Maintaining your car is crucial, both for your own safety and for the safety of those around you. And yet, it can often be confusing, especially for beginners. What do you need to check, and how often do you need to check it? That’s exactly what we’re here to tell you. Read on for our five essential car maintenance tips.
And if you’re reading this article but don’t have a car yet, you can of course buy one at your local dealership, or you could consider importing one. For this, there are some important rules to keep in mind, just like with car maintenance.
Our maintenance tips apply to any kind of car but remember that your car’s owner’s manual will be able to give you specific guidance for your make and model. So, when in doubt, always check the manual!
- Check your tyres
Properly maintaining your tyres can significantly extend their lifespan, saving you money in the process! There are a few things to look out for when checking your tyres.
Firstly, you’ll want to perform regular visual sweeps for any damage. Every couple of weeks, check over all of your tyres and keep an eye out for any nicks or uneven wear.
Secondly, regularly check your tyre pressure. If the pressure is too high or too low, your tyres could wear out much faster. To find out the recommended tyre pressure for your car, check your owner’s manual. Then simply inflate or deflate your tyres accordingly.
And finally, to prevent a blowout, remember to rotate your tyres! This generally needs to be done every 8,000 to 16,000 km.
- Check your oil levels
Engine oil levels are another thing to keep an eye on. It’s best to check the level once a month. Traditionally, this is done with a dipstick, although some newer cars have electronic monitors, which will let you know when you’re running low.
As long as your oil level is between the minimum and maximum values, you’re in the clear. If it’s below the minimum, top it up. But don’t overdo it – too much oil can cause damage too!
You will also need to get regular oil changes. Traditionally, it was recommended to get an oil change every “3,000 miles [5,000 km] or 3 months.” But nowadays, with better and newer cars, this is no longer true. Many cars will go 12,000 or even 15,000 km between oil changes. You will want to check your owner’s manual for exact guidance on how often to change your oil. These days, many vehicles are even equipped with an automatic reminder system, which monitors how far and how hard you’ve driven your vehicle and will let you know when you should change your oil.
- Maintain your cooling system
Your car’s cooling system performs an essential job: preventing your engine from overheating. There are a few things you can do to make sure your cooling system is in good shape.
Firstly, regularly check your coolant level and top it up if you need to.
Secondly, have the entire system cleaned every so often: flushing out dirt prevents the formation of blockages. A good rule of thumb is to do this every five years or every 50,000 km.
- Keep an eye out for rust
Contrary to what you might think, rust isn’t merely a surface-level problem. A little rust on the paint job may not do your car much harm initially, but it can become a major problem if it reaches your car’s frame. It’s therefore best to treat this issue as soon as you notice it. You can also get your car rust proofed. This is generally an expensive service, but if it’s done right, it will last several years.
- Maintain your windshield wipers
Your windshield wipers allow you to see in bad weather conditions – so don’t wait until they’re falling apart to replace them! It’s a good idea to change your wiper blades once or twice a year, as the rubber will start to wear away.
You can also extend the lifespan of your wipers by giving them a regular clean with a damp cloth.
As you can see, car maintenance isn’t so confusing once you know what to look out for. And remember: When in doubt, check the owner’s manual! It contains all the information you need to keep your car in good condition, thus making for a smooth – and above all safe – ride.
You can also get your car serviced regularly, which is especially helpful if you’re not sure how to do something yourself. Just beware that some mechanics might try and upsell you on things you don’t need, so it really helps to go in knowing exactly what you want.
And one final tip: keep a log! Make a note every time you have an oil change or rotate your tyres so that you know when you need to do it next. The owner’s manual generally has some empty pages in the back designed especially for this, but of course, you can use any old notebook as well.
And now you know exactly what to do to keep your car in tip-top condition!