Get in the habit of conducting regular vehicle maintenance and you’ll avoid potentially costly breakdowns as well as extend the life of your car. You can handle basic routine vehicle maintenance yourself, by following a regular schedule as outlined in your owner’s manual.
If you were about to get on a plane and fly across the Pacific, you’d want to believe the plane had been receiving scheduled maintenance checks, wouldn’t you?
And if you were preparing to jump on a roller coaster ride, you would hope that someone had checked for loose bolts, electrical integrity and worn bits of track sometime during the last 5 years, wouldn’t you?
It’s the same with your body – you know it needs regular maintenance. If you’re smart, you eat decent food, get the sleep you need to function, hit the gym now and then and visit the doctor if something isn’t working right. It’s just common sense.
But what about your car?
1. Acquaint yourself with your owner’s manual
Every vehicle has an owner’s manual, a thick book typically squirreled away in the glove box or another storage compartment. If you can’t find your copy, an electronic version could reside online. Otherwise, contact your dealer for a copy.
With manual in hand, head to the maintenance schedule section. Take note of the intervals for such maintenance items as the engine oil and filter, tire rotation, belts and hoses, and so on.
3. Check your tires monthly
The only thing separating your car from the road is its tires. They need to be properly inflated to do their job, as well as to lessen the chance of a blowout.
You probably know how to add air to your tires. What you may not know is the correct tire pressure. You’ll find that information on a placard located on the driver’s door jamb or in the owner’s manual. Inflate tires when they are cold (driven less than one mile) to get an accurate reading, otherwise add 4 PSI to the recommended amount. Check your spare tire while you’re at it and confirm all pressures with a tire gauge once the tires have rested.