Just like exercise, rest, good nutrition and annual check-ups are essential to stay healthy, preventive maintenance of your car will keep it on the road and away from the garage – saving you money. Here are 7 tips to keep your car in top shape.
Anyone who has ever spent a ton of money repairing their car unnecessarily regrets not having taken care of it before. Because it is done on a regular basis, preventive maintenance is the key to solving small problems before they become bigger and more expensive.
So how can you reduce the chances of ending up with an exorbitant repair bill? Here are 7 tips that could help.
Read (and pay attention to) the maintenance manual
No matter what the garage tells you, an easy way to save money on car repairs and extend the life of your vehicle is to follow what the manufacturer says in the owner’s manual. After all, who knows your car better than the people who built it? One of the basics of your car maintenance: believe the people who built your vehicle.
Do a visual inspection of your car
Even if you know little about cars, anything out of the ordinary should attract your attention.
Underinflated tires burn extra fuel and cause faster wear. Overinflated tires can damage your car’s suspension and reduce traction.
That’s why maintaining tire pressure by checking them monthly helps prevent premature tire wear and reduces the chance of an accident.
To maximize the life of your car’s tires, rotate them regularly. This will make your tires last longer.
Are winter tires required by law in your province? If so, this is the ideal time for your mechanic to rotate them. No reminder required!
A dark and slippery road in the middle of nowhere is the last place to discover a burned lighthouse!
From turn signal indicators to reversing lights, get help from a friend for five minutes every month to check your car’s headlights. Replace bulbs that do not work.
Do you have a cracked or broken headlight? Replacing the fires yourself is easier than you think: with a few basic tools, a CAPA (or “after-sales” certified part) and a little patience, you will be done in no time.
Do yellowed and dirty headlights affect your driving? Catering kits available in many auto parts stores may be the solution.
In a snowstorm shower, how can you stay on the road if you can’t see it? As a general rule, you should change your wiper blades every six months: in summer and winter.
Cleaning your windshield regularly can also help extend the life of your wipers. Similarly, replacing worn ones can prevent scratches on your windshield. Why not do both?
Listen to what your car says
Just as a cough is a sign that you may get sick, new noises from your car can signal that something is wrong.
When your muffler is about to die, you know it: the famous rumblings in your car tend to get louder while you drive.
Anything suspicious deserves a visit from the mechanic, especially since the potentially toxic fumes could leak into the car.
To keep you safe, ask your mechanic to check the main components of your cars exhaust system every six months or every 10,000 kilometres. This includes oxygen sensors, exhaust manifolds, suspensions and clamps, silencers and exhaust pipes.
Loose bolts on your shock absorbers can also make a rattling noise. So when do you need to replace your shock absorbers?
The basic rule is about every 80,000 kilometres – or if your car is unbalanced or bouncing when you push down on the bumper or while driving.
As far as maintenance is concerned, brakes should be at the top of your list. Clear signs that your car’s brakes need replacement include
- A squealing, squeaking or whistling sound when you push the brake pedal.
- If your vehicle pulls to one side when slowing down or if the brake pedal feels soft when not pushed.
- Leaking brake fluid – a huge red flag!
To keep your car running (and stopping!) safely, recognize the warning signs that your brakes are failing and follow the recommendations of your vehicle manufacturer to know when to replace them.