The last thing you want to happen is to blow your money on never-ending repair shop fees. The good news is you can easily avoid that situation with a regular car maintenance schedule. Regular car maintenance is essential for your car to run at its peak efficiency (especially if it’s gaining in years) and extend its lifespan. We’ve listed all the recommended car check-up tasks once you’ve reached 3,000 miles or every 3 months, as well as the links to JCWhitney.com where you can get the products in cases where replacement parts are needed.
1.Check your oil and air filters
- Air filter – Check the air filter every other month. Replace it when it’s dirty or as part of a tune-up. What will you gain with a new air filter? Your car will increase in power and MPG. Get it here: http://bit.ly/2nr9W6q
- Engine and Oil filter – To maintain peak performance, change oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. Replace oil filter with every oil change. If you need replacement, shop here: http://bit.ly/2mrlVQC
2. Check all fluids
- Antifreeze – Check the antifreeze/coolant level weekly. Some cars have transparent reservoirs with level markings. Use only distilled water with a concentrated coolant, in order to prevent corrosion and mineral blockage. Fill to level marking with 50/50 solution of antifreeze and water. Always make sure to properly bleed the system after replacing coolant, as air bubbles can dramatically reduce cooling system ability. Also, do not remove the pressure cap when the engine is hot. Item available here: http://bit.ly/2mYAOx8
- Brake fluids
- WARNING! If your vehicle has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), consult your owner’s manual before checking your brake fluid. Some ABS systems require you to pump the brake pedal approximately 25 to 30 times before opening and inspecting the fluid reservoir.
- Check brake fluid monthly. First, wipe dirt from the brake master cylinder reservoir lid. Pry off the retainer clip and remove the lid or unscrew the plastic lid, depending on which type your vehicle has. If you need fluid, add the approved type and check for possible leaks throughout the system. Fill to mark on reservoir and do not overfill. If you need more brake fluid, you can get it here: http://bit.ly/2mYAOx8
- Transmission Fluid – Vital to smooth operation and reduced wear of the transmission. Clean transmission fluid can greatly improve shifting feel and precision on automatic transmission cars. Check transmission fluid monthly with engine warm and running, and parking brake on. Shift to drive, then to park. Remove dipstick, wipe dry, insert it and remove it again. Add the approved type fluid, if needed. Again, do not overfill.
- Power Steering fluid – Check power steering fluid level once per month. Simply remove the reservoir dipstick. If the level is down, add fluid and inspect the pump and hoses for leaks.
- Washer Fluid – Keep windshield washer fluid reservoir full. When topping off, use some windshield washer fluid on a rag to clean off the wiper blades. In the winter months, pay attention to the freezing point of the washer fluid.
3. Check tire pressure and rotation
- Keep tires inflated to recommended pressure (it helps to own your own gauge). Check for cuts, bulges, and excessive tread wear. Uneven wear indicates tires are misaligned or out of balance. If you have a less tread, it’s time to think about replacements. Keep a record of tire rotation. Rotate at the first 5,000 miles and every 7,500 miles thereafter.
- Keep a record of tire rotation. Rotate at the first 5,000 miles and every 7,500 miles thereafter. Keeping your tires in full capacity and pressure will help increase your fuel efficiency by a couple percentage points.
4. Check all belts and hoses
- A broken belt or hose can cause problems ranging from the loss of power steering to an overheated engine, but these parts are easily overlooked.
- Inspect belts and hoses every month. Worn, frayed, or glazed belts should be replaced immediately. Tighten when you’re able to depress more than 1/2″ of slack between pulleys. Some vehicles equipped with spring loaded belt tensioners doesn’t need adjustment. Replace bulging, rotten or brittle hoses and tighten clamps. If a hose looks bad or feels too soft or too hard, it should be replaced.
- Belts can be purchased here: http://bit.ly/2mrfigm; hoses here: http://bit.ly/2mMTC1N
5. Lubricate chassis
Affordable lubricant here: http://bit.ly/2mrHIIb
6. Check your batteries
- Use extreme caution when handling a battery since it can produce explosive gasses. Do not smoke, create a spark or light a match near a battery and always wear protective glasses and gloves. Has it checked with every oil change? Cables should be attached securely and be free of corrosion. If the battery has filler holes, add only clear odorless drinking water. In case you need a replacement, get it here: http://bit.ly/2mMJkyI
7. Check your car lights
- Be sure all your lights are clean and working, including brake lights, turn signals, and emergency flashers. Keep spare bulbs and fuses in your vehicle. If you have none, you can always shop here: http://bit.ly/2mIksGP
8. Check your car’s exhaust systems
- The exhaust is a vital part of your engine’s emission system. It helps funnel away gaseous products of the combustion process via a set of pipes that are connected to the top of the cylinder heads.
- Look underneath for loose or broken exhaust clamps and supports. Check for holes in muffler or pipes. Replace rusted or damaged parts. For new exhaust systems, visit: http://bit.ly/2nDWyeA
Remember: Owning a car is an investment, and not properly maintaining it makes it a bad investment.