It’s not the most exciting thing to do, but keeping up with car maintenance is essential. Maintaining your car is worth spending a little time (and money). This will ensure your safety and save you money. Here are 13 tips to keep your vehicle out of the repair shop and prevent you from buying a new car.
Check your spare tire
The backup tire is as important as the four tires underneath your vehicle. You want to avoid noticing that your spare tire is flat as you pull your jack from your trunk. Spending a dollar every few months on an air pump to fill your spare tire is better than spending hundreds of dollars for a tow truck in a crisis.
Maintenance Tip: Check the air pressure in your driving and spare tires at least once a year.
Replace the oil
How much will skip oil changes affect your budget? Oh, plenty. Since oil is involved in almost everything your car does, it can be one of the most expensive car maintenance problems. So please don’t skip it. Changing your oil (and filter) costs around $35-75.1. You can save money by eating at a high-end fast-food restaurant. Replacing your engine is much more expensive than buying burgers and french fries.
Maintenance Tip: Replace the oil every 5,000 km or according to your vehicle’s manufacturer.
Keep your battery clean
Your car battery’s terminals (the little metal knobs at the top) can develop corrosion over time. You could be stranded if you don’t clean them. The battery may develop a crack or not work correctly. A quality car battery costs upwards of $250. A tow is even more expensive. Investing $5 in a wire brush will help keep the terminals clean.
Maintenance Tip: Test and inspect your battery at least twice a year for corrosion.
Replace your brake pads
You may hear a squeaking noise when you apply the brakes. Your brake pads may be nearing the end of their life. Replacements can cost up to $300 per axle, plus the labor charge if a professional installs them.3 While the price may seem high, it’s not. This is not something to play around with. Like Fred Flintstone, you can’t screech your way to a halt with your feet. Avoid getting into an accident. Maintain your brakes.
Maintenance tip When changing the oil, check the brake fluid to ensure it is not dark. You’ll have to replace the brake system as soon as possible if it’s dark.
Replace your cabin air filter
The cabin air filter in your car prevents pollutants from entering through the vents. Treat your air filter with care. It has an essential job. A dirty air filter past its prime can cause significant problems with your air conditioner. You don’t want to be in that situation. Replace the AC unit instead of servicing it. It costs $1,319-2.515.
Maintenance tip Replace your cabin air filter after 12 months or 12,000 km.
Buy new windshield wipers
This is another instance when safety comes first. If you can’t even see the road, you shouldn’t drive. It. Isn’t. Safe. You will spend more money on repairs or replacements after an accident than you would by buying new wipers.
Maintenance tip Replace your windshield wipers when they become worn out.
Rotate your tires
Rotating your tires now and then can extend your life. It’s true! The tires on your car do not wear out the same. Turning them regularly will make them last longer. You’ll also save $187 per tire. That’s almost $748 for a new set of tires.
Maintenance tip Rotate tires every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
Check shocks, springs, and struts
You probably never think about the suspension system until it fails and your ride becomes as bouncy as a trampoline. Replace all four shocks if you discover that one needs to be changed. It’s a pain, but in the end, it will benefit your vehicle.
Maintenance tip Check shocks and the suspension system after every 15-30,000 miles.
Check your Coolant
You risk severe corrosive corrosion in your vehicle if you do not keep up with changing your Coolant. This is not only gross but also damaging. Coolant can affect everything from the heater, air conditioner, and radiator to the water pump and the water pump. You don’t want this Coolant to involve so much vehicle health.
Maintenance tip Check your Coolant at least twice a year, once before warm weather and again just before cold weather.
Check your spark plugs
Spark plugs are one of the most common causes (and most straightforward fixes) for engine problems. Guess what? A spark plug generally costs less than $10! 7 A spark plug costs less than $10.
Maintenance tip Replace the spark plugs every 30,000 miles.
Check your belts, hoses, and other components
You can avoid a costly mechanic bill by giving your belts and hoses an inspection. Straps that are worn down can damage other parts of your vehicle. If you have a weak or faulty radiator hose, your engine could overheat and stop working. Running is the primary purpose of a machine.
Maintenance tip Replace the timing and serpentine belts every 60,000 miles. Changing your hoses at least every four years or when they show signs of wear would be best.
Check the brake, parking, and turn signals
Tickets can be expensive and increase your auto insurance rates. Your lights are also an important safety feature. Your lights help you communicate and see other drivers. Avoid the fines. Keep yourself safe. Check your lights.
Maintenance tip Have a friend test the brake lights, parking lights, turn signals, and headlights once a week to ensure they are working correctly.
Check the emissions
Your car may need to pass an emissions test, depending on where you live. Your vehicle should pass the state emissions inspection if you keep up with all of its necessary maintenance. You’ll want to know if it does not get a gold star. The emissions facility can tell you precisely what went wrong and what has to be done so that your car passes the inspection and is safe for road use.
Maintenance tip Remember to have your car inspected once a year. Consult your state’s Department of motor vehicles to find out the requirements.
Bonus Maintenance Tip: Check our Ramsey Car Guide to learn more about buying, selling, and maintaining a vehicle!