There aren’t very many ways in which automobiles are similar to humans, but here’s an important way we are alike: preventive care is key for long-term health. Too many of us don’t take basic car maintenance as seriously as we should. It might seem like a never-ending hassle, but it’s worth it. Not only will you delay the onset of major car issues and avoid extensive car repairs, you’ll get tens of thousands more miles out of your vehicle over its lifetime and keep yourself safer while driving.
So for your own safety and your car’s health, don’t neglect these simple ways to help your car help you.
Easy maintenance for a safe and healthy car
1. Regular oil changes
Your car’s engine has a lot of moving parts, and they need lubrication to keep everything running smoothly. Oil should be changed anywhere from every 3,000 to 10,000 miles, depending on the car and driving conditions. Many new cars make this a no brainer by displaying your “oil life” and warning you when it’s time to get your oil changed.
2. And while you’re at it, check your fluids
There are about a zillion different systems working in concert to make your car work properly, and many of those systems rely on fluids for pressure, heat transfer, and other purposes. While you’re changing your oil, make sure you check the level of your brake fluid, coolant/antifreeze, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and windscreen wiper fluids.
3. Drive with the right tyre pressure
Driving with over- or under-inflated tyres can be a real drag on your car’s fuel economy. But more importantly, it makes driving more dangerous. You compromise the vehicle’s traction and handling, making it harder to control, and you increase the risk of a tyre blowout. Like with the oil, most modern cars have a TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system) that will warn you when your pressure is low. But it’s a good idea to check it the old fashioned way once in a while just to be sure.
4. Get your battery tested
Roughly every 3 to 5 years is a good time to make sure your battery has enough juice to keep your car turning over smoothly. A mechanic can do this, or you can test it yourself with a voltmeter. Just make sure the car has been off for at least 12 hours.
5. Do a quick suspension test
If you suspect your car’s suspension system is suffering, here’s a quick and easy test. Put the car in park, get out and press down on the bonnet with your whole body weight, then let go suddenly. Do this again on the boot side of the car. It shouldn’t bounce more than 3 times before stabilising.
6. Pay attention to your brakes
Listen for strange noises when braking and pay attention to response time and how soft or firm the brake feels. If you think you might have brake problems, fill up your brake fluid until you can make it to the garage.