Performing car maintenance and becoming a car mechanic are two entirely different things. Some people know how to change the oil, rotate the tires, and check the fluids, but that doesn’t make them vehicle mechanics by any stretch of the imagination. If you want to get to know your car better and save a little money in the process, you should learn to perform these five car maintenance items.
1. Learn to check your tire pressure
One of the easiest things you can do for your car is to know the health of your tires. Most gas stations have an air pump you pay for, often including a built-in tire pressure gauge. Using your owner’s manual or the diagram inside of the driver’s door, you can check the tire pressure and know that your tires are properly inflated.
Note: While checking your tire pressure, another car maintenance item you can do quickly is check the tire tread. Use a penny and put it upside down in the tread. If the tread covers the top of Lincoln’s head, you’ve got plenty of tread; if not, it’s time for some new tires.
2. Changing your wiper blades is an easy car maintenance item
If you turn on your wipers and they streak, it’s time to replace the blades. Many experts recommend changing these blades every spring and fall to ensure you have fresh blades all year. Find the right wiper blades at your local auto parts store and follow the instructions on the package. It really is that simple.
3. Stop spending money on oil changes; make it a DIY activity
Checking the tires and changing wiper blades isn’t likely to get you too dirty but performing an oil change can. It’s recommended you change the oil every 5,000 to 7,5000 miles and replace the oil filter at the same time. You need a collection bin and the right oil. If you’re unsure how to perform this car maintenance item, just watch the included video.
Note: You’re already under the hood, take a few minutes to check your air filter, fluids, and belts.
4. Back to tires, its time to rotate them
You should rotate your tires. This activity extends the life of your tires and allows them to wear more evenly. This car maintenance task is as simple as knowing which tire should go where and moving them around. You’ll want to have a good jack, a set of jack stands, and the right tools, but you can save some money and take care of your car when you rotate the tires yourself.
5. Is waxing your car a maintenance item?
Yes, it is. In fact, Bridgestone Tire recommends waxing your car every six months to keep it looking its best. The wax helps to protect the paint and avoid the possibility of your car rusting from road debris chipping away at the paint. This is an easy item for you to handle in your driveway.
How can you learn more about your car?
One of the best ways to learn about the car you drive to understand the regular maintenance needed is to read the owner’s manual. While it might sound boring, I Drive Safely lists it as the first thing you should do before attempting any DIY maintenance activity.
Should everyone attempt basic car maintenance activities?
There’s nothing wrong with understanding your car and being a little more in tune with it. Autoblog.com covers the idea of ending this relationship when you get a little busier, but some people find working on the car, even the easy stuff, soothing and relaxing. Also, some people don’t feel exactly empowered when it comes to cars. In an NPR transcript, we gain advice and tips to help us understand our cars, no matter our experience level.
If you’re a novice and want to learn to perform some of the simple car maintenance required, ask a friend to show you how to do things like changing the oil, checking fluids, and rotating the tires. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn and what you want to attempt once you’ve gotten your hands dirty.
Check out the next article to learn some things you should stop doing to your car right away.