Your car is an important investment. You will need to pay a lot for repairs, maintenance, and loan payments. You should also understand the mechanics of your vehicle and what repair and replacement costs it requires.
It may seem daunting to learn all of these things but it will help you become a confident owner and make timely maintenance decisions. You can also benefit from basic knowledge about cars when it comes time to get insurance or warranties. This will allow you to get the best extended warranty for your car.
You don’t need to know every detail, but the basics are important.
Engine oil replacement is the most frequent type of maintenance for cars. It is important to do it right away as it will help your engine run efficiently. Modern cars come with electronic monitoring that will tell you when your oil needs to be changed. However, if your car is an older model, your dipstick may be required to check the oil.
Most experts recommend replacing your engine oil every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. The interval will vary depending on the car you have, so make sure to check your manual.
Engine oil is available at different prices. A new car will likely use synthetic oil. Although it is more expensive than regular oil, the benefits are well worth it.
Your car has many filters that must be replaced when they become clogged. Filters are used to keep debris from different parts of your car. Your engine fuel filter, for example, will keep dirt out of the fuel tank.
Filters keep dirt and pollutants out of the air, but grime quickly builds up. You need to replace them at a specific time.
- Fuel filter (30,000 miles or 2 years)
- Cabin air filters (15,000 to 25,000 miles or 1 year)
- Engine air filters (15,000 to 45,000 miles)
- Oil filters (5,000 to 6,000 miles to 1 year)
Engine filters require replacement every few years depending on the car and whereabouts. You will need to replace your engine air filters more frequently if you drive in dusty areas.
Every driver knows that the brakes are one of the most critical parts of a car. You should know when to replace brake parts.
Breakdown pads are the most common part of a brake system that needs to be repaired. They are the most worn parts of brake friction and they wear faster. Experts recommend replacing your brake pads and any other parts that are squeaking.
But only call your mechanic if you hear squeaking for longer than a day. The squeaking can sometimes be caused by weather changes like rain, snow, and humidity. Your brakes might squeak during long trips, but they should stop once you get on the road.
If the squeaking sound continues, it is time to replace your brake pads. You will pay more for repairs if you delay. This is because damage to your brake rotors could be permanent.
Most mechanics will recommend changing your brake pads every 10,000 to 20,000 miles.
Headlights and Taillights
Your headlights are what you see at night and in fog. Your taillights, on the other hand, signal your presence to others. These safety features are essential to ensure that you and your passengers are safe.
Remember that most cars don’t have sensors to alert drivers if a light turns off. To ensure your safety and avoid being ticketed, it is important to perform visual checks.
Flashing Check Engine Light
Dashboard notifications let you know what your car is doing. To avoid anxiety when you visit your mechanic, it is important to understand what the lights mean. You should read your manual to learn what each alert means. They differ from one car to the next.
But, in general, the color of your alert signifies the severity of the problem.
- Red – Your car needs immediate repairs. This can also indicate safety concerns such as passenger safety belts.
- Yellow: Your car is in dire need of repairs.
- Green / Yellow – Your engine has started or is operating.
If your engine is displaying a warning, it could indicate that there has been a misfire. You should not ignore the warning alert as it could damage other parts such as your catalytic converter.
Maintaining the right pressure in your tires is crucial for your safety and their longevity. It should be at the recommended pressure.
Tires that are too inflated lose grip on the ground. Underinflating your tires will cause friction to increase, which can lead to increased wear.
Always have a spare tire with you. You should also ensure you have all the tools and knowledge necessary to change your tires. This is a crucial skill that every driver must have.
Your emergency kit can be just as useful as your spare tires. This is something that most experienced car owners will confirm. Also, your kit should be complete.
You should always have a first aid kit, jumper cables and foam tire sealant. Also, a flashlight, three reflective warning lamps, and a blanket.
Car Maintenance and a Good Mechanic
While it may seem costly, regular maintenance is essential to the car’s longevity. It is important to adhere to your manual’s maintenance schedule.
A good mechanic can also be helpful with maintenance. While you may be able to do the basics, it is always a good idea to have someone who is reliable and knowledgeable. Sites like AAA can help you find reliable mechanics in your local area.
It’s also important to know the year, make, and model of your vehicle, as well as its VIN. These details are important when shopping for auto insurance or warranty.
The Bottom Line
Car ownership can be difficult. However, taking the time to understand your vehicle and its workings will help you. You can also save money by learning how to perform basic maintenance tasks on your car. If you don’t have the knowledge to do more complex repairs, a mechanic can help.