CAR CARE TIPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR VEHICLE IN GOOD SHAPE
Keeping your car in top shape requires proper maintenance. Additionally, it ensures your safety and your passengers’ safety, as well as the safety of your co-drivers. Here are some tips on how to take car care.
There was a time when viewing a car that had 100,000 miles on it was almost miraculous. Today, it isn’t uncommon for cars to go over 300,000 miles, sometimes even 500,000 miles. Doesn’t that seem obvious? Maintenance plays a major role in this. For your car to stay in mint condition, you will need to know a little technical lingo. For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of 60 car maintenance tips.
Car Maintenance Benefits
You may recognize a car older than Dracula, but it’s not. As a matter of fact, a properly maintained old car will outlive a newer car that’s neglected. Regularly checking your tires, brakes, fluid levels, and lights is essential to maintaining your vehicle.
Increase your safety
Poor car maintenance can indirectly cause some road accidents. While you are braking, the brake system fails because you forgot to service it.
It is also possible that worn-out tire bursts at high speeds – get it?
Enhances performance and reliability
You notice a decline in performance if you drive a car without regular maintenance for an extended period of time. It may not accelerate as fast as when it was brand new. The fuel economy may have declined, or the engine may cough while starting. In the absence of routine servicing or replacement, it is normal for car components to wear out.
Boosts Your Vehicle’s Resale Value
Have you ever wondered why some antique cars command a higher price when auctioned off decades after they were purchased? Those who own rare, limited edition cars keep them in mint condition while out of the market. Maintaining your vehicle will boost its resale value even if it isn’t one of those scarce types.
Saves you from costly repairs
Sometimes, the cost of repairing your car may be greater than you would spend if you bought a new one. However, it is possible to prevent digging a hole in your pocket by scheduling regular maintenance checks to prevent cracks from forming. See what I mean? It’s better to prevent than cure!
Avoids roadside problems
The engine of your car can fail to start on a cold winter morning, or it can suddenly stop working due to overheating problems. You might even be forced to abandon your car if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere without a strong network signal. Ouch! It reads like a horror script; you don’t want to imagine it.
Taking good care of your vehicle can reduce the risk of roadside breakdowns.
No matter how passionate you are about the environment, vehicle exhaust emissions are regulated in most countries. Today, car owners have to keep off vehicles that are not roadworthy due to excess carbon emissions and manufacturers who are required to reduce vehicle emissions. The best way to stay compliant with environmental protection regulations is through proper vehicle maintenance.back to menu ↑
how to take car care – 60 best steps
1. Clean your car in and out at least once a month
Maintaining a clean car is like maintaining a clean room, except that everyone can see your car. Grab a cheap cleaner but a great vacuum, a bottle of auto wash for the outside, and you’ll have a car that looks brand new.
Suppose you don’t clean your car regularly. In that case, dirt and grime will eventually build up, damaging your interior and exterior, which will likely not impress your crush.
2. Use a reliable brand of oil and have it changed after every 5,000 to 7,500 miles
Different car manufacturers have different opinions about oil, but most experts agree that it should be changed regularly. It’s best to use synthetic oil in your vehicle. Getting your oil changed at a shop is usually easier than doing it yourself.
Check your car’s oil every other month or so to make sure it is lubricating your engine and preventing detergent buildup. When you don’t change the oil in your car regularly, dirt will accumulate and eventually destroy it, causing you thousands of dollars in repairs.
When it’s time to replace your blades, you can easily tell. When the washer button is pressed, the blades will wipe clean. Streaks mean they’re toast. There are a lot of economy blades at the auto parts store, but choose a name brand (ANCO, Trico, r Bosch). In comparison to economy blades, they cost more. Still, their rubber is better at wiping, is more UV protected, and lasts longer.
Install the package following the instructions on it. Once you’ve removed the old wiper blade, hold on to the wiper arm firmly. It can crack a windshield if it gets too far away from you.
4. Inspect and replace engine air filters
Make sure your engine air filter is in good condition and needs to be replaced. Remove the old filter by unscrewing or unclipping the retainers of the air filter box. See how much light passes through the filter by holding a shop light behind it. A filter should be replaced if it obstructs 50% or more of the light. Keep driving if it is not in, secure the air filter box cover, and reinstall. It’s one of the simplest things you can do to fix your car.
You should check if the gas you buy at the pump is filtered and if the station regularly changes the pump filters. If you don’t get a satisfactory response, look for another gas station. You are more likely to come into contact with dirty gasoline if there are no pump filters at some stations. In other stations, alcohol and fuel may not be mixed properly or, worse, are diluted. Stick with a station that you trust.
