by Bennett Oghifo
Whether you just got a car or have been driving one for long, following certain car maintenance tips can help your car be at its best. If you need some guidance or a checklist of tips for your car to be in its optimal condition, this is a useful read.
Here’s a comprehensive list of car maintenance tips and checklists for every car owner
Inspect your vehicle regularly
Take a walk around your vehicle at least once every week. While you take a walk, inspect your car and look for body damage. You should also inspect your tyres for any wear, punctures or cuts and test every lock, window and even the sunroof.
Change your spark plugs
Spark plugs could affect the efficiency of your car’s engine. They’re responsible for igniting the gas and air mixture that ultimately powers your vehicle. Thus, when the spark plugs don’t function properly, it causes the engine to lose power and it won’t function at its optimal capacity. So get a professional to check your spark plugs so that those plugs are replaced if faulty.
Ensure your cooling system works
Your car’s cooling system and radiator need to be clean to work efficiently and effectively. Your car’s radiator builds up a deposit with normal wear and tear, which can disrupt the cooling system. With a radiator flush, you can keep your cooling system in shape quickly and inexpensively. You can take a look at your car’s manual to find out if you need to flush the radiator once a year or after every two years.
Know the meaning of different warning light indicators
Almost all cars have elaborate systems of sensors and warning lights that tell you everything from whether you forgot to replace the gas cap to the fact that one of your tyres is low on air. Learn what each of your car’s warning lights means and how to fix it. Your owner’s manual can be of great help here. If any light flashes and you can’t immediately pinpoint and fix the problem, take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic right away.
Clean the brake dust off your wheels
The brake dust on your car doesn’t affect the full functioning of your brake but it does make wheels a little unpleasant to look at. When you apply the brake, a mix of materials that come in contact from the brake rotor and brake pad is the brake dust. 92% of the dust is iron. The remaining 8% will be grime, dirt, carbon content and other particles. If these are exposed to the sun along with your wheels, they can leave severe stains on your wheel. So, it is important to clean the dust off your wheels and with a damp sponge. As dust typically clings to your wheels via static electricity, you will also require cold water.
Protect your car interiors
Avoid eating food inside your car as much as possible. A good way is to cover surfaces as much as possible. Keep floor mats, which will keep you from tracking in mud or dirt and grinding it into the carpets with your feet. Add seat covers, which can protect your car seat’s upholstery. Cover can also help aid your posture and even help customize the look of your car. Make it a point to vacuum the car regularly. If you live in a hot region ensure that you keep your windows slightly open. The hot air inside your car has the potential to dry and damage your car’s interiors if it can’t come out.
Check drive belts
Your engine produces power so that other parts and accessories run including the power that your vehicle requires to run. The drive belts shift the power from your cram or crankshaft to the car’s alternator, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, air pump, water pump and any other device that relies on mechanical power. Modern cars use a single belt which is also called a serpentine belt to connect and rotate from the crank pulley. As these belts are typically made of rubber or other polymers, they wear a lot even with normal use. So it’s important to check these belts regularly to inspect for visible hairline cracks or any change in their integrity. You’ll need to look at the integrity of both your serpentine belt or V-belt and your timing belt unless your engine is chain driven.
Your way of driving reflects the condition of your car. If you’re hard on your car and have a habit of fast takeoff, quick braking, sharp quick turns, riding over bumps at high speeds, hard shifting, etc. then your car will wear faster and there can be damage. When you drive smartly and safely, there’s not only less wear and tear on your car but you also can save on fuel costs. So start today by taking a look at your acceleration and braking habits. .
If you’ve got a habit of taking off quickly and applying brakes suddenly, then remember that each smooth transition saves money on gas. When you drive below the speed limit and avoid sudden stops, it will help you stay safer, save money, and help your car last longer.
Carry automotive tools at all times
A good tip is to carry some basic tools, so you can use them to maintain your car on the go and work with those tools in case your car faces different problems. For example, if you delay fixing a leak, it can cause potential damage to your engine. Either you’ll need to get your car towed or use your tools to work on the problem. After that, driving might not be an option. A few tools that can be helpful are thick gloves, heat resistant waterproof silicone tape, electrical tape, wire cutters, screwdrivers, tongue and groove pliers, a flashlight and a knife. You can carry a tool kit.
A set of tools can come handy and will give you choices that you wouldn’t have otherwise. They’ll be useful in other situations as well.
Keep your car covered
Keeping your car away from the reach of sunlight, trees and birds can help your car’s paint and interior remain in good condition. Extreme weather, harmful radiation and nature can take a toll on your vehicle. You might wash your car regularly and use a protectant on plastic and rubber parts but a car cover is important too. It will keep your car looking its best for years to come so a car cover is a good investment. So keep your car covered when not in use and try to keep it in your garage.
Clean your windshield and replace the wipers
A dirty windshield will not let you see clearly and thus create inconvenience. They can cause visual impairments if not cleaned regularly and can result in accidents at times. For safe driving, the driver must have a clear view of the road. If you don’t clean those windshields, the dirt and particles will accumulate and can scratch the windshield when you use the wipers.Check your wipers when the rainy season is approaching and get them replaced if needed. Your car’s glass can get scratches and obstruct your view if you use damaged wipers and it might lead to the need to replace your entire windshield. (Source: Carcility)