5 Basic Car Maintenance Tips to Make Your Vehicle Last

Car maintenance can be a complete chore — especially if you make a genuine effort to stay on top of it all. From mechanical to cosmetic, maintaining a vehicle can take more effort than some people realize, and it’s easy to fall behind. Some maintenance can be a few quick and simple checks to make sure your vehicle is running in the best condition possible, while other tasks can take a bit of time out of your day. According to Allstate, these basic car maintenance tasks will save you money in the long run because they will keep your vehicle running and safe for as long as possible.

Oil changes are an essential part of vehicle maintenance
A man changing the oil on a vehicle | Jeffrey Greenberg, Universal Images Group, Getty Images

1.) Check your tires

Checking your tires is one of the easiest tasks on the list, but it’s often the easiest to skip over. Making sure your tires are in good condition doesn’t just mean using the quarter trick to check your tread, it also means making sure each tire has the correct amount of air pressure. Having too little or too much air pressure in any tire can be a safety hazard, and it also often reduces your fuel economy.

2.) Get regular oil changes

Oil changes can be annoying, and sometimes they can seem expensive, but they are one of the most crucial forms of regular maintenance that owners must to do keep their cars running. While there are some general rules of thumb on how often you should get your oil changes, it’s always smart to check the owner’s manual for each car to ensure you are sticking on the correct maintenance schedule. Bonus points: the owner’s manual will also give you details on any other regular maintenance your specific vehicle needs, and at what intervals.

3.) Replace your windshield wipers

Windshield wiper maintenance is crucial to being able to drive safely in the rain
Behind a windshield wiper | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand, picture alliance, Getty Images

Growing up it seems I needed brand new windshield wipers every rainy season — and that’s because I did. Having good windshield wipers will ensure that you can see clearly during a rain or snowstorm, and this is important for your safety as well as others.

4.) Make sure all of your lights are working

This doesn’t need to be done very often, but it isn’t a bad idea to make sure your headlights, taillights, and brake lights are working properly. While some lights are more obvious, like your turning signals that will blink more rapidly when they have begun to dim or have gone out completely, others need to be checked. In case of emergency, making sure all of your lights work ensures that your hazards will be noticeable to other drivers, and it will keep you safe whether you’re driving or pulled off on the side of the road.

5.) Wash and wax (or seal) your car

Washing the outside of your car doesn’t just make it look nice, it can also prevent dirt and debris from scratching and permanently damaging the paint. Be careful though, because improper washing technique can actually damage your vehicle’s paint more than not washing it at all. Waxing your vehicle is also important after washing, and while it doesn’t have to be done every single time you wash your vehicle, it is still important that it is done several times a year. Wax reduces the effects of harmful UV rays on the clear coat, which is was causes paint to become dull and fail with time.

While this isn’t necessarily something that you have to do to keep your car running, it is a good idea to keep up with a regular washing schedule so that you continue enjoying you car, and know that you’ve maintain as much of the value as possible when it comes to the cars condition when it comes time to sell it.

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