6. When you see a tanker, do not fill it up
It’s okay to come back another day or to another gas station if you see a gasoline tanker at your local station. Sediment is stirred up in the underground tanks of the station by turbulent air. Besides clogging your fuel filters and injectors, sediment can cause your gas to perform poorly and may even require repairs.
7. If you get stuck, take it easy
Sticking in mud or snow can make the problem worse. Be careful not to damage expensive parts. To free the vehicle, gently rock it. If you are stuck, don’t keep going. Continuously putting your car in forward and reverse, or spinning the wheels at high speeds, can cause a lot of heat and cause transmission, clutch, and differential problems. Calling a tow truck is probably more cost-effective in the long run than risking major repair bills later. Sand, gravel, or cat litter are all good traction aids to keep in the trunk.
8. Check your tire pressure every month and rotate your tires every 7,500 miles
A whole host of problems can arise with incorrect tire pressure, including poor braking, durability, low gas mileage, and flat tires, so make sure you check your tire pressure. Rotating your tires regularly will also ensure that they wear evenly. You get the most use out of them before replacing them.
Benefits of checking tires pressure: Tire replacement costs around $350 to $700, whereas a tire rotation costs approximately $50. You can take your tires to a dealer or auto body shop if they need to be rotated.
9. Be careful not to overload your vehicle
Overloading your vehicle is one of the most common mistakes people make. A tire breakdown could result if the vehicle is not imbalanced. If your vehicle can support the weight above the specified limit, check your owner’s manual or the door frame placard.
10. Replace your brake pads after every 25,000 miles or as soon as your brakes wear out
Having your brakes checked by a professional now and then is a good idea, as a grinding sound can be troublesome. The brake pads play a major role here since they resist brake loss at high temperatures and can be replaced by mechanics if necessary.
Why it is important to replace brake pads: If you don’t replace your brake pads, your brake rotors will fail, costing you $300 to $600 to replace, or you’ll be in an emergency.
11. Mismatched tires shouldn’t be installed
If you are honest with yourself, you probably have considered fixing mismatched tires on your car, or maybe it was just your lazy mind. Incorrectly matched tires can result in a car that performs badly and even spins out. You may need a new set of tires a few weeks later if a misfit tire causes the other tires to wear out at a fast rate.
12. Invest in a new antenna
It’s easy to replace an antenna mast mounted to the fender. You can replace the mast by unscrewing the remaining portion of the mast. It is more difficult to replace a pillar mount antenna, but it is still doable. You should disconnect your radio’s antenna cable, and you should attach a heavy string to it. Remove the old antenna and the string with the antenna mount unscrewed from the pillar. A new antenna cable will need to be connected to the string, pulled back into the vehicle, and then connected to your radio. Install a new antenna by screwing it to the pillar.
13. Don’t let your engine overheat
Since the coolant light indicates that the engine is overheating, you should know what to avoid it. What should you do? Just check the coolant level periodically. Nothing complicated. For those who didn’t know, the coolant controls engine temperature. Also, look out for any signs of a leak in the coolant.
14. Ensure that your mirrors are in good condition
We’d all love to have eyes in the back of our heads, but since we’re only humans, mirrors are the next best thing. You can save a lot of trouble and time on the road by maintaining a good set of front and rearview mirrors.
NOTE: If your mirrors are dirty or you don’t have any mirrors at all, you are the least popular driver on the road, and that’s not good.
15. Retain the interior of your car to maintain its resale value
Grime contains chemicals that destroy things like leather and vinyl in your car, eventually making it look like a dirty, old-fashioned machine. Thanks to products like Meguiar’s Quik Interior Detailer and Leather Honey, your car will always look new.
REMEMBER: When you sell your car, a dirty interior will cause you to lose hundreds of dollars, which means less money saved for the future. Keep your car’s interior tidy, and it’s not that hard.
16. Immediately replace any defective headlight bulbs
One headlight not working properly or showing a very dim light can turn driving a car in the dark into an absolute nightmare. It is usually caused by a dead headlight bulb, which can be easily fixed with an upgraded bulb, which lasts longer.
Important Note: Don’t ever consider driving at night without headlights. It is extremely dangerous and will probably lead to a traffic stop. There are only a few steps and tools needed to replace a headlight bulb yourself.
17. Inspect holes and belts
Keeping your car’s belts and hoses in good shape can prevent breakdowns while on the road and keep your car running. If you break a serpentine belt while driving, several car systems may malfunction.
Ensure your belts and hoses are in good condition during every oil change and don’t need replacement.
