When your car is running well, it's easy to neglect the regular inspections and service that it needs to keep it that way. Cars are complex machines that require regular maintenance, and just as you would go to the doctor for regular physicals, you should take your car to the mechanic for regular check-ups.
Benefits of Regular Servicing
Servicing your vehicle at regular intervals can prevent small problems from turning into big ones down the line. Although preventative maintenance does cost money, in the long term, it will usually save you quite a bit. Cars with good maintenance records also retain more value, and usually sell faster, as they're more desirable to buyers.
Another reason that vehicle maintenance is so important is safety. When you're traveling down the expressway at 70 miles per hour, it's good to know that all of the moving parts that make your car work are operating as intended.
Regular service also helps your car run better, and a car that has been well-maintained will generally be more reliable than one that hasn't. You should always follow your vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule, which is in your car's manual. However, some aspects of car maintenance are universal.
One of the easiest - and most important - parts of regular vehicle care is checking the various fluids in your car. This is something that you can probably do yourself without much trouble. Here are the fluids that you should be checking:
- Engine oil
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Transmission fluid, if your vehicle has a dipstick
In addition to checking and filling these fluids when necessary, make sure you change the oil and oil filter according to the vehicle maintenance schedule in the car's manual. Also, while you're checking fluid levels, keep an eye out for any evidence of leaks, as you'll want to get them fixed sooner than later.
Rotate and Balance Your Tires
Most manufacturers recommend you get your tires rotated and balanced every 5000-6000 miles or approximately every six months. Rotating your tires will help them wear more evenly, and can extend their lifespan.
You should also check your tire pressure frequently, both visually and with a gauge. Check the depth of the tread using the penny trick: Stick a penny with Lincoln's head facing down into the groove of the tire. If you can see Abraham Lincoln's entire head, then the tread is too shallow, and the tires are ready to be replaced.
Don't Neglect Your Brakes
If you notice that your car is taking longer than usual to stop, or if you notice a squeaking sound when the brakes are applied, it might be time to replace your brake pads. If you think this is the case, don't delay - the longer you wait, the higher the chance you will have to replace the rotors as well. Even if they seem to be working well, it's a good idea to have a mechanic inspect the brake pads visually on occasion. As with any service, you should always check your owner's manual first.
Other Recommended Maintenance
In addition to those listed above, you should perform these several services and checks at regular intervals:
- Change your spark plugs, usually around every 30,000 miles.
- Have your battery tested and replaced if necessary.
- Inspect the serpentine and timing belts, and replace them when necessary.
- Replace your windshield wiper blades when they are no longer effective.
Taking your car in for regular maintenance is part of the general upkeep of your vehicle. When it's time to service your vehicle, visit Ceja Quality Tire & Wheel for your servicing needs.