If you don’t maintain your car, it is going to end up in the shop more often. For example, if you never change the oil, you’ll eventually cause the engine to freeze up. On the other hand, there’s no need to visit the car repair shop every quarter. What car maintenance hacks can you do yourself? When should you leave car maintenance to the professionals? And how can you minimize the number of car repairs your vehicle will need during its operational life?
Car Maintenance You Can Do Yourself
Most people can change their own oil. Just know that you need to collect the oil and properly dispose of it, and that does not mean pouring it down the sink or into a storm drain.
Replace the car AC air filter once a year. You can check it and replace it more often if you live in an area with high smog or you’re often driving through dust clouds.
Many of us wash our own cars. Consider cleaning the headlights regularly. If the headlights remain cloudy, you can try to fix them by using a headlight restoration kit. Most of us can replace a burned-out light bulb in the headlights, but some car owners leave this to the professionals.
You should clean the corrosion on the car battery terminals periodically as well as check the voltage with a voltmeter. Do not try to add water to your car battery, if you think it is low. It is your decision as to whether or not you let someone else replace a dead car battery.
Maintenance You Should Leave to the Professionals
The coolant in your car doesn’t last forever. It should be replaced every 25,000 miles in most cases, though extended life coolant can be replaced every hundred thousand miles. You can check the coolant level yourself along with checking the oil level. Let the professionals replace the transfer case fluid and other fluids that lubricate your engine.
Are your brake pads wearing thin? You might hear it as the brakes make a high-pitched noise, or you may suspect it because the car takes longer to stop. Don’t replace the pads on your own. Has everything checked out by a good mechanic? If the calipers are clamped down on the wheels because the pads have worn to nothing, there is major damage to the brake system that can only be fixed by a professional.
You should know how to check your tire’s tread depth and air pressure. You may or may not want to replace worn or flat tires on your own. But leave tire balancing to the professionals.
Reasons to Take It into the Shop
If replacing the battery isn’t enough to get the car to start, call a tow truck and have a repair shop look into the problem. The problem may be with the wiring or the car’s computer, but you lack the tools to make a proper diagnosis, much less correct the problem.
If there are issues with the brakes or transmission, leave it to the professionals at a Houston auto repair shop like Northwest Houston Auto Repair.
If changing the oil and other fluids in the engine don’t eliminate the grinding you hear, call a repair shop. If the engine continues to hesitate when you give it gas or won’t shift gears properly, call a tow truck and take the car in for repairs.