A car is a big investment, so it’s best to keep it running for as long as possible. Use these 7 maintenance tips to keep your vehicle on the road, instead of at the garage, and extend its life.
1. Change your oil and oil filter
Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this, and the numbers can range from every 5,000 kilometres to 15,000 kilometres, or even more. Oil is the lifeblood of the car, so keeping it fresh will do more to help an engine last than anything else.
2. Keep your tires properly inflated
Check your tire pressure weekly to ensure that it conforms to the standards outlined in your owner’s manual or on the sidewall of the tires. Improperly inflated tires can affect fuel economy and car handling. An underinflated tire bulges out, putting extra pressure on the sidewalls and running the risk of blowing. An overinflated tire makes less road contact, which may cause hydroplaning.
3. Replace the air filter
Changing a dirty, clogged, or damaged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 per cent. You may have to replace it more often if you do a lot of driving on grimy, dirty roads.
4. Get new windshield wipers
It’s important to replace your windshield wipers at least once a year in Canada, where ice, cold, snow, and salt can really wear them down. After all, if you can’t see well, you aren’t safe. As a rule of thumb, if your wipers are leaving visible streaks or can’t whisk away light rain, it’s time to get new ones.
5. Check your brakes
Your brakes keep you safe, so don’t put yourself and loved ones at risk by driving around on ones that have seen better days. If they respond, feel, or sound differently than usual, take them into a licensed auto mechanic right away to have them checked.
6. Make sure all lights work
These include headlights, turn signals, brake lights, tail lights, and interior lights.
7. Check the coolant and radiator
The radiator and its chemical coolant, antifreeze, keep your car running at just the right temperature. Low coolant levels, cracked hoses, broken or loose belts, and leaks can lead to breakdowns, especially in hot weather. Check your coolant levels and visually inspect the radiator and its parts. The coolant should be changed once a year.
Car upkeep isn’t a mystery. Your owner’s manual has a maintenance schedule for your specific make and model. Follow it and you will minimize car problems and enjoy a long, healthy running life