April was National Car Care Month, a reminder for everyone to pay attention to vehicle maintenance and prevent costly repairs. How did you do? If you didn’t spend your April maintaining you vehicle, don’t worry. We’ve got some ideas to help you keep your car in tip-top shape – starting now! Just remember: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Read on to discover our top tips for car care.
Find a Reliable Mechanic
This is one of the most important tips, as an honest and reliable mechanic will make your life much easier over the course of the life of your car. No matter how new or old your car is, you will need a mechanic to rely on for inspections, oil changes, and repairs. You want to be able to drop off your car with full confidence that the work will be done correctly, efficiently, and at a fair cost. To find a new mechanic, ask friends, family and coworkers. You can also go online to read reviews of mechanics in the area so you can make a responsible decision and have peace of mind.
Change Fluids Regularly
Cars rely on a number of fluids to run, including transmission fluid, coolant/antifreeze, power steering fluid and brake fluid. Although these do not need to be changed often, it’s important to check all of them periodically to make sure your car continues running smoothly. And it’s important to have your motor oil changed on a regular basis. While older cars usually need to have it changed every 3,000 miles, some newer cars that use synthetic oil only need to be changed every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Keeping an eye on fluid levels will ensure that you avoid costly repairs down the road.
Don’t Ignore Dashboard Lights
Although it’s annoying dealing with the pesky lights that appear on your dashboard, it’s always best to check them out as soon as possible. Getting the light checked out sooner rather than later can save you on repairs that can get more serious over time. And sometimes the light appears without requiring an expensive fix, so don’t hesitate to head to your local auto parts store where they can electronically read the code and tell you what it means.
Keep an Eye on Your Tires
To maximize the miles per gallon (MPG) you get on the road and save at the pump, it’s important to ensure your tires are performing at optimal efficiency. Check the owner’s manual to see what the recommended tire pressure for your car is, and periodically make sure your tires are at that level. Some newer model cars have dashboard alerts for when your tire pressure falls below a certain level. Also, ask your mechanic to rotate the tires regularly when it is in the shop. This helps each tire wear evenly, prolonging the lifespan of the tires before you need to buy new ones.
Have Your Mechanic Conduct Regular Check-Ups
For peace of mind, consider taking your car on a regular basis to your mechanic to look it over for any concerns, even if you feel like it is running well. Catching potential problems before they turn into bigger ones is key in maintaining your car and avoiding unwanted repair bills. You may be able to identify issues like low fluid levels and low tire pressure, but your mechanic will be able to look “under the hood” to identify issues that are trickier to identify.
Check Online for Parts and Supplies
Before heading to the closest auto parts store, search online for better deals. There are many websites that sell parts and supplies, often below what brick-and-mortar stores can sell them for. You can also look on local websites like Craigslist for parts and supplies, but that can be a bit trickier as you don’t always know the history or quality of the product you are buying. Still, checking prices online can save you money in the long run.
Track Car Care Digitally
Keeping track of all of this may seem like a lot of time and effort. Thankfully, with the rise of mobile phones and apps, it’s easier than ever. There are a number of apps you can download to your phone or tablet that allow you to easily keep track of repair history, service expenses, mileage, and reminders to schedule future work. This aggregates all of the information in one place, so car maintenance isn’t a stressful undertaking for you.
To get the most out of your vehicle, start implementing these tips over the next few months. You’ll save on trips to the mechanic and costly car repair bills, which makes life just a little bit easier.