The best way to keep your running smoothly, and save money on car repair bills, is still to service it regularly, and to perform small repairs as soon as you notice a problem. Skimping on regular car service and maintenance chores is a really bad idea, so to help you keep your car performing at its best, we have compiled this list of 6 essential car maintenance tips that will keep your running like new.
Check brake fluid
Check the brake fluid level at least once a week. Sudden fluctuations in the level mean that there is a leak in the system somewhere that could lead to sudden brake failure.
Brake fluid also absorbs water from the atmosphere, which means that it could start to boil under hard braking, but equally bad, water in the brake fluid causes rust and corrosion in the metal parts of the brake system, which causes leaks, and reduced brake performance. Replace brake fluid at least once every year to prevent brake problems
Check tires once a week for signs of cuts, tears, bulges, or uneven wear patterns. Uneven wear can be the result of many causes. While misaligned wheels are easy to correct, the cause of the misalignment may not be, since it could involve worn steering and suspension components, and even structural damage to the body work.
Spend a few minutes once a week to inspect all your tires- and especially the inflation pressures. Under inflation will show as uneven wear on the edges of the tread, while over inflation will show a band of wear in the center of the tread. Also rotate the tires every few thousand miles to extend their life.
Check the battery
Have the battery checked at least three times a year to avoid electrical problems. While cold weather is hard on batteries, hot humid weather is even worse and most battery failures occur during summer. Defective batteries also cause havoc with electronic systems such as the alarm/security system, central locking, and even the fuel injection system.
Replace the engine oil
How long your engine lasts depends on the quality of the oil in it, so be sure to always use the best quality oil available, as opposed to the best you can afford. Car manufacturers are also very specific about the grade of oil to be used during different times of the year, so play it safe, and protect your engine by never skipping an oil change.
Replace the spark plugs
Without properly working spark plugs to supply the spark for complete combustion, your car will suffer from reduced performance, increased fuel consumption, and issues like frequent stalling, hesitation, surging, and hard starting.
Always replace the spark plugs at the correct interval, and then only with plugs of the correct type, heat grade, and electrode construction. Many performance and fuel consumption related problems are the direct result of worn spark plugs, so always follow the recommendations in the service schedule with regard to spark plug replacement.
Never ignore warning lights
By illuminating a warning light on the dashboard, your car is telling you that something is wrong somewhere. You may not always notice an effect on performance and handling when the light comes on, but ignoring the light could result in serious damage to several critical systems if you continue driving.
You may make it to a nearby repair shop, or you may not, so the best thing to do when warning lights come on is to stop immediately, or as soon as you can do so safely, then to switch off the car and call for assistance.