It's easy to take the small things in life for granted. Even though a vehicle is a big investment, it becomes a part of our daily lives, making it seem like an afterthought. You probably don't think much about your car as you drive to and from work, the grocery store, school, and more. You're not alone. Most people don't put much thought into their car, until something happens of course.
Regular maintenance can keep a car running for a very long time. Oil changes and inspections are scheduled for a reason - they help keep your car healthy. Neglecting scheduled maintenance can have long-term effects on your car that you may not be aware of immediately.
There are a few things you can do to keep your car running at its best between regular maintenance, though. Read on to learn some simple, easy car care tips that can help keep you on the road!
1. Check your Tires:
Your tires are one of the most important components of your vehicle, so they need to be kept in good shape. Bald or worn tires can cause serious problems for your safety. When your tire tread is too worn down you have problems coming to a quick stop. Your car also won't handle rain or snow as well, being unable to grip the surface of the road.
Check your tires every few months by using a penny. Place the penny between the grooves of your tire. If you can see Lincoln's head above the tread, your tires are too worn down and should be replaced. Also, don't forget to check your tire pressure regularly, especially in the colder months. For every 10 degrees the outside temperature drops, your tire pressure also drops 10 PSI. Making sure your tires are properly inflated in the winter can help you stay safe on snowy and icy roads.
2. Check your Fluids:
One of the best things you can do between inspections and oil changes is to check your fluids. Checking and topping off your oil, brake fluid, coolant, and windshield wiper fluid keeps your car healthy. It's best to do these things before driving a significant distance and during rainy or cold months where you need your wipers more often.
Your oil levels can be checked by using the dip stick attached to the oil cap. Simply look at where the oil lands on the marked lines. If it's below the recommended line, you can top it off with a little high-grade oil. Also, wipe the dip stick off on to a paper towel so you can see what color it is. Good oil should be amber in color. Anything dark brown, black, or light yellow is cause for concern. If your oil looks off, it's best to take your care for an oil change. Getting a professional's help is always better than taking a gamble.
3. Protect your Paint:
The easiest thing you can do to keep your car looking great is to take care of the paint! The paint doesn't affect the way your car drives, but keeping it in good shape can help maintain the resale value. If you plan on driving your car into the ground, caring for the paint can save you repainting costs. This is as simple as running your car through the car wash every few weeks. You won't even have to get out of the car for an automated wash!
It's a good idea to wash road salt and debris off of your car on a regular basis. This can decrease the chances of your paint chipping and rusting. If you really want to protect your paint, you can wax your car every month or so. Wax creates a barrier between the elements and the paint, adding an extra level of protection.
Checking a few small things can keep your car running at its best, all year round. Buying or leasing a vehicle is a big investment. To protect that investment and get your money's worth, some maintenance is required.