18. If you will not be driving your car for a while, store it safely
If you plan to be away for a while, make sure you keep your car clean, topped off with gas, and turned on every so often to keep the battery charged. If you can’t start your car or drive, you can buy a battery tender that stops a discharge.
If you do not store your car properly, you could have a dead battery, a damaged engine, or even some bugs in the engine. It’s best to store your car the right way to avoid rats and spiders that could damage your car.
19. Park in a shaded area
Parking your car in a garage is always the best choice. Always park your car in the shade to minimize interior damage due to UV sunlight and heat if one isn’t available. If there is no shade or if you see bird droppings under trees while parking, use a car shade to minimize the sun’s rays. You’ll also enjoy stepping into a cooler car on hot summer days. There are two types of car shades:
- They are the ones you unfold and put on the windshield and rear window
- Pleated types that attach to windshield posts, the frames of windows, or the windows themselves (using suction cups).
20. Make sure the dash gauges are clean
The clear plastic lenses on your dashboard should be lightly wiped with a soft, damp cloth. If you press too hard, they will be scratched. Under certain lighting conditions, it is difficult to read your gauges if they have too many scratches.
21. Give floor mats a breath
To protect your carpet, use floor mats. A rubber waffle-style mat is the best option in winter for controlling salt, slush, and mud. The clips stay in place, prevent water from seeping through, and can be washed easily. Carpet-style mats are also useful. Replace as they wear out by shaking, vacuuming, or washing.
Also, read how to clean car carpets at home.
22. Replace the air filter after 30,000 miles or once a year
The air filter in your car is like the lungs in your body: You should keep it clean to breathe easier and prevent harmful substances from entering. Dirty air filters reduce a car’s acceleration and efficiency, so it’s crucial to inspect and replace them regularly.
Remember: Dirty air filters won’t cause your car to explode, but they can damage its combustion chamber if left in. After 15 minutes of installing a new air filter, you will not remember why you were worried.
23. Preserve the seals around doors and windows
Maintain your door and window weather-stripping by wiping it with a rubber protectant (such as Armor-All) or silicone. Oil-based products will damage the rubber, so don’t use them. Cleaning and treating the weather-stripping on your car will also reduce the chance of your door sticking to the rubber seal during cold weather, which can damage the rubber seal.
24. Avoid drying and cracking leather
A leather car seat is durable and requires little maintenance. However, the seats can become dirty after a few years. Use a leather cleaner to remove dirt and stains. Afterward, apply a leather protector designed for pigmented or top-coated leather (often used on leather car seats). With protectors, the upholstery will resist future stains and make future cleaning easier. To keep your leather agile, choose a protectant with conditioners.
25. Don’t let the sun damage your car’s paint
The paint on your vehicle provides more than aesthetic appeal. Additionally, it protects you from rusty body panels. To protect the paint of the car, it is best to park it in a garage. If it isn’t possible, park under a shaded area or buy a car cover. Sunlight breaks down paint and causes it to fade. In addition to protecting your car from the sun, rain, snow, and dust, they also offer light impact protection, such as small branches falling from trees or bicycles falling over.
26. Use antifreeze every 15,000 miles to prevent engine overheating
With the help of coolant and antifreeze, your engine will not overheat or freeze in any weather. Antifreeze usually costs between $10 and $15 per gallon, so it’s easy to keep your radiator running smoothly.
27. Ensure the timing belt is in good condition
The timing belt is an essential component of every engine; it synchronizes the movement of pistons and valves. Moreover, an engine destroyed by a damaged timing belt can burn a hole in your pocket. The timing belt check will only take a few minutes, and you will save yourself a lot of trouble in the future. If you hear a ticking noise coming from the engine, the engine misfires, or oil leakage, this could signal a bad timing belt.
28. Check and replace the spark plugs and wires
A good set of spark plugs will improve your car’s performance and prevent problems like cold starting and misfiring. Spark plugs should be replaced after 30,000 miles, according to most owners’ manuals. You won’t spend much time or money on it. In addition to changing the spark plugs, you should change the wires to match the new plug’s electrical current.
29. Drain and flush the brake fluid
Pressure is transferred from the brake pads to the rotors when the brake pedals are pressed. Due to its liquid nature, brake fluid collects moisture, which contributes to corrosion. Additionally, brakes can accumulate moisture, making them less effective. Whenever you see milky or cloudy brake fluid, flush it.
30. See if your car has been recalled that you are unaware of
There are currently 1.3 million GM cars being recalled due to power-steering failures. You can check the NHTSA’s website to see if your car is involved in a recall if you don’t know this or are worried about your vehicle.
