10 Vehicle Maintenance Recommendations That Actually Work
by Dakota Storage Buildings, on November 01, 2016
This post was updated on April 3, 2020.
Extend the life of your car with regular maintenance and proper storage.
Car trouble is frustrating, particularly if you're in a hurry or far from an auto shop. Routine maintenance and repair can help prevent such inconvenient and frustrating situations.
Follow these ten tips and your vehicle will continue to run smoothly and dependably. This list isn't an exhaustive maintenance checklist; rather it's top-of-mind recommendations that will keep your car or truck functioning reliably.
Tip 1 – Check and change fluids
Check all fluids, including engine, power steering, brake, and transmission oils to make sure they're at proper levels and that leaks haven't developed. Regular fluid checks and lubrications will keep the powertrain - namely the engine, transmission, and drivetrain - healthy.
Keep in mind, the type of motor oil, brake fluid, and grease used is just as important as how often it's changed. Always use the recommended type and viscosity.
And remember, no single action will help an engine last longer than regular oil and filter changes. Conversely, nothing will destroy an engine faster than neglecting oil changes.
Tip 2 - Test your battery
It’s important to test your battery regularly, not just when it’s starting to show signs of weakness. Proactively check it twice a year (or making sure your mechanic does), making sure it's functioning properly, and that its connections are clean, tight, and corrosion-free. Most retailers offer a simple free five-minute battery test.
Watch this brief battery care and maintenance video.
To find out how long a car battery should last—and other battery-specific information—check out this article by autofella.com.
Tip 3 – Flush the cooling system
Once every year, flush your vehicle's cooling system and change its coolant. A 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water will keep the cooling system in good shape and prevent corrosion and deposits from building up inside the cooling system.
Check out this easy-to-follow "how to" video for flushing a vehicle cooling system.
Tip 4 - Replace hoses and belts
Regular replacement of belts and hoses can save money and time during the life of your vehicle. To prevent the most typical causes of breakdown, make certain your belts and hoses are checked for cracks, frays, loose connections, and replaced if needed every 3,000 miles or with every oil change.
Tip 5 - Inspect the exhaust system
Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay. White smoke typically indicates the engine coolant, or antifreeze, is getting into the combustion chamber and burning. Black smoke signals excessive amounts of fuel being burned inefficiently. Blue-tinged smoke alerts you to engine oil being burnt. None of these are good; take your vehicle into the auto shop immediately.
This video will give you a solid overview and tips for inspecting your exhaust system.
Tip 6 - Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning
Check the (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and safety precautions such as defrosting.
For a informative overview of how the HVAC system works, watch this.
Tip 7 - Inspect the steering and suspension system
The brakes, suspension, and steering systems are all major safety components of any vehicle. If something is going wrong with one of them, it can severely affect the performance and the safety of the car.
There can be simple issues such as worn brake pads, misaligned wheels, or leaking steering fluid to more severe issues like a warped rotor, bad tie rods, or failing struts. Regardless of the issues, getting the brakes, suspension, and steering systems inspected and repaired is key to making the car safe to drive.
Tip 8 - Examine wipers and lighting
Check your exterior lighting (headlights, brake lights, and tail lights) often so that you can replace bulbs as necessary. Your chance of being in an accident increases if you can't see or be seen by others.
Replace worn wiper blades so you can clearly see when driving during precipitation. Wiper blades keep excessive water, snow, and dirt from building up on the windshield, preserving visibility. Many factors can accelerate the need for blade replacement, including operating conditions (winter conditions are tough on wiper blades), the frequency of use, and the material type.
Tip 9 – Clean the exterior
In addition to washing the exterior of your car, keep it clean and functioning properly by removing ice and hosing off winter salt. While road salting helps people travel safely, it can cause major body and undercarriage damage to your vehicle unless you take extra care and precaution.
If you're one of the many who must travel in harsh winter weather, help protect your vehicle from the ravages of road salt.
Tip 10 - Look over tires
Keeping your tires properly inflated will help them wear evenly, which will prolong their life and improve your vehicle’s fuel economy. Well maintained tires will handle better, provide dependable traction, and execute a more comfortable ride.
To ensure optimal performance, check tire pressure and tread, plus look for bulges and bald spots every 3,000 miles.
Here's a step-by-step guide for checking tire pressure.
Do you have a garage for your car or truck?
Protect your vehicle's exterior by keeping it in a garage. Not only is it convenient for you, but it keeps your vehicle clean, dry, and in good condition for longer. Whether you're looking to buy your first garage or need an additional one, take a moment to explore our Garage Collection or customize your ideal garage using our online configurator.
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