Your car is an investment that, regardless if it’s a used car or new, with the proper care and maintenance can bring you a healthy return, lasting for many years. With attentiveness and by following a maintenance schedule your vehicle can last you many years. Here are some tips for keeping your auto in tip-top shape for the long haul.
Stay Aware and Attentive
The dashboard lights and gauges are the fist step to insuring that your vehicle is maintained. They are the first line of defense should unexpected problems arise. Monitor your gauges and listen for special audible signals that may indicate warnings. According to carVertical, most used vehicles have the following gauges and warning indicators that should by inspected regularly:
- Oil Light – If the light that says “oil” or an icon of a dripping oil can lights up, it is an indicator of low oil or low oil pressure. Immediate maintenance is vital as oil is the life blood of your engine.
- Brake Light – Usually this light displays, “Brake” or shows a circle or a wheel with an exclamation mark in the center of it. This is an indicator that your brakes need to be serviced immediately.
- Water/Coolant – A boiling water or thermometer icon indicates that your vehicle is low on coolant or overheating.
- Battery – This is an indicator of an electrical issue that could lead to a loss of electrical power.
- Engine – This light means that something is malfunctioning in the engine itself.
- “Sounds” – Listen for chimes that you are not use to hearing. Listen for squeaks, rattles, rumbles and other sounds that you are not used to hearing.
- Fuel – Do not allow your vehicle to run low on gasoline. Naturally, as vehicle ages debris builds up and driving near empty can cause the debris to get into sensitive components increasing the rate of decay. Fill it up as soon as the gas light comes on, or before.
- Tire Pressure – It is best to check tire pressure every time you fill your vehicle up with gasoline. Not only do properly inflated tires increase gas mileage but it also reduces abnormal wear and tear.
- Fluids – Oil, coolant, transmission fluid, and washer fluid are all easily checked on most vehicles. During refueling is also a good time to check these fluids.
- Hoses – Visually inspect all hoses looking for leaks, cracks or tears that could lead to more serious problems like overheating or fluid loss.
- Belts – Listen and visually inspect belts and pulleys. Tattered and squeaky belts need to be replaced.
- Filters – Oil, air and fuel filters should be replaced on a rotating schedule. Oil and oil filter – every 3000 miles; air filter – every 10,000 miles; fuel filter – every 30,000 miles.
- Windshield wipers – Old windshield wipers can be dangerous if weather conditions change suddenly.
If you do not have the ability to check the fluids and tire pressure most mechanic shops will do so for free. For the rest of your maintenance needs find your vehicles maintenance schedule and locate a mechanic shop to have your preventative maintenance regularly performed.