31. Keep receipts for future car maintenance to simplify repairs
Taking your vehicle to a repair shop for a check-up, keep the receipts for any past maintenance you performed on it. Maintain your receipts in case you are asked when you last changed the oil or rotated the tires. The receipts will also prove to potential buyers that you took care of your car, which will increase the value of your car if and when you sell it.
Note: Not proving that you have taken care of your vehicle may invalidate its warranty, resulting in a costly repair at almost any dealer. At least take a picture of your receipt with your phone if you can’t keep receipts.
32. Clean your car of bird droppings immediately
A bird’s droppings contain a high level of acid, which eventually burns paint and damages it. As soon as possible, you should wash your car and, if that is difficult, you might try repairing the damage using a car polisher.
It may seem crazy, but having your car painted over a bird’s bathroom break may just be what you need if it has been too long. To keep your car looking new, it’s best to clean the exterior often.
33. Repair Your Leaky Roof
You may have a clogged sunroof drain if you keep getting raindrops on your head. It’s easy to fix. See if there are drain holes in the corners of the roof. Upon locating the drains, connect a flexible rubber tube to your shop vacuum and remove any debris. You can check if your car is draining onto your driveway or garage floor by dribbling water into each drain.
34. Do not compromise on your auto insurance
No matter how good you are at driving, a bad driver can put you and your car out of commission. Companies like GEICO, State Farm provide comprehensive coverage for accidents and repairs. Still, a cheap policy may not fully cover your car, your property, or the property of others.
Why should you choose good auto insurance?
You should always have car insurance when you drive a car, but be sure to choose a company that offers quality coverage. Insurance isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it to know that you’re protected if the worst happens.
35. Keep copies of important papers in your glove box and keep the originals in a secure place
In case you are pulled over or get injured on the road, make sure you have the following documents with you: your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and medical records. You can copy all of these documents for your personal use. But, keep other documents safe, such as your vehicle title and other personal documents, as thieves can use this information to find your home or sell your car.
36. When in doubt about car problems, consult an expert
The problem with fixing a car if you don’t know exactly what’s wrong is as complex as wonderful. If you are unsure of what’s going on with your vehicle, have it checked out at a dealer or mechanic to avoid hassles and frustrations.
37. Do your best to vacuum
Clean all the junk underneath the seat by sliding it all the way forward. The things you’ll find will surprise you. Among the finds were a lost cell phone, plenty of pens and pencils, and enough coin to purchase several lunches at the vending machine. Remove the seat covers, sweep the floor and clean the mats. Brush the dashboard and door panels with a brush attachment.
38. Remove old stickers off
Despite the memories associated with state and national park stickers, accumulating them is also risky. Removing high-quality stickers is possible by getting under the corner and carefully pulling at a 90-degree angle. Cheap stickers will remain sticky. Dab some Goo Gone on your dash and cover it with an old towel. Clean it up by scraping and wiping.
39. Replace the battery every three or four years
You should replace your battery as soon as the battery case swells. Every battery in a car eventually degrades. Battery replacement is recommended every 3 to 4 years for most car batteries. Weather, driving habits, and battery capacity determine the battery’s lifespan.
40. Protect the paint on your car with wax
There’s no way out! You have to wax your car. But it’s a rewarding job that will help keep it looking great. In addition to slowing paint oxidation, car wax also protects it from bird droppings, sap, and pollution. It’s also just fun to drive a car that’s nice and shiny.
41. Avoid damaging your car’s finish with tools
Consider purchasing a fender cover if you plan to service and repair your car. You can rest your tools on it safely without causing scratches to your fender. Furthermore, your belt buckle will not damage the paint of the engine compartment if you lean into it while working.
42. Drive safely and don’t be reckless
It’s sometimes impossible not to go full speed when you have to drive somewhere. Nevertheless, driving like the world will end all the time will eventually wear out your car, while driving with a bit more calm will only prolong its life.
43. Regularly clean your seats
The problem with not cleaning your car seats regularly is that dirt will accumulate, resulting in filthy interiors. In any case, you should clean your interior at least once a month to avoid dirt accumulation. You can always bribe your kids or find a car wash nearby if you don’t have time.
44. Get Rid Of The Stains Immediately
If you remove stains as soon as possible, you’ll have an easier time. If you want to remove stains from leather seats, you can simply rub them out, but if you want to remove them from cloth-lined interiors or carpets, you must sweat them out.
You can remove a coffee stain by diluting it with cold water and soaking it in a glass cleaner. In contrast, grease stains can be removed with a vacuum cleaner, paint thinner, and salt.
