Regular Vehicle Maintenance – All You Need to Know

A benchman doing regular vehicle maintenance

Buying a car is a significant investment, but in addition to the original purchase, cars require regular upkeep in order to ensure their longevity and performance. Regular vehicle maintenance not only extends the life of your vehicle but also helps ensure both your safety and that of others on the road. 

If you own a car, it’s important to take care of a few routine maintenance needs. This article will cover all you need to know about maintaining your car.

The Importance of Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Before stepping into the list of protocols you need to follow, let’s cover the common question, “What is car maintenance?”

Regular auto maintenance is a process that car owners need to participate in on a regular basis to ensure that each component of their vehicle is working as it should. The maintenance process is crucial for several reasons. For one, well-maintained cars are less likely to suffer from mechanical failures that could result in accidents. In addition, routine care helps keep vehicles running smoothly and prevents issues from becoming both serious and costly. Finally, if you ever plan to resell your car, a car you cared for is going to sell better than one that’s been neglected.

Essential Vehicle Maintenance Components

A mechanic checking a wheel of car

Several steps are involved in normal car maintenance, but not all of these steps need to be taken at the same time. For the best outcomes, it’s wise to have a car maintenance schedule to follow. This way, you can take care of each component of your car as the need arises.

Oil Changes

Scheduled oil changes are a must for keeping your engine running smoothly. Your car’s oil lubricates the moving parts of the engine, reduces mechanical friction, and helps reduce heat. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend changing the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but you’ll want to refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for more specific guidelines on how to care for your car.

It’s also customary to change your car’s oil filters, and check the air filters, during an oil change.

Tire Maintenance

Keeping an eye on your tires helps ensure good traction, increase your fuel efficiency, and keep you safe on the road. Be sure to check your tire pressure at least monthly, especially before taking a long trip. Check your owner’s manual to determine what your tire pressure should be and keep them at the recommended pressure levels. You’ll also need to get your tires rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, then replace them when you notice the tread is worn.

Brake Inspection

A mechanic doing brake inspection of car

For safety, your car needs a reliable braking system, so have your brakes inspected at least once a year. Take your vehicle to a professional auto mechanic if you notice squeaking, grinding, or a spongy-feeling brake pedal. It’s also important to regularly replace your brake pads and rotors. Again, your owner’s manual should be able to offer you a general schedule for this.

Fluid Checks

On top of engine oil, your car uses several other fluids to run properly, so making sure all of these fluids are at proper levels is also a must.

  • Coolant: Prevents the engine from overheating.
  • Transmission fluid: Ensures smooth shifting of gears.
  • Brake fluid: Provides the hydraulic pressure necessary for braking.
  • Power steering fluid: Aids in steering the vehicle easily.

Battery Care

A mechanic checking battery of car

Check your car battery regularly to make sure there is no corrosion on the battery terminals. You’ll also want to very gently shake your battery to make sure it’s securely mounted. Because most car batteries last between three and five years, you should have the battery tested at least once a year when it starts getting close to the end of its lifecycle.

Other Routine Tasks

In addition to routine maintenance for your car, it’s also critical to ensure that all of your lights (headlights, brake lights, and turn signals) are functioning correctly. You’ll also need to replace your windshield wipers if they start to streak or fail to clear your windshield. Belts and hoses also need to be checked for any signs of wear, brittleness, or cracks.

Seasonal Maintenance Needs

Couple doing regular vehicle maintenance

Changing seasons can affect your vehicle’s performance in various ways, so you may need to perform seasonal maintenance activities to keep your car running smoothly. During winter, check your antifreeze levels and make sure your car’s heating system is working as it should. Keep your gas tank at least half full to keep your fuel line from freezing. You might also need to switch to winter tires if you live in an area with extreme weather.

During summer, make sure your air conditioner works, check your coolant regularly, and inspect your battery as temperatures rise.

Following the best maintenance for cars calls for attention and care. Follow the guidelines outlined in this article, and if you find yourself second-guessing your automotive skills, take your vehicle to a licensed mechanic for help. Remember, a well-maintained car will remain reliable for years to come, so don’t neglect your car maintenance routine.

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