If you own a car, it’s important to know how to take care of it. Regular maintenance can help extend the life of your vehicle and prevent costly repairs down the line.
While some car maintenance tasks require the help of a professional, there are several tasks that every driver should know how to do themselves. In this article, we’ll go over 10 essential car maintenance tasks that every driver should know how to do.
Check and Maintain Tyre Pressure
Maintaining proper tyre pressure is essential for safe and efficient driving. Not only does it help prevent blowouts and flats, but it also improves fuel efficiency and can extend the life of your tyres. To check your tyre pressure, you’ll need a tyre pressure gauge. Simply remove the valve cap on your tyre, attach the gauge to the valve stem, and read the pressure on the gauge. Consult your owner’s manual or the sticker on the driver’s side door jamb to determine the correct pressure for your tyres. If the pressure is too low, add air until it reaches the recommended pressure. If it’s too high, release air until it reaches the recommended pressure.
Change Engine Oil and Oil Filter
Changing your engine oil and oil filter regularly is essential for keeping your engine running smoothly. Your owner’s manual will provide guidelines on how often you should change your oil and filter, but as a general rule, it’s recommended that you change your oil every 8,000 to 10,000 miles.
To change your oil, you’ll need an oil filter wrench, a drain pan, and a funnel. Simply remove the drain plug and let the oil drain into the pan. Then, remove the old oil filter and replace it with a new one. Finally, refill the engine with the recommended amount of new oil.
Replace Air Filter
The air filter helps prevent dirt and debris from entering your engine, which can cause damage over time. It’s recommended that you replace your air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, or more often if you frequently drive on dirt roads. To replace your air filter, locate the air filter housing, which is usually located near the engine. Remove the cover and old filter, and replace it with a new one. Be sure to secure the cover back in place.
Inspect and Replace Brake Pads
Your brakes are one of the most important safety features on your car, so it’s essential to keep them in good working condition. You should inspect your brake pads at least once a year, or more often if you hear squeaking or grinding noises when you apply the brakes. To inspect your brake pads, look through the wheel spokes and check the thickness of the pads. If they’re less than a quarter inch thick, it’s time to replace them. To replace your brake pads, you’ll need a socket wrench and a C-clamp. Remove the caliper and old pads, and replace them with new ones. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Check and Replace Windscreen Wipers
Your windscreen wipers are essential for safe driving in inclement weather. It’s recommended that you replace your wiper blades every 6 to 12 months, or more often if they’re not clearing the windscreen effectively. To replace your wiper blades, simply lift the arm away from the windscreen and press the release tab to remove the old blade. Then, attach the new blade according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Check Battery and Electrical System
Your car’s battery and electrical system are responsible for starting your engine, powering your lights and accessories, and charging your battery. To keep your battery and electrical system in good working condition, you should check them regularly. You can do this by using a multimeter to test the battery voltage and checking the battery terminals for signs of corrosion. If the battery voltage is low or there’s corrosion on the terminals, you may need to replace the battery or have the electrical system checked by a professional.
Check and Maintain Coolant Level
Your car’s engine produces a lot of heat, so it’s important to keep it cool to prevent overheating and damage to your engine. The coolant system is responsible for regulating your engine’s temperature. To check and maintain your coolant level, locate the coolant reservoir under the bonnet and check the level. If the level is low, add the recommended coolant until it reaches the fill line. Be sure to use the correct type of coolant for your car.
Check and Replace Spark Plugs
Spark plugs are responsible for igniting the fuel in your engine’s cylinders, so they’re essential for keeping your engine running smoothly. Over time, spark plugs can become fouled or worn out, which can cause misfires and reduced performance. To check and replace your spark plugs, you’ll need a socket wrench and a spark plug socket. Remove the old spark plugs and replace them with new ones according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Check and Adjust Headlights
Properly functioning headlights are essential for safe driving, especially at night or in inclement weather.
To check and adjust your headlights, park your car on level ground facing a wall or garage door. Turn on your headlights and mark the centre of each beam on the wall with masking tape. Then, adjust the beams so that they’re level and pointing straight ahead. If your headlights are not functioning properly, you may need to replace the bulbs or have the electrical system checked by a professional.
Clean and Maintain Interior and Exterior
Keeping your car clean and well-maintained not only looks good, but it can also help prevent damage and extend the life of your vehicle. To clean the interior, vacuum the carpets and seats, wipe down the dashboard and door panels with a damp cloth, and clean the windows with a window cleaner. To clean the exterior, wash your car with a car wash solution, rinse it off with a hose, and dry it with a soft towel or chamois. You can also apply wax or polish to protect the paint and give it a shiny finish.
In conclusion, taking care of your car is essential for safe and efficient driving, and regular maintenance can help prevent costly repairs down the line. By knowing these 10 essential car maintenance tasks, you’ll be able to keep your car in top shape and extend its life for years to come. If you’re not comfortable performing these tasks yourself, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional mechanic.