Smart Preventative Maintenance

The only way to keep your car or truck from eventually breaking down is to perform preventative maintenance. You can’t simply fill up the gas tank when needing to refill or pump air the tires when they become noticeably flat. You don’t have to be a trained mechanic, but every driver should have a basic understanding of car maintenance. The problem, however, is that millions of people do not. A vehicle is necessary for getting back and forth, but in financial terms, it is not a good investment. If you buy new, your car’s market value will decrease the moment you leave the lot.

With preventative maintenance, modern cars can easily go 200,000 miles and more before major mechanical repairs come into play. Look at it this way; unless you want to have a new car every few years, it is pure commonsense to take care of the one you have for as long as you can. Don’t underestimate the longevity of your motor, but don’t jeopardize it either by not following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. That manual is there for a reason, so use it. Here are some of the best tips for saving money on your automobile expenditures over the long term.

Maintaining Your Vehicle the Right Way

  • Change the oil; we bet you saw this one coming. Oil is the lifeblood of your car’s engine. It lubricates all the vital internal parts; without it, your motor will seize up and be destroyed. Changing the oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles is recommended for most drivers, especially those who primarily drive in the city or in extreme conditions. You can go farther with fully synthetic blends, but older vehicles require more frequent oil changes nonetheless. At any rate, these types are recommended over conventional, as they contain special additives designed to protect motor wear. Lastly, make sure to get a quality oil filter. Pouring quality grade oil into a car with a cheap filter is contradictory and will minimize performance results.
  • Check tire air pressure and rotate them every 5,000 miles; to prevent uneven wear and the increased risk of a blow-out, checking the pressure in your tires at least once a week is highly recommended. As well, rotating them on a regular basis will keep either set from wearing out quicker (whether you have a front or rear wheel drive vehicle).
  • Change the air filter and coolant once a year; these are two more vital systems that should never be avoided. Engines need to have clean air to run well and coolant to keep from overheating.
  • Brakes; perhaps the most important part of your vehicle is its braking system. Having this go out while on the road is extremely dangerous, but it happens every day. Replace the pads and rotors at the manufacturer’s stated intervals or when they need to be. Brake pads have a metal shim that acts as a precautionary measure; when worn thin, it will rub against the rotor and cause a squeaking sound. If you hear this, you know its time for new pads.

By following these simple tips, you can add a lot of miles to your car. Without a doubt, preventative maintenance is an absolute must.

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