We all rely on vehicles in one way or another and most of us own our own using it for both business and pleasure. Maintaining a vehicle is perhaps one of the least appreciated aspects of daily life. Each year drivers cost themselves millions of dollars simply because they didn’t take the time to maintain their vehicle. It is true that maintaining a care takes both time and money, but when you choose to not take care of your vehicle it can cost you a great deal more of both. While there are always going to be cars that break down, following these tips will help make sure that there is less a chance your car will break down on you.
10. Check Tire Pressure
Flat tires are one of the single greatest costs to motorists every year. Combine this financial cost with the fact that flat tires are also one of the leading causes of accidents and you have a great reason to pay attention to your car tires. One of the leading causes of flat tires is tire pressure that is either to low or too high but this problem is easily preventable. All you need to do to make sure your tire pressure is at the right level is buy an inexpensive air pressure gauge and consult the tire’s manufacturer about the ideal tire pressure.
9. Don’t Run on Low Fuel too Often
Every car needs fuel. While there are some vehicles that run on electricity, most still use gas and everyone knows an empty gas tank means the car isn’t going anywhere. What most people do not realize is that constantly running your car on a near empty tank can actually cause problems with the fuel pump. The fuel pump is what pumps the gas from the fuel tank to the engine allowing the engine to run. When the fuel pump fails the engine doesn’t get gas. One of the most common reasons for a fuel pump to fail is the pump burning out because of too little gas covering it. In order to help prevent your fuel pump from burning out, it is a great idea to make sure you rarely if ever run your car at below a quarter of a tank.
8. Change Oil Regularly
Aside from fuel, motor oil is probably the single most important fluid in your car. Motor oil lubricates the engine, reducing the friction between moving parts which helps prevent overheating and engine damage. Over time oil breaks down and gets dirty which reduces its effectiveness as a lubricant. As the engine continues to work this lack of lubrication starts to cause more heat and damage as the parts begin to clang together harder and more often. For this reason it is a very good idea to take your car in for a regular oil change.
7. Wash the Underside of the Car Often
As you drive your car will suck up a lot of debris into both the engine and undercarriage of the vehicle. While many of the newer models have various ways to help prevent this problem, they don’t completely stop debris from getting into places. Road debris becomes a problem because it can wind up lodging in belts, pulleys, and other moving parts which can eventually lead to a breakdown. To help prevent debris associated break downs it is simply a matter of taking time to spray underneath your car about once a month or so.
6. Check Brakes
Bad brakes are one of the biggest causes behind accidents and cars going off the road. Many motorists are unaware that brakes are actually made to wear down over time and so they don’t keep track of the condition of their brakes as well as they should. Most people tend to wait until their brakes begin to squeal before getting them changed and while this isn’t a bad idea, it never hurts to check your brakes periodically while you drive by sensing if there is too much of a space between the depression of the brake pedal and the slowing of the car.
5. Check Lights
Car Lights are more a safety consideration than a mechanical one, but they are still important. Lights are used both to drive in the dark and to alert other motorists to your intentions in traffic. Many accidents have happened because someone wasn’t aware their lights were not working properly. To test your lights have a friend stand outside your car while you turn each light on and off, if any light does not light up, take it in to have the problem fixed as soon as you can.
4. Pay Attention to the Check Engine Light
The check engine light may seem like it was put in your car simply to annoy you but it is designed to be your first warning that your car is not working correctly. Many times a check engine light will go on and people will ignore it because there is no sign of a significant problem and the truth is there probably isn’t a big problem at that point. However, if the problem isn’t corrected this will eventually cause a much bigger problem. It can be inconvenient to take a care in every time a check engine light turns on, but it is much more inconvenient for you to lose your car for several days while it gets and expensive repair done.
3. Service Your Radiator
The radiator and all the associated systems serve the purpose of keeping your car from getting too hot or too cold. Over time the fluid that runs through the radiator and the engine becomes less effective at its job and this can eventually lead to either an engine overheating or an engine freezing and cracking. For this reason you should remember to have your radiator serviced.
2. Have a Mechanic inspect Your vehicle Once a Year
The truth about cars is that they will eventually break down but with proper maintenance these breakdowns can largely be prevented. One of the best people to go to with car concerns are the mechanics who have the training and know how to recognize even the smallest problem and fix them. It is never easy to pay a mechanic because many people don’t understand what they do, but a bill for a mechanic to inspect your vehicle is almost always going to be lower than the bill will be for a large repair.
1. Pay attention to Weird Noises
Cars make noise, it’s part of how you know they are working, but when a car makes a weird noise that can mean there is a problem. It doesn’t matter if it’s a strange squeak when you open the car door, a loud thump when you turn left or a rattle in the back seat, any noise that is unusual should be investigated. More often than not these noises are harmless, but it is always best to double check on things before costing yourself a great deal of time and money.