What Basic Maintenance Should You Do For Your Car? Mar 10, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)
As a car owner, you should be aware of the basic maintenance that you need to take care of on a regular basis. There are some things you can probably do yourself while others are best left to the professionals. If you are thinking of DIY maintenance, just make sure you are comfortable with it first, so you don’t cause more harm than good to your vehicle. To make sure you are taking proper care of it, be sure that you know the necessary basic maintenance.
Check Your Owner’s Manual
All vehicles require the same basic maintenance at different points in time, but the intervals may vary. Because of this, you want to make sure to look at your owner’s manual. This resource will tell you every maintenance task you need to do and how often to do it. That being said, the following tasks are some of the most crucial.
Checking the Fluid
Checking all of the fluids in your car is a crucial part of regular maintenance. You should either learn how to check them or bring your car to a mechanic who will do so for you. You need to check regularly and change the power steering fluid, wiper fluid, coolant, antifreeze, and oil.
Inspecting Tire Inflation and Wear
Once a month or so, you want to check the pressure of your tires. Doing so ensures that they wear evenly and improves fuel efficiency. You will also need to check occasionally the wear on the tires to make sure there is still enough tread to drive safely. Other tire and wheel related maintenance include tire rotations and wheel alignments.
Taking Care of Belts
The serpentine and timing belts in your car need to be replaced every once in a while. Your owner’s manual will tell you exact intervals at which to change them, but a general rule of thumb is to replace the serpentine belt each 40,000 miles and the timing belt every 60,000 miles. Before replacing the belts, be sure to have a mechanic inspect them since they may not need to be replaced as frequently as it says in your owner’s manual.
Inspecting the Battery and Spark Plugs
The battery of your car also needs to be examined on a regular basis. In addition to the inspections listed in your owner’s manual, you should also occasionally clean the battery to make sure there isn’t buildup on the contacts. It is also important to occasionally replace the spark plugs.
The engine air filter and cabin air filter also both need to be replaced regularly. Both should have designated intervals for changing in your owner’s manual, but the engine air filter may have to be changed more frequently if you drive a lot or are otherwise harsh on it.