Basic Essentials That Protect Your Vehicle
Not everyone can be mechanics. You don’t need to be a mechanic however, to ensure that your vehicle receives the essential auto maintenance it needs every year. Today, we’re going to discuss what maintenance is, why your car needs it, and how you can extend the life of your vehicle. Let’s get started!
What Car Maintenance Means
The term car maintenance refers to essential upkeep needed to keep your car healthy. It’s different than auto repair, which usually involves replacing parts. Most of the key tasks in your auto maintenance checklist can be completed by a savvy car owner. Unfortunately, too many drivers aren’t familiar with the basic tasks required to maintain optimum car performance.
Maintenance vs Repairs
Car Maintenance vs Repairs
Most car maintenance tasks revolve around fluid balances and low-level parts that require the occasional replacement. Repairs are tasks involving more heavily integrated parts inside your vehicle, such as replacing pistons in the engine. As you can imagine, engine repair is not something that the typical driver should even think about performing on their own without extensive training and the right tools.
How Do I Know When My Car Needs a Tuneup?
The more time you spend with a particular vehicle, the more you start to notice small inconsistencies in its behavior. Look for unusually inefficiencies and smells as you drive. There are many potential signs that your car requires maintenance, though they are often subtle when compared to those generated by part failures. Keep your eyes, ears, and nose open for these common symptoms.
When Maintenance is Needed vs Repairs
- Maintenance: Your brakes take longer to slow the vehicle.
- Maintenance: Your brakes make noises when you press the pedal.
- Maintenance: Your miles per gallon average is starting to drop.
- Maintenance: Your engine is heating up more than usual (no leaks).
- Maintenance: Your oil dipstick is coming up dark and mucky.
- Maintenance: The windshield wiper fluid has run out.
- Repairs: You regularly smell burning oil.
- Repairs: You notice signs of leaks around the vehicle.
- Repairs: The vehicle heavily resists gear changes.
- Repairs: The engine cuts out briefly as you drive or refuses to start.
How Often Should You Maintain Your Car?
One of the best parts about auto maintenance is that you don’t have to guess when to perform it. Your vehicle owner’s manual comes with a maintenance schedule that describes how often to replace fluids and perform other key tasks. These are often listed out in variable timetables based on how often you commute in your vehicle. Activities are generally listed out by both mile count and time metrics based on which comes first (just like your oil replacement sticker).
Of course, some tasks you may have to keep track of on your own with routine maintenance. You will also want to perform checkups at certain times of the year.
When should you do routine maintenance on a car? When…
- You’re preparing for a long road trip.
- You’re getting ready to start a new job.
- Winter weather is coming.
- You’re getting ready for an upcoming date.
Your Auto Maintenance Checklist
Now that we’ve established when and why you need to perform regular checkups, let’s talk about what car maintenance is necessary to keep your vehicle operating smoothly. Most of these activities can be performed by a professional, but you can also save money by taking on some of the work yourself.
What Auto Maintenance Can I Do Myself?
Let’s start with the easiest tasks. Your windshield wipers are designed to snap into place without much difficulty. If you buy your own blades from your local store, you can change them out in less than five minutes. Just consult your owner’s manual about what type fits your car. Follow the same process for your air filter too!
If you know how to handle a car jack, other DIY opportunities open up. These include oil and oil filter changes, radiator flushing and fluid replacement, and brake pad replacement. With patience, attention to detail, and the right equipment, you can perform these tasks safely.
Maintenance for Pros
What are the Important Car Maintenance Tasks?
All maintenance tasks could be considered essential, but some have to be done consistently to avoid disastrous car damage. The most important car maintenance tasks would probably be fluid changes and refills. Have you ever seen a video of a car attempting to drive without oil? Minus oil, an engine will destroy itself within minutes. Low coolant levels can have similar effects.
Need Professional Auto Care?
If your vehicle requires prompt maintenance but you aren’t comfortable performing the tasks yourself, that’s okay! Our team at Spartan Auto Care would be more than happy to service your vehicle. To arrange your auto maintenance in Springfield and West Springfield, MA, call our local team at __PHONE__.