We’ve all been there — you are perfectly sticking to your budget, staying away from extra purchases, and then out of nowhere, your car stops working. All of a sudden you have hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars’ worth of work to do on your car to get it up and running again. However, you can avoid this issue many times by doing the proper preventative maintenance to your car. With that in mind, here are several ways that you can do preventative maintenance on your car to avoid sudden and costly repairs:
Read Your Owner’s Manual
Your owner’s manual will have details on many of the things that you will need to do regular maintenance on. Although there are some anecdotes floating around about how often you should do regular maintenance, your car’s specific instructor’s manual will tell you how often you really need to do things like oil changes. So whether you are driving one of the 3.5 million trucks out there or if you are driving a sedan, you will find everything you need to know in your owner’s manual.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Tire pressure gauges are easy to get a hold of and inexpensive to purchase. If you keep an eye on your tire pressure, you can avoid the problems that come with flat tires. Refilling your tires with additional air can be done at many gas stations, and it is much cheaper to check your tire pressure regularly than to end up with an inconvenient flat tire.
Check Your Lights
Regularly checking your lights is important to ensure that you don’t end up with a ticket. In addition, it’s dangerous to drive at night without headlights and this can easily lead to a potentially dangerous (and costly) accident.
Check Your Fluid Levels
Checking the fluid levels in your car can be a very easy way to make sure you know what kind of shape your car is in. Check your owner’s manual for how to check the various fluid levels in your car, as they should be outlined in there. You don’t have to learn how to change most of these fluids, but you should at least know how to recognize when they’re low. Here are the fluids you should regularly keep an eye on:
- Power steering
- Wiper fluid
Check your owner’s manual and make sure to keep your levels within the proper ranges to keep your car running at tip-top shape.
Get Your Oil Changed
Getting your oil changed is very important to keeping your car running as it should be. Make sure to check your owner’s manual for how often you need to get your oil changed — it will vary from one vehicle to the next, and there is no “one size fits all” interval of time or mileage that should be between oil changes.
If you bought one of the 17 million new vehicles in 2017, you should check with your dealership to see if they offer free or discounted oil changes for a set amount of time or miles.
Replace Your Windshield Wipers
If your windshield wipers are starting to leave streaks across your windshield when you use them, you should change them as soon as possible. Of the four main causes of auto body damage — weather, negligence, fender benders, and high-speed collisions — all can be caused by being unable to see out of your front window due to snow or rain and old windshield wipers. They’re key to making sure you’re able to safely operate your car, and they’re very easy to install yourself. Some auto parts shops will even include free installation with the purchase of a set of windshield wipers.
Get Your Tires Rotated
Getting your tires rotated helps your tires wear evenly, which will help them last longer. Tires can be extremely expensive, so making your set last as long as possible is important if you’re looking to save money and put off replacing your tires as long as it is safe to do so.
Change Your Spark Plugs
If your spark plugs aren’t properly functioning, then your engine isn’t properly functioning. They can become worn out or be coated in the build-up, and both are bad for your engine’s long term health. There are many tutorials online on how to replace your spark plugs, and the entire process is not that difficult.
Get Your Brakes Checked
If you aren’t regularly getting your brakes checked, you could be setting yourself up for an accident. Your brakes are a very important part of your car’s safety measures, and if they aren’t being regularly checked, you could easily get in an accident and end up with many more costly repairs to be made.
If you stay on top of your car’s maintenance, you can avoid sudden and costly repairs to your car. Start with your owner’s manual, and you can keep on saving and sticking to your budget with a lower chance of sudden monetary surprises.
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