Friday, November 17, 2017

Yearly Vehicle Maintenance That Cannot be Skipped

Prevention is the best medicine in many situations, and it’s especially true when it comes to your car. With appropriate preventive maintenance, you can protect your investment, prolong the life of your car, and save money by increasing your car’s mileage. Start by reading the owner’s manual that came with your car, since there’s a good deal of valuable information in it that can save you time and money. Make sure you don’t skip these three annual car maintenance tasks.

Change the Oil

Take some time to look around under the hood of your car and get to know a few basic parts. Checking the oil should be easy. Usually, you’ll find a dipstick clearly marked and easily accessible, but some cars have an electronic gauge instead. Check the oil regularly so you become accustomed to the consistency and appearance of clean oil.

If the oil starts to get muddy or mucky way before the recommended mileage indicator, your vehicle may have more serious problems that a mechanic needs to repair. Years ago, the rule of thumb was to change your oil every 3,000 miles. Newer models, however, typically require oil changes approximately every 10,000 miles.

Check the Brake Pads

It’s a good idea to check your brake pads at least once a year. This is easiest to check when the car is up on the lift for tire maintenance. Most brake pads need replacing every 20,000 to 30,000 miles. If you notice shaking, vibrations, or a grinding sound when you apply your brakes, get them checked sooner. Sometimes a grinding sound may just be a bit of rust wearing off, especially if your car hasn’t been driven in a few days. If the noise doesn’t stop after applying the brakes a couple of times, have a mechanic inspect the pads and change them if necessary.

Rotate the Tires
There’s much more to tire maintenance than simply replacing your tires. Having your tires rotated and balanced on a regular basis will increase the life of the tires. Be sure to have your car’s alignment checked at the same time. Rough roads and potholes are hard on your tires and alignment, even if you don’t live in an area with a harsh climate.

Consider how and where you drive. If your car isn’t riding a smoothly as it did when you purchased it, have the tires checked. You may have simply lost some pressure when you hit that pothole last week, or there may be more serious issue at stake.

Cars manufactured in the 21st century don’t need as much upkeep as vintage models, and some new models can go twice as long between tuneups than older models can. Check the owner’s manual for each car’s specific needs in order to save time and money. Have a calendar handy when you review the manual, and make a note of future car care dates. Many owner’s manuals are available online, making it easier than ever to find the information you need.