Top 10 Tips to Take Care of Your Car
How many times have you wished there was something you could have done to prevent a problem with your car? How many times have you paid for something that you could have avoided? How many times have you wondered what to do? If any of these questions crossed your mind, you're in luck because this article is full of useful tips and tricks to keep your car running smoothly.
These tips are important because they will help prevent a catastrophe later. From knowing what to keep in your car incase of an emergency, to knowing where to park to not ruin your paint, we got you covered. Make sure to check out our Car Maintenance Checklist article to know when and what to check on your car.
1. Keep Essential Items in Your Car
We often overlook the small items that go a long way when involved in emergency situations. It doesn't take much money to stock your car with these essential items, so having them on hand makes life easier, without putting a hole in your wallet. One essential item to have in your car is a blanket in case your car breaks down and your stranded during cold weather or need something to lay over the seats to keep them protected.
Another essential item to keep handy is jumper cables. This may be the most important item to keep in your car, especially if your parking your car for a long period of time somewhere. It isn't rare for someone's car battery to die. In situations like these, don't rely on someone else having jumper cables to get back on the road. Those are just a couple items that could save you from a disaster, so don't miss out on the full list of Essential Items to Keep in Your Car.
2. Proper Vehicle Maintenance Saves You Money on Gas
Whether you drive a car or truck, use premium or diesel gasoline, fuel efficiency is the first step to saving money on gas. Proper vehicle maintenance is one of the ways to save gas without driving less. An example of proper maintenance includes regularly getting tune-ups on your car. Getting a tune-up is the easiest way to save money on gas, and improves your gas mileage by an average of four percent.
Have you ever noticed that your tires seem to lose air just at the start of the winter season? That is because the change in air pressure causes your tires to deflate costing you more money on gas. Driving on deflated tires will reduce your mileage per gallon, and cause harm to your tires causing earlier replacement. Stop replacing your tires early and instead save 5% on gas every winter.
3. Check the Tread on Your Tires
The penny test is the easiest way to check your tires for worn or uneven tread. Simply stick an upside-down penny, with Lincoln's face toward you, into the tread on both the inside and outside of the tire. Place them into several grooves across the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head anywhere, the rubber has worn down far enough to warrant a new set of tires. If part of Lincoln's head is always covered by the tread, you probably don't need new tires. To learn more about how to check your tires properly, check out our blog post The Penny Test: A Quick Way to Check Your Tire Wear.
4. Stay Away From Things That Can Ruin Your Car's Paint
Obviously, parking lot dings and gravel roads do some damage, but so do other not-so-obvious culprits. Times are tough, but "topping off" your gas tank and accidentally letting it overflow is a for sure way to damage your car's paint. If left alone, gasoline will leave a stain on your car's finish that's nearly impossible to get off. If you happen to spill gas by accident, the best solution is to grab a bottle of instant detailer and a clean microfiber cloth to wipe off the spillage.
I'm sure you or someone you know has forgotten their coffee mug on top of the car as they pull out of the driveway. What you probably don't know is that if you don't clean the spillage off your car immediately, it's going to damage your car's paint. The reason it can be so problematic is because coffee is acidic. The acid starts to eat away at your car's paint leaving it's calling card behind. If you aren't surprised yet, you will be when you read the full list of surprising things that can ruin your car's paint.
5. Change Your Wiper Blades
On average, you should change your wiper blades about once every six months to a year or as soon as you notice a difference in driving visibility. Some indicators that signal your windshield wipers need replacing are screeching sounds, skipping motions across the windshield, leaving behind a streaky residue, and missing areas when cleaning. Find out more helpful tips and an easy step by step way to change your wiper blades on our blog article How Often Should I Change My Windshield Wipers
6. Change Your Headlights to Keeps You and Your Car Safe
If you can't see the road at night, it's time to change your headlights. Make sure to change your bulbs as soon as you notice a decrease in their brightness. This is a huge safety concern for you and other drivers on the road. If you fail to fix your headlights, authorities will most likely hand you a ticket reprimanding you for breaking the law.
Usually, if one bulb's gone or fading, the other isn't very far behind. Always make sure to replace both bulbs at the same time. For many vehicles, one bulb is used for both high and low beams. In older models, two separate headlight bulbs are used for high and low beams. Depending on your vehicle, either replace both bulbs or all four bulbs at the same time for a consistent field-of-vision down-road. Consult our blog post on how to change your headlight for a step by step process of what to do if your headlight is out.
Replace both headlights at the same time for improved visibility and saved time later. It's also important to note when one headlight bulb fails, the other usually isn't far behind.
7. Change Your Oil Consistently
You should change your oil about every 3,000 to 5,000 miles depending on weather conditions, driving style, and usage. For example, hard driving is a major wear and tear factor in determining the mileage amount for an oil change. Conversely, if you're not driving very much, you'll be able to get away with longer periods in between oil changes. This is just the bare basics when it comes to changing your oil. You can find out more about what oil to put in your car, and tips to save money on oil changes on the AutoPair blog.
8. Change Air Filters
A vehicle's engine air filter traps dirt particles that cause damage to engine cylinders, cylinder walls, pistons, piston rings and bearings, eventually leading to the engine losing its power. Parts of the engine will wear out more quickly if dirt and dust get inside the engine. If airflow is restricted, the vehicle's performance and fuel efficiency will decline costing you lots of money.
The good news is, the cost of an air filter starts around $13 depending on the type of vehicle you own. With this minor investment, you can now prolong the life span of your car saving you tons of money in the long run. A cabin air filter should not be cleaned and reinstalled. Instead, it should be replaced every 12,000 to 15,000 miles or per the owner's manual.
9. Follow Our Car Maintenance Checklist
Caring for your car and keeping it in proper running order takes a little bit of effort. Thankfully, being a mechanical whiz isn't a requirement to perform frequent checks on your vehicle. Being aware of what needs to be checked and how often are crucial things to understand. Educating yourself on the basics of car maintenance will aid to your car's overall performance. Our Vehicle Maintenance Checklist outlines which parts of your car should be inspected and how often. Following a checklist is a good way to stay on top of your car to ensure its performance.
10. Check Your Antifreeze Levels
It's important to check your antifreeze levels once a year before the winter months, to keep your radiator or engine components from freezing. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze to water is generally recommended but check your owner's manual or with a professional to be certain. Antifreeze is something that can be easily forgotten about, but it is important to fill up even when your close to low to ensure that your engine and radiator stay in good working condition.
This article was written with the help and resources from the non-profit Car Care Council. The "Be Car Care Aware" campaign is a consumer education program about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair, designed to provide knowledge from all segments of the automotive aftermarket industry.
The non-profit Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. To view the Car Care Council's consumer education website, visit www.carcare.org