Preventative vehicle maintenance is a crucial thing to learn as a vehicle owner. When you buy your first nice car, it’s all too easy to assume that unless something is noticeably wrong, the only maintenance required is filling the tank with gas. But as most of us know, no one likes seeing the bill the first time they take their vehicle into the shop. Vehicle repairs can be incredibly expensive, and a lot of people don’t realize how preventable a lot of serious vehicle problems are. Learning some basic preventative vehicle maintenance will save you time, money, and headaches, and it’s really not that difficult. One way to think about it is like your dental health. Something as simple as regularly flossing and brushing can save you from ever having to deal with cavities, root canals, or any serious (and seriously expensive) dental work. The same goes for your vehicle. Simple, regular maintenance can be the difference between a costly visit to the mechanic every year and a well-oiled machine – literally!
By far the most important maintenance for any vehicle is having your oil changed. You’ve probably heard this a thousand times from any mechanic, and it’s absolutely true. Having your oil changed regularly is cheap, easy and makes a huge difference in the long term quality of your vehicle. Vehicles contain a lot of moving components, and oil is a crucial component to keeping these pieces moving smoothly. Even some of the smallest pieces in your vehicle can cost a fortune if damaged. The thing about not changing your oil is that the damage it can cause can be unpredictable. Sometimes the damage can come on a relatively cheap, easily replaceable part, other times you’re looking at a massive bill or possibly permanent damage. And changing your oil isn’t just about lubricating all those important moving parts. Oil can also get dirty, leaving behind deposits that can clog up the internal components and cause immeasurable damage. An oil change doesn’t have to be that frequent either – usually twice a year, or every 50,000 km or so will keep your vehicle running well. For less than $100, you can get a professional to change your oil in under an hour. If you want to save money, changing the oil yourself can be learned pretty easily as well. So keep your oil topped up by checking the oil levels every few weeks, and do a full oil change a few times a year. It’s by far the best way to avoid the most preventable damage to your vehicle, as well as maintaining its resale value.
Clean your Fuel System
Fuel injector cleaner is another easy way to maintain your vehicle. Assuming your vehicle is already in running condition, you probably won’t need to run fuel injector cleaner through it more than once a year. The huge advantage to cleaning your fuel injectors is that it can help keep your car running smoothly. Rough, choppy idling can make your vehicle feel like it’s in worse condition than it really is – sometimes it’s simply a buildup of carbon in the fuel injectors. To avoid the problem altogether, simply running some fuel injector cleaner through your engine once in a while can keep it in great shape.
Tire pressure is another important thing to look out for. This one is even easier than oil changes, and takes hardly 5 minutes. Tires are an expensive thing to replace, and even if just one tire is damaged, there’s always a chance you’ll end up having to change all of them. It’s really important for all your tires to be the same, or it can make your fuel mileage go way down, and even throw off some of the mechanical components of your car (such as the ball joints). So if the tire shop doesn’t have the same make or model as a damaged tire, you’ll be stuck replacing all four. Luckily, tire pressure is one of the easiest maintenance practices you can do. Most vehicles come with an indicator light that will tell you exactly when you need to check the pressure. If your tire pressure indicator is damaged, or for some reason you don’t have one, a simple pressure gage will solve the problem. Checking and maintaining your tire pressure is outrageously cheap and easy, and can save you from costly replacements.