45. Maintain headliners and visors
In your car, the headliner provides protection. The visor blocks sun rays while you are driving. If neglected, headliners and visors will both wear out. It’s important to keep a close eye on both parts to spot and fix any small rips before they become bigger issues.
46. Schedule a professional detail every year
An expert detailer will clean your car thoroughly both inside and out – every area that can be cleaned or washed is done. Yes, it’s more expensive than other car washes, but it’s worth it. Still not convinced? What if it doubles your resale value and makes your vehicle look new? Waxing should be combined with professional detailing.
47. Repair damaged components
The exhaust system is built up of many components, no matter how small they may seem. It’s known as the butterfly effect, a phenomenon where small details can significantly impact the big picture. For instance, exhaust hangers serve a secondary function. Still, if they don’t maintain a proper tension, damage to the entire system is possible. For this reason, we must replace every component of the exhaust system that is broken
48. Ensure that the rubber bushings are in good condition
Rubber bushings usually absorb vibrations and allow suspension parts to move freely. A long period of time can exhaust rubber, which may affect the performance of the product. In this case, the most vulnerable components are the track bars, track rods, sway bars, and control rods.
49. Avoid slamming doors
We often come to regret those little things we do without even realizing it, such as aggressively slamming the door. Over time, slamming a door causes it to vibrate, weakening the windshield. As a matter of fact, fixing chips only makes them worse.
50. Always Keep An Emergency Kit in Your Vehicle
Oftentimes, the snowfall can be so harsh that people are left stranded in remote locations. You may have heard of this situation on the news. Even worse is if your vehicle breaks down in the icy cold since you might be unable to drive for a long time. A car emergency kit is a good idea. You should always have canned food, blankets, flashlights, shovels, an emergency flare, a power bank, a battery backup for your phone, and a flashlight.
51. Clean the vent with a makeup brush
Dust accumulation in the air vent of your car can make you sneeze every time you turn it on. Makeup brushes are a simple and effective way to remove dust. Makeup brushes don’t even need to be new – just do not use them if there is makeup residue on them; otherwise, you will be replacing the powder with dust.
52. Remove pet hair with a squeegee
A road trip with your pet is unavoidable if you love it. The hair from your pet can constantly accumulate on your seats, and this can be a problem if you own a dog or cat. What’s the secret? Water in a spray bottle and a squeegee? Just spray some water over the fur without soaking it, and wipe it with a squeegee.
53. Use vinegar and baking soda to remove bad odors and dirt
You can use baking soda and vinegar to clean your car seat or remove odors. If necessary, you can make a paste out of the baking soda and vinegar, then scrub it gently on the upholstery before rinsing it with water.
54. Use alcohol on wipers
Using rubbing alcohol on your wipers, you can avoid smudging your windshield. However, wipers should first be cleaned with warm, soapy water to remove dust and dirt. After that, wipe the blade edges with a clean rag or cotton ball dipped in alcohol.
55. Run your air conditioner in winter
During the winter, run your air-conditioning system several times to ensure it’s ready for the warmer months ahead. That way, the compressor will not freeze up. Additionally, refrigerant circulation keeps seals flexible and soft.
56. Clean The Dashboard With A Brush & Vacuum
Dashboards is one the most important interior part of how to take car care. Are there any places on your dashboard that you can’t clean with a microfiber cloth? When vacuuming up dust, a brush and portable car vacuum cleaners make a great combination. However, to avoid leaving marks on the dashboard, make sure the brush bristles are extremely soft.
57. Chase bugs with used dryer sheets
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to wash your car but finding bugs hidden in the bushes. Now that you’re done sweating it find some used dryer sheets and wipe your car down. The removal of bugs is possible from your car by using used dryer sheets.
58. Cupcake liners to cover the cup holders
If you are tired of cleaning the cup holder, place silicone cupcake liners under it. If you want to avoid this problem, let the silicone cup holder collect any spilled gunk. The cupcake liner can be washed, rinsed, dried, and then returned to the cup holder instead of washing the cup holder.
59. Maintain Your Visibility During Winter
Don’t you think it’s dangerous to drive without knowing where you are in the winter? Ice sheets on windscreens are a hazard since they can fly off at high speeds and seriously injure others behind you. If there is any ice on your lights, side mirrors, or windshield, make sure you remove it. You can also add de-icing fluid to the windshield water tank.
60. Before you drive in the winter, check your tires
Checking the car tires is really important on our list of how to take car care. There is a possibility that you will need special winter or snow tires during the winter. If the tires do not meet the criteria for tread depth, they need to be changed before winter. You should also double-check your tire pressure before driving out in low temperatures so that they are not underinflated.