An Ounce of Prevention Car Maintenance Can Really Save You A Headache
Preventative car maintenance can extend the life of your car and reduce the cost of repairs over the years. Many people do not keep up with preventative care, which results in millions of dollars annually in repairs as well as in accidents caused by poor quality parts, and lost wages from time spent dealing with car repairs. For example, breakdowns can sometimes be avoided by replacing worn belts and hoses, as these parts are very often found to be worn during vehicle inspections. This type of maintenance is often overlooked because of the cost, but the benefit in the future will likely be much more valuable.
New tires should be installed every 50,000 to 60,000 miles, although you should also watch out for the tread being worn down, and cracking due to weather or road conditions. A visit to the body shop for new tires can save you the trouble of having a flat, and the time to deal with that if you end up stuck on the side of the road. If snow tires are rotated out for regular tires seasonally, that can prolong the life of both sets of tires because they are not consistently used. New tires should be rotated after about 7,500 miles, or whenever you swap out your snow tires.
An oil change is perhaps the most important maintenance practice, advised every 3,000 miles, although oil technology recently is making this less necessary. For your particular car, you should check with the dealer as to how often you should change the oil. You can easily check your oil by pulling out the measuring stick, wiping it clean, putting it in and pulling it out again, to see what the oil level is. Check your owners manual to see what the oil level should be, and if it needs to be replenished or changed.
Other preventative maintenance includes brakes, which should be changed every 25,000 to 50,000 miles, and timing belts every 60,000 to 90,000 miles. Washing your car isn’t just for vanity, especially if you live in an area that snows; salt kicked up from the road can get built up under your car and cause rust. Getting a wash that includes the undercarriage can help prevent this, and a waxing of the car can help to maintain the paint job and prevent rust for setting in.
Choosing an auto dealer and a mechanic can be stressful, especially when buying a used car and trying to find a mechanic that you can trust and that won’t overcharge you. Check online and ask around, as fairly often word of mouth is the best source of reliable mechanics. For certain maintenance and repairs, the parts should come from the actual dealership of your car, so make sure your mechanic knows when this is appropriate. Oil changes can be done at almost any auto body shop, but they should also be checking your car for other maintenance that may need to be done. This prevention can really save you money, and a hassle, in the future.