Everyone knows that you should change the oil regularly. But what are other car maintenance that can save you money, improve vehicle performance, and keep you out of expensive auto shops? One popular online forum has suggestions.
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Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly
Under-inflation and over-inflation are both dangerous, so it’s crucial to stay in the Goldilocks zone regarding tire pressure. Many users also advise keeping a portable air compressor in your car. A manual bike pump will do in a pinch.
Change Your Own Cabin Filter
Changing the cabin filter might sound intimidating to first-timers, but it’s pretty straightforward: “(It) took me longer to get the hood open than it did to change the filter.” One user reported that it only took five minutes and a $10 filter from Amazon.
Replace Spare Tire Every Ten Years
Spare tires aren’t immortal, even if you don’t use them. They should be replaced every 10 years from the manufacturing date, not the purchasing date. Some commenters also advocated for the “five tire rotation method,” where your spare tire gets included in the rotation cycle for the rest, meaning all five tires take turns being the spare.
Know Where Fluids Go
One user made this suggestion and added, “If you put windshield washer fluid in the oil intake, call a tow truck to get the oil and oil filter changed out immediately.” Another user pointed out that that was an oddly specific example. They replied, “Yup, my dad made a HUGE mistake once.”
Change All Fluids Periodically
From brake fluid to blinker fluid, all of your vehicle’s fluids need to be changed regularly. “Regularly” can be defined differently between makes and models, so check your car’s manual if you aren’t sure. It’ll have recommended time limits.
Sign-up for Roadside Assistance
Roadside assistance like AAA is worth the money. It’s also cheaper since it’s commonly offered as an auto insurance add-on or a credit card perk.
Check Your Lights
It’s easy to tell when your headlights aren’t working, but it can be trickier for your taillights. One commenter suggested, “If you don’t have somebody else to check for you, back the car somewhere at night where you can see the reflection in your rearview mirror.” Another agreed: “Back up to a store window to check your brake and reverse lights.”
Have Your Battery Tested
Everyone had their opinion on how often a battery should be changed, but most agreed that 3 – 5 years was the max. They also agreed on the importance of having your battery tested as soon as it starts having problems. Don’t wait until it refuses to start your car at all.
Use Silicone Lubricant Spray to Extend the Life of Wiper Blades
“Nothing more frustrating when you have those streaks when it’s raining from old wiper blades that don’t work correctly.” An easy maintenance trick is to spray or rub them down with silicone lubricant. They’ll streak less and last longer.
Apply Silicone Rubber Lube to Door Seals
Friction is the enemy. A well-lubricated door seal will last longer, resist more damage, and withstand bad weather conditions. Silicone rubber lube was the most recommended by users in the know.
Keep a Patch Kit and Air Compressor
You never know when you’ll run over a nail, and a patch kit can mean the difference between a quick fix and an extended drag with a steadily-deflating tire. The same goes for a portable air compressor. Remember: You can substitute it with a bike pump if you’re on a budget.
Check the Oil Level When the Engine is Cold
It’s a rookie mistake to check your oil right after driving somewhere. It can take a while for the oil to trickle back into the oil pan, so measuring it too early will give you an inaccurate assessment of how much is there. Wait at least 10 – 15 minutes after you’ve turned the car off, or do it before you start the car.
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