Top 5 Maintenance Tips Every Car Owner Should Know

June 1st, 2016

Whether your car is brand new or a few years old, there are several simple yet important things you can do to keep your vehicle safe and in good running order. The following car maintenance checklist is designed to help you get the most out of your car while avoiding major auto repairs for as long as possible.

Tip #1: Always follow the manufacturers guidelines on oil changes.

Every automobile manufacturer provides recommendations on the number of miles between oil changes. Todays rule of thumb is every 5,000 miles, although many vehicles are designed to go longer. Changing the oil in your car regularly will protect the engine and its parts, keep it running smoothly and even make the car a little more fuel efficient. Plus, you may be required to have the oil changed at specific intervals in order to maintain your cars warranty, if applicable.

When the oil is changed, you should replace the oil filter. Also, it is a good idea to check the air filter to make sure it is in good shape.

Tip #2: Check fluid levels in your car regularly.

In addition to oil, your car runs on several other types of fluids, including transmission, power steering, brake and coolant. It is critical to make sure these fluids are replenished as they are used or remain at the level they should be. Otherwise, vehicle components may become severely damaged or unsafe. And, although windshield washer fluid is not as vital, you should keep the reservoir filled, as well.

Different fluids should be checked at different times:

  • Oil and coolant - after the car cools down for about an hour.
  • Transmission fluid - when the car is running and warmed up.
  • Power steering fluid - when the car is cool, although many models have indicators of safe levels when engine is hot and cold.
  • Brake fluid levels should remain constant. If there is a loss in brake fluid due to a leak, your brakes are likely to fail.

While you are checking fluids, take a moment to inspect the belts on your car and make they are not cracked or loose. If you are not sure about how to check fluids and belts, consider taking your car to a mechanic on a regular basis for a tune-up.

Tip #3: Keep your tires properly inflated.

Proper air pressure in your tires is necessary for optimal fuel mileage. It also improves tire-tread wear, traction and vehicle steering, response and stopping.

The right air pressure in your tires depends on the manufacturer. Even tires of the same size may require different amounts of air. Look for the guidelines in your owners manual, on the edge of the drivers door or door frame, inside the glove box door and on the sidewall of the tire. Be sure to check the air pressure in your tires at least once per month.

Tip #4: Keep your tires properly maintained.

Proper tire maintenance goes hand-in-hand with keeping tires properly inflated. For good vehicle performance, you need to:

When tread gets worn, replace your tires. In Ohio, tires that are down to 2/32-inch tread must be replaced immediately, as your chance of hydroplaning in the rain at highway speeds increases significantly.

Tip #5: Make sure other drivers can see you - and that you can see them.

Check your brake lights, headlights and turn signals. Make sure they are all working properly so that you can see and be seen at any time of the day or night. Also, keep windshields clean to prevent glare and replace wiper blades at the first sign of failure.