A car is a dream for some and a necessity for a lot of people. This is one of the reasons why cars are the top investment for most young people. But like with any high-value purchase, a car presents responsibilities that you need to stay on top of.
For one, there’s your car insurance, which is usually a yearly financial commitment. If you’re a first-time car owner (and perhaps also a new driver), this program is a must. It can cover you for a lot of troubles that may come your way, such as accidents, which you, other motorists, or even nature, can cause.
And then, there’s car maintenance. This is a collection of efforts designed to protect the functional quality of your vehicle. During the first year of use, maintenance efforts may be minimal. However, as you get more use out of your car, naturally, there’ll be more wear and tear. This means that before minor issues develop into complete damages that are costly to repair or replace, it’s essential to implement a maintenance program.
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Tips for Going About Car Maintenance
Your best option for keeping your car in tip-top shape through the years is by finding a reliable car maintenance service. If you own a luxury vehicle, best opt for a specialist one to make sure that your expensive investment will have the most appropriate care.
But, to help you go about the maintenance responsibility in the most organized fashion, here is a comprehensive roundup of standard car care requirements, as well as how to manage them.
1. Car wash
If you love the look of a new car, the best way to preserve the straight-out-of-the-showroom appearance of your ride is by regularly treating it to a thorough car wash. Let the trained experts perform the task because they use the right products and techniques.
Likewise, you can trust that they will do a thorough job. You can even get them to tidy up the interior, so your car smells and feels fresh.
Car washing should be done every two weeks — unless your car got quite dirty much sooner due to bad weather. Meanwhile, waxing or polishing should be done once every three months. Don’t treat this maintenance task lightly because dirty cars are prone to corrosion.
2. Air filter replacement
When to change the air filter always depends on how often you use your car and where you drive it. If you have a heavy-duty vehicle that you regularly take on long-distance dusty drives, you may have to change your car’s air filter much earlier.
If your car mileage shows a 15,000 to 30,000-kilometer difference from when you bought your car, it’s time to change the air filter already. You can have this done at the service center when you get your car washed. This task will only set you back a few dollars.
Or, you can locate the air filter yourself and replace it with a new one. Air filters are usually available in local hardware stores. The task doesn’t take a long time, either. You just need to unscrew the air filter in the black case under your cas hood and screw in the new one in place.
3. Change oil and auto tune up
This combo maintenance effort is usually covered by the service passport provided new car owners by dealership. It’s often scheduled after the car mileage hits 5,000 kilometers.
This preventive maintenance effort consists of changing the oil, of course, and cleaning the engine and replacing spark plugs, the distributor cap as well as the rotor. Inspection for buildup and small damages are often included, too.
4. Battery corrosion removal
If you drive your car often and you take it to destinations that subject it to the elements, it’s quite likely that the battery and the area around it will develop rust.
Tackle the corrosion problem right away by having the battery and its terminals cleaned with a corrosion removal liquid. This is an important task to perform, professional mechanics say. Corrosion can affect your performance and leave you with a conked out car when you least expect it, which can be quite inconvenient and unsafe, especially out there in the desert.
What rust does is it drains the battery’s power and shortens its standard functional lifespan, which is about two years. Also, it can make charging ineffective.
5. Brake fluid change
This is a task that’s performed within the first two years of buying a new car. More information about this is included in the service passport or manual of your car.
However, if you purchase a pre-owned car, you may want to change the brake fluid right away. This may be necessary if not much information is provided about the recent treatments the vehicle had undergone.
6. Brake pad replacement (and rotors, too)
According to veteran mechanics, worn-down brake pads are often responsible for worn-down rotors. What happens is when brake pads lose their cushioning, they create a metal-on-metal contact between the calliper and the rotor.
Such contact will lead to the excessive vibration of the steering wheel, which is unsafe, particularly for new drivers. Along with that, it can cause a disconcerting pulsing action when you’re braking.
To see the wear down of your brake pads, check the wear indicator slot on the brake pad. If you no longer see that groove, it’s time for a replacement.
7. Car AC cleaning
There’s no arguing that a properly working car air conditioner is a must. It’s one of the sources of physical comfort during drives and rides, especially during summer. Thankfully, it doesn’t need to be cleaned as often as your home AC. Every several months, just have the condenser pressure cleaned to get rid of dust and other types of buildup.
As for the cabin filter, which keeps dust and debris from polluting the evaporator, you only need to change it once a year. But, you may have to do so earlier if the air from the AC smells musty.
There you go — the most important vehicle maintenance efforts for new car owners. Keep up with this, and there’s no doubt that running issues with your car will be few and far between.