Many of us are making New Year's resolutions, dedicating ourselves to eating better, actually using that gym membership we bought last January, or spending less time watching Survivor and more time reading serious literature. These are all decent ideas for bettering yourself, but what about your car?
Why not make a resolution to keep your car in the best working condition possible? After all, that’s the car that’s going to take you to the gym, and everywhere else you need to go, right? To help jump start ideas for your list of resolutions for your car, we’ve assembled 10 auto maintenance tips for the New Year. They’ll help you keep your ride in good condition and save the time, hassle and money that can come from expensive repairs due to neglect.
Tip 1: Check tire pressure monthly
Maintaining consistent air pressure is key to getting good gas mileage. Not only should you visually inspect all four tires regularly to make sure they don’t look flat, but you also want to check your owner’s manual to see what their pressure level should be. Then, either go to the service station or get a good pressure gauge of your own to check your tire pressure monthly.
Tip 2: Change the oil and filter
Again, your owner’s manual will have guidelines for how often you should have your oil changed. Some recommend doing so every 3,000 miles, some every 6,000. That inexpensive oil change is the single most effective action you can take to keep your car healthy. With fresh oil and a clean oil filter, your car runs smoother, is more efficient, gets better gas mileage, and produces fewer emissions.
Tip 3: Check fluids
Transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid are essential to your car running smoothly and safely. An unexpected drop in any of these levels could be a warning of a leak or other problem that’s still developing. Keeping an eye on your fluids will allow you to fix any problem that arises before it becomes serious.
Tip 4: Replace windshield wipers
This is more so you can see clearly than for the performance of your car. But isn’t seeing what’s in front of you important to? Install new windshield wiper blades every six to 12 months to keep your view clear.
Tip 5: Check belts, hoses, and cables
Just like the essential fluids above, make sure to regularly inspect belts, hoses, and cables to catch any cracks or other developing problems. Your owner’s manual will also have recommendations on regular replacement schedules as well. If you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for, ask your mechanic to do a quick inspection during your oil change or any other maintenance visit. Any quality mechanic will already know to do this, but it’s ok to ask, too.
Tip 6: Get regular tire rotation, balancing, and alignment
Notice your car dragging a bit to the right or left? It may because of unevenness in your tires’ balance or alignment. Rotating the tires and inspecting the alignment of the wheels helps to ensure even wear on the tread and keeps your handling in line.
Tip 7: Watch for nicks and scratches in paint
This may not seem all important, but that tiny scratch in the paint today could develop into a big rusty problem if it’s neglected for too long. Point out scratches to your mechanic. They can order touch-up paint that matches your car’s color to fix it up and keep you looking great on the road.
Tip 8: Check and test all your lights
The problem with the lights is that they’re on the outside of the car, where you usually aren’t. Take some time once a month to turn on all the lights, including the turn signals, and walk around your car to make sure they’re all in good working order.
Tip 9: Get monthly washes
Monthly washings will help keep your car looking great and functioning well, too. Regular washes help stop excess grime and dirt from accumulating, thereby reducing the likelihood of rust and corrosion problems.
Tip 10: Don’t ignore those dashboard lights
If you see one of those helpful dashboard lights go on telling you there’s some sort of problem, don’t ignore it. Consult your owner’s manual to find out what the problem is. Or get your car to your local mechanic as soon as possible to have the problem addressed.
Maintenance now beats repairs later
It’s always good to save money, right? A few dollars spent to maintain your car and fix small problems now will not only keep your car running well, but it will also save you money, time, and hassle by preventing small problems from turning into big problems.
Not into DIY car maintenance? Then you really only need to put one resolution on your list: Visit QWIK Auto Center for routine checkups and maintenance. We’ll help keep your car in tip-top shape all year long. So come see us in Pacific Beach today!