Basic preventive maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure the long-term well being of your vehicle. We all agree that dealing with the hassle of expensive and time-consuming repairs, so preventative maintenance is definitely something you do not want to ignore.
Here are some things you’ll want to regularly maintain and check yourself.
Basic Inspection: One of the easiest things you can do is give your vehicle its own basic inspection. Give it a quick walk-around and look for anything out of the ordinary, like leaks, low tire pressure, or rust.
Check Lights and Glass: Next, check to make sure all of your lights are working and that your lenses and reflectors are intact and not cracked, fogged with moisture, or missing. Give your windshield wipers a quick glance. If they look rough and cracked, it’s probably time to replace them. If your windshield wipers are skipping and streaking, take a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol soaked into it, and run it up and down the rubber part of your wipers. If that doesn’t fix the issue, it’s time to replace them.
Keep It Clean: Also, if you’re having trouble seeing out of your windshield, try cleaning it from the inside. If you wash your own car, you tend to concentrate on the outside, but a good cleaning on the inside can make a big difference in visibility.
Go Under the Hood: You’ll want to inspect your battery and fluids. Check the terminals on your battery for loose connections, dirt, or any chalky looking substances. They may need a good cleaning, which is easily done with a steel wire brush.
While newer vehicles will warn you once your fluid levels fall below appropriate levels, it’s always a good idea to know how to check them yourself. For most vehicles, anything under the hood in yellow are things that you can easily check yourself. Most have gauges or dipsticks you can pull out to check current fluid levels against a notch that indicates optimal levels, while with others you’ll be able to see the tank level directly.
Your fluids are one of the most important things if you want your vehicle to last. Get in the habit of checking your oil regularly if you don’t already. You’ll also want to check your power steering fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant.
Inspect Your Belt: It’s also a great idea to inspect your serpentine belt. If your belt is in very bad condition it will have visible cording and ribbing. In addition, any belt that has thick cracks or chunks should be replaced immediately.
Don’t Ignore Dash Lights: Last, do not ignore dash lights, especially the ones that read, “check engine.” If you get a light on the dash, have it checked out. The solution could be relatively simple.
These are just a few things that every vehicle needs and you can do yourself relatively quickly. Be sure to read your owner’s manual and give proper attention to all of your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance. Furthermore, remember to keep records and receipts of all your maintenance for future reference. This can come in really handy if you need to make a warranty claim, you may be required to prove you’ve done your part to keep your car in tip-top shape.
Benjamin Franklin was right: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is particularly true of your vehicle!