Did you know that proper car care can save your life? According to the National Library of Medicine, properly maintained vehicles with good lighting, tires, and breaks significantly reduce the risk of accidents. Therefore, it’s advisable to formulate a car care list to keep your car in top condition. Maintaining your vehicle in great shape will prevent a potential car accident injury. In turn, you avoid dealing with an accident lawyer and the hassle of accident-related court cases.
Understanding your car’s routine maintenance needs starts with an owner’s manual. Usually, it has a detailed maintenance section with the requisite vital information. You can always get the manual online if you can’t find one.
If you want to understand how to take care of your vehicle, you’ve come to the right place. This article will exhaustively focus on a car care list you should keep in mind. From monthly to quarterly to annual maintenance care recommendations, these incredible tips are designed to help keep your car in top performance. Additionally, towing service charges due to your car breaking down will be the least of your worries.
Make a Car Care Routine That Suits You
Start by creating a car care routine that best suits you. It can be an index card or a Google spreadsheet. Ensure to include a monthly, quarterly and annual car care checkup routine for excellent results. It is wise to note that car care frequency depends on vehicle use. Also, you should follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations for proper car care.
Generally, offroaders require frequent vehicle repair services, such as regular tire checks and repeated oil changes after putting on a lot of miles. However, a car care routine is mandatory for all car owners, and creating a maintenance list will help you keep up with your car maintenance routine.
Remember, car maintenance is not always about defective components. You might want to boost the car’s performance to serve you better. For instance, if you live in a rural area, you can enhance your car’s offroad capabilities or turn your saloon into a high-speed sports car. Car tuning experts can advise you accordingly to ensure you enjoy the ride of your dreams. However, car tuning doesn’t eliminate the need for car maintenance.
Whether you own a diesel or petrol car engine or probably an electric vehicle, it is advisable to structure a maintenance schedule in these categories: monthly, quarterly, and annual maintenance lists.
Monthly Car Care Routine
The following are the recommended monthly car care checks for efficient vehicle performance.
1. Check the Coolant Level Regularly
Usually, when your vehicle runs low on engine coolant, you’ll get a coolant level warning light on your dashboard, which shows that your vehicle’s engine is at risk of overheating. In this case, you should visit an auto shop. However, a monthly coolant level check avoids such rush situations by detecting a coolant level drop before it is too late.
2. Examine Oil Level
Examining your car’s oil level is essential for proper car performance. When your car runs on low oil, it is a recipe for car problems. You don’t have to wait for the oil light on your dashboard to turn on to examine your oil. Consider a monthly check for any oil leaks and whether your oil is dirty. In fact, experts recommend checking oil levels every morning before you drive to work or embark on a journey.
3. Keep the Wiper Blades in Good Working Condition
If your wipers are making high-pitched noises, you need to clean your windscreen or blades. However, you should take your vehicle for examination if the problem persists. It’s likely your wiper arms are bent. Therefore, you’ll need to contact a windshield company to purchase a new set. Otherwise, brace yourself for smears and streaks.
4. Inspect Headlights
The major problems with headlights are dim, dying, or burning out. In this case, replacing the bulb is the most straightforward solution. However, suppose your headlights dim and brighten at random intervals. This might indicate that the alternator belt needs replacing, yet another reason to schedule a monthly checkup to avoid such cases.
5. Examine Windshield Washer Fluid
Although unknown to many, the washer fluid, besides cleaning your car’s windshield, performs other functions in the reservoir, such as lubricating the hoses and washer fluid pump. Lack of enough washer fluid leads to corrosion of the pump’s internal parts, degrades the plastic parts, breaks the rubber lines, and stresses the water fluid system to leak. The fluid system may stop altogether. Therefore, proper inspection is unavoidable.
6. Examine Tire Condition, Tread, and Pressure
The condition of your car tires could mean the difference between safe driving and getting in a car accident. A monthly checkup of your tire condition, tread, and pressure will determine the extent of tire wear and tear. Therefore, you’ll be abreast with the needed maintenance and guarantee to get the most out of vehicle tires. If your tires are worn out, don’t hesitate to visit a tire store to purchase new ones.
7. Examine the Brake Fluid
Never ignore your car safety. Consider monthly brake fluid checkups mandatory on your car care list. Remember, about 5% of road accidents in the US are due to brake failure. Therefore, you should take your vehicle for a routine brake check in a car care auto shop.
Quarterly Car Care Routine
Besides regular checkups, there are essential car care checkups you can conduct after a few months. You’ll want to visit a vehicle repair shop for professional checks and repairs. Below are vital quarterly car care routine recommendations.
1. Check the Fan Belt
Is your car engine overheating? You might be dealing with a faulty fan belt. Other telltale signs include fan belt squeaking, stiff steering wheel, flickering lights, belt cracks, or the engine refusing to start. If you experience these problems, you should take your car for a checkup. More importantly, add a fan belt examination to your quarterly car care list to avoid such problems in the future.
