Learn 6 Types of Car Maintenance Your Car Should NOT Go Without
A big part of being a responsible car owner is keeping up with your car’s maintenance needs. If you’re like millions, you might put off these repairs until the very last minute. But your car is an investment; if treated properly, it’ll give you years of solid transportation. Neglect it and it may leave you on the side of the road.
Simply put, car maintenance is essential so it can perform the way it should. There are some tasks that are absolutely critical to your car’s longevity. Failing to do these tasks puts your car at risk of stalling and breaking down, and puts you at risk of getting into an accident.
Vehicle maintenance is a general term and includes a variety of upkeep tasks and repairs. But not all tasks are optional. Here’s a list of 6 important car maintenance tasks your vehicle should never go without.
1. Tire Rotation & Replacement
It’s easy to forget about your car’s tires, but the truth is, they are one of the most important features in keeping you and your passengers safe. Your tires physically connect your car to the road. If they get too worn down, they could blow or slide all over the road.
One of the best ways to prevent excess wear and tear on your tires is to rotate them each time you get an oil change. Rotating your tires helps maintain traction and encourages even wear on the tread.
Eventually, you’ll need to replace your tires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggest replacing them every six years, though it depends on how you drive. One way to check the tire tread is to insert a quarter into one of the tracks of the tires with George Washington’s head facing down. If the top of the head disappears into the tread, it means your tires have some traction left. If not, it may be time to replace your tires.
2. Oil Changes
If you drive a car that is fueled by gasoline, it needs to have its oil changed regularly. Engine oil is responsible for ensuring all engine components are operating smoothly. Over time, the oil becomes dirty; an oil change involves emptying out the dirty oil and filling your engine with clean oil.
In most cases, you’ll need to get an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Depending on your knowledge of cars or access to tools, you might be able to do this yourself. Otherwise, you can get an oil change at most dealerships and auto shops across the country.
3. Replacing Brake Pads
Your brakes are the only thing stopping you – literally. You want to make sure that your brake pads are in good condition so that you can come to a quick stop as needed. Most vehicles have ceramic pads that press against a metal disc each time you stop. Eventually, these pads wear down and need to be replaced. You’ll usually hear a grinding or squealing noise to alert you that it might be time to change them.
A good rule of thumb is to check the thickness of your brake pads each time you get your tires rotated.
4. Replacing Your Wiper Blades
You may not use them every day, but your windshield wiper blades are extremely important. If it starts raining or snowing out of nowhere, you need to be able to see through the windshield. If your wiper blades are old or have never been replaced, they won’t be able to clear a path for you to see where you’re going.
To avoid running into this problem, test your wiper blades every month or so by spraying some wiper fluid and watching them work. If they leave streaks, it may be time to replace them. Most drivers need to replace their wiper blades every year or two, depending on how often they drive and where they live.
5. Checking Your Lights
Having working headlights and taillights isn’t just a good idea – it’s mandatory by law. You can get a pretty hefty ticket for failing to have working lights. It’s something you probably don’t even think about, especially when it comes to your taillights.
Every few months, do a quick walkaround inspection of your car to test the lights. Have a friend or family member hit the brakes so you can test your brake lights. And if your headlights work, make sure they are properly pointed toward the road. Sometimes, they can shift and point downward. Be sure to check your turn signals, too.
6. Checking the Battery
Nobody wants to walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food to a dead battery. You can try to prevent these surprises by regularly checking the battery’s charge. To make it easier on yourself to remember, check the charge each time you change the oil. This will help alert you to a problematic battery.