5 Easy-to-Forget Auto Maintenance Tips
The far and away most annoying auto repair issues for a car owner are not the dents and part replacements that come with accidents and age. They are the minor problems that explode into big ones, the nuisances that become crises if auto inspection and maintenance are procrastinated tasks. The kind that hit you driving to the office at 8 a.m., only to be halted by a stalling engine and a huge repair bill. The following are 5 preventative maintenance tips to ensure that your next visit to the car mechanic is on much better terms.
- Changing Oil - Sometimes, it's just that easy. Forgetting to change the oil regularly is a leading cause of engine breakdown, and the easiest aspect of engine maintenance to forget. Each engine has a different interval of how long it can go without an oil change, but generally between 3,000 and 5,000 (tops) miles is suggested. Taking a whiff of your current oil supply can be a more analog and definite way of gauging as well; the worse the odor, the more you need a change.
- Tire Inflation – This seems like an aspect of auto inspection to balk at, but regularly filled tires are not only safe, they are cost effective. If a tire is full, the extra lift provided makes an easier time for the engine to move the car. This makes for a lower fuel bill as well as avoiding a dangerous and potentially lethal tire pop on a busy road.
- Tire Wear – Another dual, maintenance issue involving the tires, monitoring the wear and tear of a tire's treads is both useful and indicative. Strong tire trends are not only useful but necessary for driving in icier climates, where they aid in safety and mobility. A lesser known truth to monitoring tire wear and tear is that it can indicate a much larger problem in the form of wheel alignment and balance. More worn in treads on one side of the car means more weight unbalance, which leads to higher repair bills and uneven auto maintenance. Also, catching an alignment issue earlier will insure a less costly visit to the car mechanic later on.
- Air Filter – The air filter is kind of like your car's wind pipe. Any auto inspection regime should include replacing the air filter, because if the air filter becomes clogged or too dirty it can choke out the air flow to the engine. This results in dirtier moving parts, as well as reducing an engine's performance and fuel efficiency. Just like changing oil, there isn't really an exact benchmark to change your air filter as an air filter's life span usually revolves around the environment in which you drive the car. Industry suggestions, however, hover around every 15,000 miles for driving on relatively sediment free roads.
- Emergency Kit – This last tip is more so emergency preparedness than auto maintenance, but its necessity cannot be understated. Keeping even the most basic kit of a cell phone, a spare tire, hazard signs, and road flares is essential, especially in driving long distances. You are a sitting duck at the mercy of every driver on the road when pulled over; this is doubly scary on thruway conditions. Certain emergency kit items, like hazard lights and road flares, will keep you safe while you wait for the tow to the car mechanic.
Little problems can grow into big problems at the drop of a hat so do yourself a favor and keep regular maintenance on these simple auto repair peeves before your car becomes a money pit rather than an investment.