Anyone who has already spent a ton of money in repairing their car unnecessarily regrets not having taken care of it before. Because it is done on a regular basis, preventive maintenance is the key to solving small problems before they become larger and more expensive.
So how can you reduce the chances of you end up with an exorbitant repair bill? Here are 7 tips that could help.
1. Read (and be careful) the maintenance manual
No matter what the mechanic told you a simple way to save money on car repairs and extend the life of your vehicle is to follow what the manufacturer says in the owner’s manual. After all, who knows your car better than the people who built it? One of the bases of your car maintenance: believe the people who built your car.
2. Make a visual inspection of your car
Even if you know little about cars, anything out of the ordinary should get your attention.
Under-inflated tires burn extra fuel and cause faster wear. Overinflated tires can damage the suspension of your car and reduce traction.
That is why maintaining the tire pressure in examining monthly help prevent premature tire wear and reduces the chances of an accident.
To maximize the life of the tires of your car, do a regular rotation. This will ensure that your tires last longer.
The winter tires they are required by law in your province? If so, this is the ideal time to rotate them by your mechanic. No reminder required!
A dark and slippery road in the middle of nowhere is the last place to discover a grilled lighthouse!
From indicator lights to reversing lights, get help from a friend for five minutes each month to check the headlights of your car. Replace bulbs that do not work.
Do you have a cracked or broken headlight? Replace self-fires is easier than you think, with a few basic tools, a certified piece CAPA (or “after-sales”) and a bit of patience, you’ll be done in no time.
Do yellow and dirty lights affect your driving? Catering kits available at many auto parts stores could be the solution.
In a downpour of the snowstorm, how can you stay on the road if you can not see it? As a general rule, you must change your wiper blades every six months: in summer and winter.
If you know not how to find the best windshield wipers for your car, see item 1 above!
Cleaning your windscreen regularly can also help extend the life of your windscreen wipers. Similarly, replace worn ones can prevent scratches on your windshield. Why not do both?
Read Also: 7 pieces of advice to buy a used car
3. Listen to what your car says
Just as a cough is a sign that you can get sick, new noises coming from your car may signal that something is wrong.
When your muffler is about to give up the ghost, you know, those famous rumbling in yourself tend to become stronger while driving.
Anything suspicious deserves a visit to the mechanic, especially because potentially toxic fumes could leak into the car.
To keep you safe, have your mechanic check the main components of the exhaust system of your car every six months or every 10 000 km. This includes oxygen sensors, exhaust manifolds, suspensions and clamps, silencers and exhaust pipes.
- Shock absorbers
Loose bolts on your shocks can also make a clicking sound. So when should you replace your shocks?
The rule of thumb is about every 80,000 kilometers – or if your car is unbalanced or bounced when you push down on the bumper or while you are driving.
With regard to maintenance, the brakes must be at the top of your list. The clear signs that the brakes on your car need replacement include:
A squeal, squeaking or whistling when you push the brake pedal.
If your vehicle pulls to one side when it slows down or the brake pedal appears soft when not pushed.
Leaking brake fluid – a huge red flag!
To keep your car running (and stopping!) Safely, recognize the signs that your brakes are failing and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your vehicle to 7 Basic Care Tips to Keep Your Car in Fit
4. Have a regular look under the hood
Everything that makes your car drive happens mostly under the hood, so keep an eye out for these things.
From transmission to the power steering to brakes (and more), your car depends on fluids to work properly. Most fluids have tanks, gauges or oil gauges – so it’s easy to see if they are at their optimum level.
Check the oil every other time when refueling. Because oil is used to lubricate, cool and clean the engine, it will help extend the life of your car engine.
While you are there, check and refill the power steering fluid if it is low. Failure to do so may result in damage to the power steering pump.
The same goes for the engine coolant – without the radiator, your car is good for nothing. Flush the cooling system approximately every 90 000 km and do pressure testing by a mechanic to avoid radiator leaks.
Search fluid drop signs in the area of the engine compartment: a bright red fluid under the car suggests transmission problems – you should never ignore.
Most cars now use a single wide belt to power the accessories.
With the engine off, check for cracks, wear, and fraying on the edges of the belt. The owner’s manual indicates when the belt should be changed.
To repair an engine belt creaking, ordinary soap will do slip and lubricate. However, this can also mean that the tension of the belt is too loose, which causes it to slip over the pulleys – in this case, you might need to consult your mechanic.
To keep your car running at its best, check under your hood hoses every month or two.
First of all, make sure the engine is not hot! Then, gently press the pipes. If they are crunchy, or sticky and soft, or if they have a bump, it might be time to replace them.
Although most new batteries are maintenance-free, they still need to be checked.
An easy solution for contacts corroded battery that keeps your car light is to use a wire brush. Rub both battery terminals and inside terminals until the metal is clean. Do it as necessary, especially when there are excess mineral deposits.
If your battery has ventilation covers, remove them to check the electrolyte fluids. Use distilled water to recharge at the manufacturer’s recommended levels if necessary. This will help extend the battery life of your car.
5. Remember to replace the filters
It is important to keep your own motor, both outside and inside.
Locating leaks and maintenance is easier on a clean engine block.
Dust and dirt can obstruct pipes, valves and sensors in an engine and prevent it from operating properly.
Among the things that your car maintenance schedule must include, replace the filters according to the owner’s manual, among them:
- Oil filter
- Engine Air Filter
- Fuel filters
- Transmission fluid filter.
6. Have your vehicle serviced by a professional
Although many of these tasks are easy to do yourself, part of keeping your car in good condition requires regular visits. Think about tune-ups this way: even if you brush your teeth every day, you always visit the dentist twice a year for regular exams.
Some of the tasks a professional mechanic can do include:
Change the spark plugs approximately every 48 000 or 64 000 km for good fuel consumption.
The rinsing of the power steering system, recommended at least every 50,000 km.
Checking the wheel alignment of your car, usually after every 48 000 km.
7. Find a mechanic before you need it
Another simple way to save money, in the long run, is to find a trusted mechanic before you need them.
In an emergency, you may not have time to investigate who is going to work on your car – to the detriment of your bank account!
Ultimately, the basics of preventive maintenance will pay off in the long term by helping to detect minor mechanical problems before they become more important. Just a few minutes each month, some know-how, and a good relationship with a mechanic you trust.