As a car buff, you want to do everything you can to keep your vehicle in pristine condition. In addition to making sure the exterior is always clean and waxed and the interior is vacuumed regularly and that you never park it in direct sun in order to protect the paint and interior finishes, you want to stay on top of everything that goes on under the hood as well. From oil changes and transmissions to brake fluid and more, there is a lot to keep tabs on. In order to make the process easier and keep your car in tip-top shape, consider the following tips.
1) Start with the Owner`s Manual
Your owner`s manual is chock full of advice and recommendations that apply to your specific vehicle. Everything from the manufacturer`s recommendation for fuel and oil to what any warning lights mean, the owner`s manual is well worth reading through over a strong cup of coffee. You may find that you have been using premium gas all along when the more affordable (and better for your car) regular fuel is the preferred choice.
2) Be Religious About Oil Changes
If you had to choose one step to keep your engine in tip-top shape, this is it. While regular oil and filter changes are the best way to keep an engine humming along, the reverse is also true. Ignore this important maintenance tip, and your engine will definitely start to suffer. If you know how to perform this task, by all means do so, or take your car to your fave mechanic.
3) Check Your Tire Pressure and Rotate Them Regularly
While tires are obviously not found under the hood, they are definitely a key component to keeping a car in excellent condition. Under-inflated tires will not only wear out faster than those that are inflated properly, they will also cause poor gas mileage. You also don`t want to over-inflate tires; this can lead to a risk of a blowout, which you definitely do not want to experience. Check your tire pressure on all four tires at least once a month — you can use a handheld digital gauge that you can pick up in any auto parts store. In addition, make sure you are following the suggested schedule for tire rotation; this is another place where your owner`s manual is a good source of info. This will help the tires to wear evenly and last longer.
4) Consider a Car Service Contract
To help alleviate the on-going costs of car maintenance, as well as make car care as easy as possible, purchase a car service contract through a reputable company. Opt for something that covers most vehicles, no matter how many miles you have driven. Investing in a car service contract will not only help you to save some serious money on repairs and maintenance, it will also assist you in staying on top of these important tasks — in turn, your car will remain in outstanding shape for as long as possible.
5) Flush the Cooling System
Another effective way to keep your car`s inner workings in excellent condition is by flushing the cooling system and replacing the coolant — this should be done once a year. To make it easy to remember, schedule this job on the same say as another annual milestone, like an anniversary or birthday. In general, using half distilled water and half coolant is the best way to keep the cooling system in pristine shape and discourage deposits from accumulating.
6) Don`t Forget the Timing Belt
Check your owner`s manual to see how often you should replace your timing belt. In most cases, you can expect to replace it every 60,000 miles, give or take. By being proactive and changing the belt — even before it is showing signs of trouble — you can prevent having the timing belt conking out while you are speeding down the freeway. If this happens, you will usually have to replace the broken belt as well as whatever else it damaged when it failed.
Follow These Tips — Your Car Will Thank You
Keeping your car in pristine condition requires a proactive approach to many maintenance issues, as well as staying on top of what your manufacturer suggests. To prevent huge issues that will break the bank and possibly damage your car, invest in a car service contract, learn what your specific make and model requires and be vigilant about regular tune ups and repairs. In return, you will enjoy owning a beautiful and safe vehicle for years to come.