Like the clothes we wear or the food we eat, our cars require regular checks to ensure that they continue to run smoothly. These car inspections don’t just save us money; they also keep our vehicle safe to drive and reduce the risk of an accident or breakdown.
There are a number of routine car checks that you can do on your own in addition to those carried out during auto checkups by qualified technicians. These car maintenance tasks take very little time or effort to perform and can help save you a lot of headaches down the road.
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Oil and Coolant Levels
It’s a good idea to check both the oil and the coolant levels regularly, while the engine is cold, as this can help to prevent potential damage from overheating. You can do this by looking at the dipstick at the oil pan or opening the radiator cap to check the coolant level (note that you should never open a hot radiator cap as you could get scalded). If either of these fluids is low, simply top up with the appropriate type, following the instructions on the bottle.
You should also check the wiper fluid levels regularly and replace your windshield wipers if they are starting to show signs of wear and tear. The same goes for the air filters, which you should change every year.
A regular walk around your car is a great way to spot any issues, such as severe uneven wear that indicates the need for wheel alignment or a tire bulging that could indicate a leak. It’s also a great opportunity to check that your tires are properly inflated. If not, it’s a quick fix that can make your ride much more comfortable and save you on gas costs.
It’s a good idea to have your brake pads replaced when they reach the minimum safe tread depth. This helps to avoid brake failure in an emergency and will also extend the life of your rotors and drums.
Spark plugs have a lifespan that varies between vehicles, but you can expect to need to replace them at least once during your driving career. A quick test at a parts store can help you determine when it’s time to have them replaced.
Your owner’s manual will let you know if your chassis, steering or suspension systems need to be lubricated. You can also perform a simple check on these by examining the components for any squeaks or grinding noises.
If you’re not confident doing these routine car checks, then you should have a professional mechanic carry out the inspections on your behalf. This will help you to avoid major mechanical repairs and save you a lot of money in the long run. After all, it’s better to pay a little bit of money than it is to spend hours in the garage having an expensive repair carried out.