Had easy access to a car while living with your parents? Well, the odds are that your parents either paid for its maintenance or gave you naggy speeches about taking it into the shop for maintenance service to be done.
If you’ve now shifted out, the responsibility of ensuring that your car is in tip-top shape now lies in your own hands. No doubt that this is an expensive and time-consuming affair, that is more than just purchasing rubber car mats online but you had better do it rather than waiting till bigger problems arise, which are bound to cost you more down the road.
Read on for a curated list of tips that will help your car stay at the top of its game.
While pumping petrol
1. Wipe down your windshield
Not only is a grimy windshield full of bird shit a safety hazard, but it also looks very unsightly. To prevent accidents from occurring due to an obscured view, give your windshield a good wipe while you’re at the petrol station waiting for your tank to be filled. It’s simple to do so by using the spongy portion of the squeegee provided at gas stations.
After thoroughly soaking your windshield with a cleaning solution, pull the squeegee tightly from the middle to the sides, ensuring that you get every part of the glass. This is bound to be much cleaner than simply using your wipers to wipe off bug carcasses, which do little to solve the problem and merely create a larger mess. Repeat the same steps if your headlights look like they could use some cleaning as well.
2. Check the pressure of your tires
While you’re waiting for your tank to be filled at the gas station, take the time to also check your tire pressure, ensuring that it isn’t over or underinflated. This helps to keep you safe and could even save you money down the road!
Tires that are over or underinflated don’t handle as well as if they were of the correct pressure. This also means a lowered tire lifespan as well as decreased fuel efficiency. In addition, the chances of a tire blowout occurring is also higher when you have incorrectly inflated tires.
3. Check if your car oil is sufficient
If the oil level isn’t sufficient, be sure to top it up. Motor oil is an indispensable factor contributing to your car’s performance. What it does is to keep all the moving parts in your engine lubricated, ensuring that the parts don’t grind and tear, which could lead to decreased performance and even dysfunction as they break down sooner.
Motor oil also acts as a means of heat transfer during the combustion cycle, trapping and holding any combustion byproducts which could negatively affect your car’s performance. Without sufficient oil in your engine, your car is at a high risk of breaking down.
To prevent this from happening, cultivate a habit of regularly checking if your car has sufficient oil. While the instruction manual that comes with your car may recommend that this be done every time you fill up the gas, it is usually sufficient to do it every alternate visit to the gas station.
If you are deterred by the assumed difficulty of checking your oil, fear not. It is an easy process— a clean paper towel, sufficient light, and no more than five minutes are needed. Do this check the last as you will have to wait for a while after turning off the engine to let the oil drain back into the pan, where its level can be checked.
DIY maintenance steps to take
With technological advances, newer cars are often more and more complex with computers and high-tech software installed within. This means that correspondingly, maintenance jobs now need some sort of training and specialized tools before they can be done.
However, there are still some simple tasks that can be carried out by most men. While these tasks may not be the most worthy to DIY in terms of time or money saved, the sense of satisfaction of being able to do it by yourself is something that every man should try once for himself.
1. Replace your air filter every time you travel 12,000 miles.
Of all the DIY car maintenance jobs, the easiest one to do is change your air filter. Doing so regularly will help to increase the fuel efficiency of your car, ensuring that your engine has a longer shelf life and reducing the emissions generated during your drive.
If you were hesitant on changing your car’s oil because of the accompanying hassle to dispose of the used oil responsibly, rest assured that changing the air filter doesn’t have any such accompanying hassles to be taken care of. Diy-ing this saves you the hassle of having to bring the car into a shop for an easy job.
2. Rotate your tires every time you travel 10,000 miles
Did you know that your front and rear tires wear at different rates? This is why it’s important to rotate them regularly to level out their natural wear patterns. This makes for a smoother ride which is also safer. Replacing tires can be a costly affair, and regularly rotating them, helps to extend how long your tires are good for.
3. Give your car regular washes
On your daily drive, your car is subjected to the harsh sun, salt from the wind, grease, and grime, dead bugs flying into your windshield, and even bird-shit. These slowly corrode your paint, and eventually, the metal in your car once the paint layer is gone. While not washing your car doesn’t have immediate effects on your car, it’s the eventual resale value of the car that will be affected if the corrosion takes place over time.
If you’re wondering how often you wash the car, you should first ask yourself where you live. If the area you live in is near the coast, this means that the air is likely to be more saturated with sea salt. In this case, a weekly wash or a bi-weekly wash is recommended. If you live inland, then once a month may be sufficient.
The season also plays a part in how often you should wash your car. In the winter, more frequent washes are needed than in summer, as salt-lined roads are common. The snow may also contain acidic compounds, which will add to the corrosion of your paint job as well.
Your car isn’t going to magically clean itself. To ensure that your car holds its value, get into the habit of regularly performing small maintenance tasks on it. This will save you lots of money in the long run!