Regular Vehicle Maintenance
Your vehicle – no matter what make, model, trim, or class – needs to be taken care of, just like a person does. Regular check ups, the occasional bath (though we hope you clean yourself more than occasionally), and to simply be taken care of are three things that you and your vehicle have in common. You ever notice how some people call their vehicles he or she, or give them a name, or even call them their baby? That’s because they might as well be. They might not be living, but they need to be taken care of in order to last long and run as well as it should. So I’m going to tell you just a few regular vehicle maintenance projects you could be doing yourself to take care of your car.
For starters, I feel comfortable assuming that you probably haven’t read your owner’s manual. Not many people do, but if you really want to take care of your car you need to actually read it. I’m not saying cover to cover, because there’s plenty of stuff you don’t absolutely need to know in there. But there is some important information in there, like what type of oil your vehicle needs, how often you should change it, and other things like that. In fact, there should be a Regular Maintenance Schedule in your manual that lays out exactly what you should be doing for your car.
The most important thing you need to be doing regularly, and you don’t necessarily have to do it yourself but if you have the time and can afford a safe jack for your car you certainly can, is to change the oil and filter in your car. When you take it to a shop to have it changed, they usually recommend around 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. That’s a myth. This is one thing you should definitely check in your owners manual, because it could save you a lot of money by telling you you only need to change your oil every 10,000 miles, (not many cars can go this long, but depending on the oil it takes its possible!).
Another step is to check your battery, especially before winter. Sometimes you can get buildup on the contacts and this can lead to a malfunction. Be sure to clean off the battery if there is buildup, stopping into a local auto parts store (hey, we’re a local auto parts store!) you can pick up a battery cleaning brush that will take care of the problem quickly. But more importantly, you should get a battery tester or bring it into one of our service departments to have them test your battery and make sure there’s still enough juice in it. Batteries can run you a bit of money, but its worth not getting stuck by the side of the road to just get it when you can rather than when you have to.
A couple of other really simple things you can do to take care of your car is to replace your windshield wipers, and replace your air filter. If your wipers start to to make your window worse rather than better when it rains or snows, then its definitely time to get new wipers. Wherever you’re buying them, they’ll have a full book that you simply need to look up your vehicle in and it’ll tell you the kind of wipers you have to buy. Putting them on is fairly simple, and should be as easy as simply following the instructions. The air filter is even more simple. It doesn’t cost much, and as long as you know where its located all you have to do is open it up, take out the old one, and set the new one in. Easy as that!
Lastly, two more extremely important things that you should be doing regular and will save you tons of money in the long run is to get your tires rotated and your alignment checked. Every time you get your oil changed you should check the air pressure in your tires, but every other time you should ask them to rotate your tires. They will last much longer and not get worn down nearly as much if you’re rotating them regularly. Alignment can be just as important, and if your vehicle is starting to tug in a certain direction it is definitely time to get it checked and realigned.
There are other things that you can do as well, but they’re slightly more involved. Things like changing your timing and serpentine belts or your spark plugs are definitely important, but unless you have experience in working on cars you’d be better off bringing it into us and having us replace them. If you have any questions about what you should do with any of these items, feel free to give one of our service departments a call and they’ll help you as best as they can.