Basic Car Care: Top Tips For General Maintenance

For the most part, the average person is not too good about maintaining their car. Until there is a specific problem, we don’t pay it much mind. But, over time, this neglect can add up to big time problems. Being proactive in the maintenance area can head off expensive repairs and keep your car running good for longer. Here are just a few tips to get you started:

Save Your Money on High Octane Fuel

If you have a run of the mill car whose engine has a low to moderate compression, high octane fuel will not make your car run any better. It won’t do any harm, but it is simply a waste of money. So, go with the standard 87 octane and keep that money to put towards other matters of car care.

Checking Recalls and Technical Service Bulletins

Every so often, news alerting consumers about a particular problem with a particular car comes out. These definitely aren’t the only ones that come out, however. Not all recalls and technical service bulletins make the news. There may be issues with your car and you don’t even know it. By keeping abreast, you can extend the life of your car and care for it properly. You can find this information by checking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site, or getting alerts through newsletters, such as Automotive News.

Depending on the issue, you may need to get a mechanic to fix it, or if you are car-savvy, you can purchase car parts and do it yourself.

Get a Regular Washing and Waxing

You may not think of getting your car washed regularly as part of a general maintenance routine, and that is usually because we think of all the ‘internal’ stuff like oil changes and checking coolant levels. But, you don’t want to forget about the outside, and keeping your car looking as good as possible. Regularly getting your car washed and waxed will keep rust in check, and preserve the paint.

Tending to Your Engine

The core of proper engine care is changing the oil regularly. This usually amounts to every three months or every 3,000 miles. But, there are some instances where more frequent changes are recommended, such as driving regularly in dusty conditions, or in stop-and-go traffic. Towing a trailer also is another consideration. You also want to regularly change the fuel filter, air filter and oil filter.

Tire Care

Tires are frequently neglected, and don’t come on the radar until they become completely unusable. But, they deserve some TLC. First and foremost, you want to make sure they are properly inflated per the suggestions in the owner’s manual. Properly inflated tires make driving safer, and improve fuel efficiency. If you notice uneven wear on your tires, you may have issues with your alignment, and you should have a mechanic check it out. Getting your tires rotated can help distribute wear evenly and extend the life of your tires.