Buying a car can be a big investment and when you have handed over the cash and got the keys your thoughts should then turn to how best to keep the vehicle in top shape and on the road for as long as possible.
If you don’t maintain and look after your car it will only be a matter of time before your lack of action comes back to bite you, often in the form of a hefty repair bill that maybe could have been avoided with regular maintenance.
Here are some top tips on how to look after your car and keep everything in working order.
Change the filters regularly
Air and oil filters are designed to collect particles and protect your engine from harm so that it can run as efficiently as possible, which is why you need to check them on a regular basis.
Your car’s oil and air filters should be replaced as part of your regular servicing schedule and you can either get a mechanic to do this for you or get the parts and do it yourself, which would be cheaper.
You can seek out more info on how to buy auto parts at a fair price if you intend to get under the hood yourself and do some of the more basic maintenance tasks that are reasonably simple to accomplish, even if you don’t have any specific car repair skills.
It is worth remembering that you can often extend the life of your air filter if you take it out and give it a wash fairly frequently, which will be the ideal time to inspect it and see if its time for a replacement.
Go easy on your car
Another easy but worthwhile tip to bear in mind is that you extend the life of your engine and avoid undue wear and tear when you treat your car with a bit of respect.
Driving the car less aggressively and being conscious of driving smoothly so that you avoid excessive braking will deliver better fuel economy and help extend the life of major components for longer than if you put the pedal to the metal.
Although it is better all round to drive the car conservatively, it doesn’t hurt to rev the engine up to the red line for a few brief moments every few hundred miles. The reason for doing this is that it will help clear any carbon build up, but wait until the engine has warmed up properly before doing this.
Get to know what the warning lights mean
A lot of modern vehicles will have computerized engine management and early warning system to alert you of any potential problem with your car that needs attention.
These sophisticated sensors and warning systems are designed to prompt you into taking action before the problem gets worse.
Take the time to learn about what all the warning lights on your dashboard mean and what action you need to take to resolve the problem. If your engine warning light comes on it will be the system telling you that there is a fault with one of the engine components.
There are thousands of codes programmed into most vehicles, so consult your driver’s handbook for guidance and get a technician to take a look straight away if you can’t pinpoint what the problem is.
Always pay attention to your vehicle’s warning lights and don’t delay when your car is telling you that something is wrong.
Check your tire pressures regularly
Driving around with incorrect tire pressures is never a good idea for a number of good reasons.
If your tires don’t have the right amount of air in them it will have an impact on your fuel economy and also affect the performance and safety of your car.
Incorrect tire pressures will cause you to put more of a strain on your brakes and the car in general, causing wear and tear that could have been avoided with a regular check to see if the right amount of air is in your tires.
Check your levels
Another simple but effective maintenance tip is to check your oil and engine coolant levels frequently.
It stands to reason that your engine has a lot of moving parts in it and having a sufficient amount of oil running around these parts is integral to the performance and operation of your vehicle.
Checking your engines oil level regularly is a real no-brainer tip as it is a simple and quick job that could save you a lot of money if you don’t check it and your engine suffers damage through excessive friction.
If the oil is very black when you check it, this can be a sign of contaminants in your engine or sludge. Ideally, you want the oil to be an amber colour when you check the dipstick level.
Know when its time to change the spark plugs
You can often get a clue that it might be time to change your spark plugs in the form of the occasional engine misfire, erratic idling, problems with starting, or a noticeable lack of acceleration.
It is normally recommended that you change your spark plug every 30,000 miles but check your handbook to see what the suggested interval period is for your car.
Replacing your spark plugs shouldn’t be a difficult task to do yourself and you will prolong the life of your vehicle if you change the spark plugs when they need to be replaced.
Adhere to service schedules
It can be tempting to delay servicing your car to save a bit of cash but any short-term savings will probably be outweighed by the cost of repairs and reduced lifespan of your vehicle.
Regular servicing will keep your car in the best possible shape and provide an early-warning system for identifying any potential problems at an early stage before something goes wrong.
Maintaining your car and keeping on top of your servicing schedule is a smart move if you want to prolong the life of your car and keep your motoring costs as low as possible.