Owning and operating a vehicle, while necessary for most, can be a drain on your budget. Being conscientious about preventative maintenance tasks can help keep your car running reliably, and save lots of money.
For many people, their vehicle’s owner’s manual is simply something that takes up space in the glove compartment. You would be wise, however, to make good use of it. The owner’s manual contains an outlined maintenance schedule for your vehicle, where things are located in your vehicle, and even where to place the jack on your vehicle when replacing a tire. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, and replace things like filters and spark plugs, as recommended by the manufacturer, remembering that doing so before the recommended interval can often be just as harmful as waiting too long.
Check Your Tires
Pay rapt attention to your tires, if you do not want to pay a high price in the long run. Be sure that they are always properly inflated. Tires with too little air, or too much, can result in excessive wear and may cause a tire blow out. Other than being expensive, a blow out can also cause you to have an accident. An easy way to stay on top of this task is to check your tires’ air pressure each time you put fuel in your gas tank. Use the tire pressure recommendations of the vehicle manufacturer, not the tire manufacturer. This should be listed in the vehicle’s service manual and on the doorjamb.
Check Your Fluids
Fluids are an essential key in keeping your car away from the auto repair shop. The following fluids should be checked on a monthly basis, or even more often. Remember that there are recommended minimum and maximum levels for your fluids, and it is just as bad to have too much as too little.
• Brake Fluid
• Radiator Coolant
• Windshield Wiper Fluid
• Transmission Fluid
The vehicle’s owner’s manual can assist you with instructions on where the fluids are located in your vehicle, as well as how to check them.
Try Synthetic Oil
Switching your vehicle’s oil from mineral-based to synthetic can help improve your vehicle’s durability. The primary purpose of synthetic oils is to reduce engine wear during extreme temperatures. The price of synthetic oil is usually double the price of mineral-based oil, but tries not to let that deter you. The make-up of synthetic oils allows the vehicle to go longer in between oil changes, so it important to factor this into your cost consideration.
Get your vehicle checked out immediately, if your car needs a small repair, if a service or warning light comes on, or if the car is making an unfamiliar noise. What may be a small, inexpensive problem now could quickly turn into something requiring a costly repair, or even causing damage beyond repair. It is rarely worth it to wait. Ask your friends and family for their recommendations, and shop around for a repair shop that is quick, reasonably priced, and honest. Do not pay for any repairs which were not discussed with you ahead of time. Protect yourself and your rights, as a consumer. This simple practice may save you a significant amount of money, as well.
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