle, specifically focusing on enhancing parts that reduce the risk of breakdowns or major repairs being needed. This process can increase the lifespan of a vehicle while also saving a person money on more expensive repairs by catching any issues earlier on.
Why Does Preventative Maintenance Matter?
The main reason preventative maintenance matters and is so important is due to the fact vehicles are complex pieces of machinery. They are composed of thousands on thousands of parts that work together in sync to keep your vehicle running. Even a single part failing can result in a catastrophic mechanical breakdown. Preventative maintenance ensures each and every crucial part is properly maintained so that these breakdowns do not occur, which stops you from needing to get help from a car accident lawyer and saves you money on repair costs.
8 Tips for Keeping Your Car Running
The best part about preventative maintenance is that it is designed for any average car owner to be able to handle the tasks. There are countless preventative maintenance tasks that can be performed periodically on a vehicle, but below are eight of the most important items to keep at the top of your mind:
1. Replace your oil and air filter
If the engine is the heart of your vehicle, oil is the blood that keeps it pumping. Simply put, oil lubricates the various pieces of machinery in your engine so that there is less damaging friction when your vehicle is running. On top of this, oil also helps prevent sludge from building up in the oil passages and can remove dirt and grime from these surfaces as well. It is imperative to get your oil changed as recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. While doing this, consider replacing your cabin air filter as well to keep things fresh.
2. Rotate your tires
The amount of miles, before it’s time to rotate tires, can vary drastically depending on what type of vehicle you own, but most experts will recommend rotating tires every 5,000 miles to ensure even wear. It should go without saying that the tires are some of the most important components of a vehicle, so take care of your rotations and replacements if necessary.
3. Inspect the treads on your tires
On the same line of thinking as rotating your tires, take the time to inspect your tire treads. These are the raised portions of your tires that are in direct contact with the road and help to keep the traction between your vehicle and the ground. When your treads become worn down from years of use, your tires will begin to go bald which is dangerous as it can result in less traction with the road.
4. Check the existing wear on your brake pads
The braking system of a vehicle is one of the other most important components. Inspect your brake pads according to your manufacturer’s guidelines to see how much they have worn down and if they need to be replaced.
5. Inspect the suspension system on your vehicle
For those unfamiliar, the suspension system of a car focuses on maximizing the amount of friction between your tires and the ground. This is why you can drive on roadways while having an extremely smooth ride, while also having excellent handling with your vehicle. Over time, certain parts of your suspension system can degrade so take notice if your vehicle starts to drift while driving or if the ride suddenly becomes overly bumpy.
6. Top off any and all fluids
Beyond oil, there are a variety of fluids running through your vehicle at any given time which are crucial to its functioning. Top off transmission fluid, wiper blade fluid, coolant, and other fluids at the appropriate intervals in accordance with your owner’s manual.
7. Test your current battery level
The battery of a vehicle is one of the most important components as it provides the initial spark to get your car running while also providing additional power for your onboard electronics. The last thing anybody wants is to go to start their car only to see that they have no power under the hood. Batteries should last three to five years depending on the car, but test yours if you notice anything that seems off.
8. Take your vehicle in for scheduled maintenance
Finally, a person can only handle so many maintenance tasks on their own. There are some issues or repairs that require the touch of a mechanic and trying to fix it on your own may only make matters worse. To avoid this, take your vehicle in for its scheduled maintenance as outlined in the owner’s manual for the vehicle.
Keep your vehicle in working order today
Having a vehicle is a major responsibility and part of that responsibility is ensuring your vehicle is operational and not a danger to you or others on the road. Everybody should learn the ins and outs of their vehicle’s parts so that they can recognize when something feels off. In addition to this, memorizing the schedule for basic maintenance tasks is a great way to stay on top of simple jobs. Combining all of this with regularly scheduled maintenance is a surefire way to keep your vehicle on the road for years to come.