2. Replace the Oil
One of the top advantages of changing engine oil is extending the engine life. Moreover, it is an easy way to save on gas – making it a pocket-friendlier tip to keep money in your wallet.
Also, an avid environmentalist will be happy to know that quarterly oil changes significantly reduce harmful emissions. Unlike new oil, old oil is dirty and prone to produce harmful engine emissions.
3. Replace the Oil Filter
After three months, your car’s oil filter may get clogged after trapping carbon dust and contaminated particles. A clogged oil filter significantly reduces the performance of your engine and vehicle as a whole. Therefore, it’s imperative that you replace dirty oil filters to extend our car’s engine life.
4. Examine Power Steering Fluid
It is essential to prevent contamination of your car’s fluids, and the power steering fluid is no exception. Dirty steering fluid will cause your steering to misbehave, resulting in poor performance. Generally, oxidation is a common contamination process that darkens the liquid, minimizing its effectiveness. For this reason, a quarterly power steering examination is vital to ensure it’s working optimally.
5. Examine the Hoses for Cracks
Hoses are primarily made from rubber, which contracts and expands easily depending on temperature fluctuations. This makes rubber prone to wear and tear, especially when exposed to heat. Over time, the rubber loses its elasticity, leading to cracking. Therefore, it is prudent to get your hoses examined for cracks after every three months.
6. Replace the Automatic Transmission Fluid
If you want to extend the life of your transmission, it is advisable to replace the transmission fluid quarterly for smoother shifts. According to Consumer Reports, the interval for changing transmission fluid can extend over 100000 miles. Although most manufacturers recommend changing the fluid after 100,000 to 150,000 miles, some mechanics suggest changing it after 50,000 miles, especially if you drive a manual car.
7. Examine the Cables and Battery
If your vehicle battery is not fitted properly or perhaps loaded with electrical accessories, you may experience car battery failure. Also, car battery cables are susceptible to corrosion, and if you need your engine to start easily, your battery and cables need to be in good shape. To ensure you are safe from battery failure, an inspection of batteries and cables is a car care priority, preferably every three months.
Annual Car Care Routine
An annual car care schedule includes checks you perform after a relatively long time. However, these car care tips are equally essential.
1. Examine the Spark Plugs
Spark plugs are an essential part of the ignition system; they are responsible for producing a spark that enables your car engine to produce power to move the vehicle forward. When corroded or broken, spark plugs can cause expensive damage to the inside of the engine cylinder, the more reason to examine the plugs periodically. According to the Universal Technical Institute, many manufacturers recommend changing spark plugs after 60000 to 100000 miles, especially for the latest models.
2. Replace the Engine Air Filter
Replacing the engine air filter extends the lifespan of your car engine. In essence, the filter’s function is to prevent harmful debris and dirt from damaging the internal engine parts like pistons and cylinders. For this reason, it is essential to replace it annually to maximize engine protection.
3. Flush the Coolant
The primary function of a coolant in your vehicle is to keep your engine’s temperature low, maximizing its function. If the temperature gauge is high, your vehicle probably needs a coolant flush. Failure to change the coolant at the right time could lead to engine overheating and, ultimately, costly damages.
4. Examine Wheel Bearings and Brakes
Suppose you experience vibrations while steering, have loose steering, or your vehicle seems to veer in a certain direction. In this case, chances are you have a bad wheel bearing. Also, if you have a soft brake pedal or experience vibration or your car veering in a particular direction when braking, you need to check your brakes. To avoid a slow-stopping response and such a nuisance, always schedule a wheel bearing and brake schedule at least once a year.
5. Examine Suspension and Steering
Suspension and steering wear and tear are normal in a car. Shocks, ball joints, struts, coil springs, control arm bushings, and steering linkage weaken over time. A yearly maintenance plan ensures the suspension and steering wheel components are in good condition. The goal is to ensure vehicle stability when driving.
6. Lubricate Hinges and Doors
Do you experience irritating creaks, especially when opening and closing your car? If you do, it is advisable to lubricate your hinges and doors regularly. When you hear your car door squeaking, the car hinges are dry and need lubricating.
7. Replace Cabin Air Filters
If you fail to replace cabin air filters, chances are they will develop mold, which can cause your car to have bad odors and foul smells. Furthermore, molds are unhealthy and can cause severe allergies. Therefore, replace your cabin air filters yearly for fresh air and health benefits.
A car care list is essential in ensuring your vehicle is in its best condition. It’s also paramount for your driving safety. An effective car care routine should include monthly, quarterly, and annual care plans. You should go the extra mile to protect your car from environmental elements and thieves with a good garage door installation. The aim is to ensure all components are in place and in good condition all the time. Remember, if you take good care of your car, it’ll reciprocate by serving you well. In case of an accident, your car accident lawyer will have an easy time arguing in court.