Every car owner/driver’s responsibility is to make sure that his/her car is in its best condition at all times. This is to ensure safety and to avoid further problems that would entail higher cost in repair or replacement. We have enumerated some of the most basic tips on how to ensure proper car maintenance.
Ideally, tire pressure should be checked at least once a week. Over-inflation consumes more gasoline, while over or under-inflation can easily wear out your tires. Check your car manual for the correct air pressure that should be loaded in your tires. Improper tire pressure affects fuel economy and ease in handling.
Moreover, front and rear tires wear out differently. It is recommended to rotate your tires to even out the wear. Your car manual will provide you with the recommended rotation periods.
An oil level that’s too high or too low can damage your engine, so a regular check of oil level is advised. It is something everyone can do. To check the oil level, park your car on a level ground. Once the engine has cooled down, locate the dipstick and pull it out. Clean the dipstick with a rag, and dip it in the tube again until the top is properly sealed to the opening. Wait for a few seconds and pull out the dipstick. If your oil level is between the two dots (denotes ‘High’ and ‘Low’ level), you’re safe. If it’s too low, add a little. See? It’s that easy.
Moreover, a regular oil change is highly encouraged to ensure that the engine is bathed with clean and smooth motor oil. As the engine operates, various debris from different internal engine parts fall off and goes to the engine oil. Clean oil allows internal parts of the engine to operate smoothly. Ideally, it is best to have an oil change (and oil filter) every 5000 kilometers or more, depending on the manufacturer’s suggestion that can be seen in, you’ve guessed it, your car manual.
Coolant, a mixture of anti-freeze element and water, ensures that the water does not turn into ice nor boil in extreme weather conditions. It also prevents rust in the radiator and thus, needs to be checked regularly. You can easily check the level by looking at the overflow tank. If the coolant level is low, it’s safe to add a few ounces of water. But if you are to add more than a quart, fill it with a mixture of anti-freeze and water. Remember not to open the radiator cap when the engine is hot and pressurized, for it will burn you. Let it cool down for 30 minutes before opening.
Also, you should also examine the quality of coolant in your system. It should not be brownish. Also, coolant with floating rusts is an indication of coolant that seriously needs to be replaced. The longer your car goes without fresh fluid, the more serious damage it will cause to your engine.
Rubber wears out easily, so these belts should be replaced more often than we think. Timing belt is a synthetic rubber that links two engine valves that allow air and gas to flow in to the engine. It causes these two valves to move in harmony; without it, these valves will collide. This collision can cause serious damage to your car’s engine. Therefore, it is best to replace timing belts before its lifespan – every 3 years or after every 80,000 kilometers, whichever goes first. Check your car’s maintenance manual to know more about what the manufacturer suggests.
Proper car maintenance will save you money in the long run and will spare you from the hassle of serious damage. It is best to have a logbook to keep you on track with all the maintenance procedures and schedules of your vehicle. Make sure your car is checked regularly by your trusted mechanic. And remember, prevention is always better than cure.