Nowadays it pays to keep your car in shape, but paying for it is not always easy. As it turns out, there are still a number of things that you can do from home to keep your car, truck, or SUV in great shape and you won’t have to spend a penny at the mechanic shop to do them. That is if you know what to do and how to do it.
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Home Car Maintenance
Today we’re here to help you maintain your vehicle at home with a list of things you can do right in your own garage or front yard. Note that the things we advise here are just for routine maintenance, if your vehicle has damage or you see a warning light that says there is something wrong, always take it to a licensed professional to do the job properly and never tackle a problem you are unsure of how to handle yourself.
Check Your Tire Pressure and Tread
Your tires are an important part of your vehicle. After all, they not only carry your vehicle as it moves, but they are responsible for making sure you have a smooth and stable ride as you travel. The better shape your tires are in, the safer and more comfortable you will be while on the road.
The first thing that you want to check any time you are preparing for a road trip and at least every 3 months is your tire pressure. Over time the amount of air in your tires can leak out, even with a hole or damage to the tire, so you want to make sure they stay aired up properly. YOu can find an air pump at just about any gas station and every vehicle should have an owners manual that tells you how much pressure the standard tires for that vehicle should have in them.
If you have changed to a specialty tire, then you may want to call the company that installed those tires and ask about the optimal air pressure. From there, a tire pressure gauge is just a few dollars and will tell you if your tire pressure is adequate, if not, you can fill up at any air pump near you.
Checking the tread on your tires is as simple as looking at the shape of the tire and checking to see if there is still tread, the grooved part of the tire. As the tread wears down, the grooves in the tire become more shallow and this can be dangerous for staying on the road and traveling through water. Most states require a minimum tread depth of 2/32”. If you start to notice there is less and less tread on your tires, it is time to replace them with new ones.
Check Your Basic Fluids
Your vehicle needs many different fluids to function properly. Checking to make sure these fluids are present and there is enough of them is one way to help keep your car in good shape.
Checking your oil can be a bit tedious, but doing it every so often yourself can save you money and keep your engine in good shape. There are tutorials all over for how to do it and your vehicle handbook should have all the details you need for checking and even changing the oil in your vehicle’s engine.
Radiator fluid or whatever coolant your car system uses is another important fluid to check. This can be a bit more involved than changing your oil and the fluid can be toxic, but checking it yourself can help determine if it is time to take your vehicle in for servicing. Other fluids to monitor include brake fluid, power steering fluid (if necessary) and windshield wiper fluid. If you are unsure about what your vehicle uses and where to find it, consult the owners’ manual or talk with a local mechanic about how to check these items before you have them changed.
Believe or not, your vehicle actually has multiple air filters that need to be changed every so often. The first and most important is the engine air filter. This filter usually sits on top of the engine, and helps make sure that the air that passes through the engine chamber is as clean as possible for better engine combustion. This filter should be changed every so often once the filter has become dirty and unusable.
The second filter that not everyone knows about is known as the cabin filter or the air filter for the air conditioning system. The filter sits in the dashboard between the air intake system and the vents for the air. The exact location will vary by vehicle, but this filter should also be changed periodically to improve air quality inside the cabin of the vehicle.
Basic Car Maintenance and Preventing Car Accidents
Neglecting basic car maintenance and inspection can make you more vulnerable to causing a car accident. An accident caused by mechanical failure or a tire blowout can usually be prevented with proper care. If you were involved in a car accident caused by another vehicle’s improper maintenance, a car accident lawyer such as Roberts & Spiegel can help you recover damages caused by the other driver.
These are just a few of the things that you check and manage on your own without the need for a mechanic that will keep your vehicle in good shape. Start by creating yourself a checklist and then mark off things as you learn how to check for them. Don’t neglect the vehicle manual as it will help to illustrate much needed information for these maintenance tasks.