Maintaining your car with care is an essential part of ensuring it runs smoothly and reliably. By tackling these easy jobs throughout the year, you’ll keep your car in the best possible condition, and also spot any minor problems before they develop into serious and expensive ones.
Some tasks are best done regularly, and a monthly routine is ideal. While you might think that not much changes from month to month, once a problem develops it can deteriorate rapidly. Checking each month helps you spot potential issues quickly to keep any damage to a minimum.
– Check your tires for worn, damaged, or bulging spots, and also check they’re inflated to the correct pressure. Tires in poor condition have a huge impact on handling, and can be highly dangerous if you need to react quickly and decisively while driving.
– Open the hood and check for cracked or swollen hoses. These items are easy and inexpensive to replace, but the costs of a failure while driving will often be much higher.
– Also check the visible belts and connectors for fraying or excessive wear.
– Check your oil level and top up if necessary. If you find you’re topping it up more months than not, then check for signs of leaks. A lack of oil is extremely bad news for your engine, shortening its life drastically.
– Lastly, check your coolant levels and top up if needed. In the colder half of the year, make sure your antifreeze levels are adequate at the same time; don’t leave this until frost actually arrives or the damage could already be done.
Every Three Months
Some jobs are just as important, but only need to be tackled every three months.
– Although an oil change is generally recommended every 3,000 miles or so, for most drivers every three months is a reasonable time span and a good habit to get into. While you’re changing the oil, take the chance to change the filter as well.
– Check the ‘big three’ fluids of windshield washer, power steering, and transmission. Refill as necessary.
– Check your battery’s connections for excessive dirt or the beginnings of rust, and clean them if needed.
– Give your electrical system a quick test, making sure all your internal and external lights, turn signals, air conditioning, and other features work correctly.
Every 6 Months
Try and schedule these six-monthly jobs for the major changes of the seasons, so that your car is properly prepared for the extremes of both summer and winter weather.
– Check your wiper blades, and replace them at the first sign of cracking or warping, or if they leave smears on the windshield under normal use.
– Check your spare tire, making sure it’s fully inflated.
– Test the responsiveness of your brakes, paying closer attention to them than when you’re driving normally. If they feel at all loose, spongy, or slow to react, then book your car in to a repair shop to have them checked out by a mechanic.
– Take a look at the exhaust system, checking the easily visible parts for rust, damage, or loose parts. Small issues can often be fixed relatively easy by a mechanic before they get out of hand and force an expensive exhaust replacement.
– Lastly, check your car’s shock absorbers for signs of oil seepage or corrosion.
Modern cars can provide many years of comfortable driving if they’re looked after well, and any inevitable issues will be less expensive to fix if they’re caught as early as possible. Follow these simple tips and you can rest easy that your car is in the best shape it could possibly be.