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Proper Car Maintenance
Car owners know the importance of maintenance. It’s safe to say that everyone would like to avoid costly repairs and inconveniences that come when their cars break down.
A large portion of car maintenance involves preventative measures. In fact, regular maintenance would prevent inconveniences as well as save you from spending an enormous amount of money in the long run as it can help you discover and address problems before they become too big to handle on your own.
However, many car owners fail to have a few components checked that comes back to bite them later on.
The pressure and wear on tires for a long time can cause significant deterioration in quality and performance that could endanger the safety of the driver and their passengers. Car tires need to be inspected regularly to ensure that they’re inflated to the proper level. Tires that either has too little or too much air in them could end up with an array of other issues which includes decreased fuel efficiency. Other components such as the suspension and steering can also be negatively affected by the underinflated tire.
The tire pressure should be at the top of your priority during the inspection. Even if they’re in good shape, all tires will lose a bit of air as time passes, so it’s a good idea to have the air pressure checked regularly to prevent them from losing too much air.
Tires should also be inspected visually for any damage, punctures, and embedded objects. A heavy impact between either curbs or pothole with the tires often causes damage and cuts that would end up needing new tires even when they’re relatively new.
However, just because the tires are fine in the outside does not mean they’re in perfect condition. Your tire maintenance should also include regular tire rotation and alignment as well as a tread depth inspection.
Oil Changes and Fluid Checks
Checking all the fluids of a car is also recommended to ensure that they’re at the right level and are clean enough to keep the vehicle running smoothly for a very long time. The small investment of your time and money for regular checks for fluids such as coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and engine oils will save you money in the long run especially when it’s done regularly.
The motor oil specifically is an essential fluid to a car as it keeps the inner parts of the engine lubricated and moving. It also needs to be changed more often compared to other fluids. Typically, car manufacturers would recommend having it changed based on a given period or depending on your mileage.
The old rule of thumb is to have the oil changed every 3,000 miles, but automakers today calls for oil changes at either 7,500 or 10,000 miles.
Without the oil, the motion creates heat and friction that could damage engine components severely, forcing car owners to pay for an expensive replacement. Letting it get too dirty will lead to the overheating of the engine or leave sludge in your engine.
Getting your engine oil checked would also allow the auto technician to check the other fluids promptly. Other fluids such as engine coolant, transmission, windshield wiper, brake, power steering and various more are just as vital as the car also relies on them all for proper operation.
Belts and Hoses
A vehicle’s belts and hoses play important roles in keeping the engine functional and failing to check their condition regularly can put the driver’s safety at risk. Belts and hoses can become worn over time from constant use, but extreme temperatures can also make it more susceptible to damage.
The hoses move liquids that are vital, like coolant or brake fluid, to the car’s performance. A cracked or damaged hose can cause leaks of these vital fluids and reduce the efficiency of your vehicle or much more serious problems such as power steering failure, water pump failure, coolant leakage, engine overheat and many more.
Meanwhile, the belts perform a myriad of jobs inside your vehicle. They control components such as your AC compressor, water pump, alternator, your engine valve’s intake and exhaust, and your power steering. It’s still possible for damaged, cracked, or frayed belts to operate, but it can still lead to terrible consequences such as increasing the chances of the engine overheating.
Car owners shouldn’t wait for them to break before taking care of them. During each oil change, make sure that the hoses and belts are checked as well. If you’re doing the inspection yourself, look for cracked, broken, or hardened hoses, and split or slick belts. However, they shouldn’t just be checked once a month, but also be inspected once their warning signs start appearing.
Scent is always an indicator for problems with the hoses. If you noticed the smell of gasoline while the engine is running, the car should be stopped and checked immediately. A sweet and smoky burning smell is also a warning sign with the former indicating that there’s a coolant leak while the latter warns of an oil or transmission fluid leak.
The car would also flash with a “Check Engine” light on the dash or with an engine temperature warning light.
Meanwhile, belts will make noises when there’s an issue. You’ll either hear a squealing noise as the engine accelerates or when the steering wheel is turned fully in either direction when parking. It could also make a slow, rhythmic slapping sound when idle or a whirring or grinding noise from a pulley while the engine is running.
Belts and hoses aren’t parts that should be only replaced when needed but maintained instead. Keeping them in good shape may help you avoid unwanted repair bills, potential injuries, breakdowns on the road.
Clogged Up Air Filter
It’s the job of a vehicle’s air filter to keep dirt and other contaminants away from the engine which could lead to potentially damaging its critical components.
Over time, air filters will become dirty and less effective as more dust, and other particles gather, the filter will struggle to maintain proper airflow to the engine. It can even get dirtier more quickly in areas where smog is prevalent and areas with high traffic congestion.
Keeping it clean at all times should be on every car owner’s checklist as a dirty air filter could cause misfiring engines, unusual noises, and reduced fuel economy.
Fortunately, replacing the air filter is such an easy task that there’s no reason not to do it. They need to get replaced every 10,000 to 15,000 miles, but they might need to be changed more frequently if the vehicle goes through areas with much congestion.
Washing the Car
Car maintenance goes beyond the engine, brakes, and tires. Even the most basic task of washing the car even now and then would improve the state of your vehicle. Many car owners wash their cars only once a month or even less often than that. Since some only see it as a sign of vanity, they might see it as a chore that can be delayed. However, procrastination would just open a new set of problems.
As cars stay outdoors, various kinds of dirt could stick to them which can lead to corrosion, oxidized paint, and rust. While most car paints these days are made from advanced technologies and methods that have improved durability, washing it is one of the best practices to keep it at its finest.
Don’t wait too long to give it a shower and you can bet that keeping your car in top shape wouldn’t be an expensive enterprise.
About the Author
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Yosh McCrea is an automobile specialist for 7 years and has been writing for different brands like All Weather Tyres. When not providing expertise in the automobile technology industry, he spends most of his free time doing volunteer work and learning different musical instruments.