Even if you don’t know how to use a screwdriver, you can save money by caring for the basic maintenance of your car. But what are they? And are they difficult? Here are the 4 basics of DIY auto maintenance explained.
1. Oil changes
Keeping your oil topped up and changed regularly is a great way to keep your car purring on the road. Your engine is made up of moving parts. The oil in your engine not only lubricates those parts, but acts as a detergent, a rust inhibitor, reduces friction, assists in heat dispersion, absorbs heat and helps prevent overheating.
- Don’t ignore your oil light when it comes on. Use the grade of oil recommended by your manufacturer. Check your car manual for the oil change schedule and don’t skip those dates.
2. Kick the tires
Keeping your car’s tires in good condition is essential for operating your vehicle safely.
- If the light for your tire pressure comes on (assuming you have tire pressure sensors), immediately go to a gas station and fill the tire with air. Check your manual for the correct PSI (pressure amount for your tires). When it gets cold, be sure to check the tire pressure every two weeks.
- If the tires are wearing out in a particular pattern, it’s a strong indicator that your wheel alignment or suspension may need work.
- If your steering wheel vibrates, it may mean the tires need balancing.
3. Pay attention to the other fluids
Besides the oil, your car needs other fluids to keep it running.
- Be sure to check the coolant level regularly and top up when needed. Before winter hits, check the level of your antifreeze.
- Always keep your windshield washer fluid topped up and have an extra container in your trunk for emergencies, especially in snowy and slushy weather!
4. Don’t drive carelessly
This may seem like a no-brainer, but driving your car carefully can extend its lifespan.
- If you accelerate your engine quickly during start-up it can add wear and tear, so let your car warm up in cold weather before driving.
- Accelerate slowly when the light turns green—it’s not a race, people. If you drive an automatic, shift to neutral at red lights to give the engine a rest.