Can you guess how many dollars are spent on delayed auto maintenance in the United States? Auto Care Factbook 2020 estimates it at approximately $25 billion. If you’re among the 100,000 American households that neglect the maintenance of their car, you know that realizing your vehicle needs repairs or upgrades is nothing compared to actually resolving its issues.
Even the most reputable vehicles still require proper upkeep to function. Additionally, essential maintenance contributes to your vehicle’s resale value. Here are some basics of car maintenance that you should know and follow.
Engine oil is one of the most vital fluids in your car. about the frequency of oil changes and the type that should be used. Factory-trained technicians can assess it and the other fluids in your car.
Transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, and power-steering fluid are essential to your vehicle’s performance. The brake fluid should be a clear or light amber color. If you see that it’s cloudy and dark, it’s due for a change. This also indicates that the system probably needs to be flushed. Power-steering and transmission fluids are red, and coolant is a yellowish-green hue.
Hoses and belts
A rubber radiator or heater hose can last for almost four years under your automobile’s hood. An inferior hose can appear normal on the surface, but it may have cracks and leaks in the inner liner.
The belts in your car, such as v-belts, may have areas that are worn. They are typically good for four or five years. If these belts are too tight or too loose, they should be adjusted. The serpentine belt or drive belt gives power to the alternator, power steering, and air conditioning systems. This critical component affects most of the other engine parts and lasts for 50,000 to 80,000 miles.
A leading cause of roadside trouble is the car’s battery. Is your battery fluid at the correct level? Maintenance-free batteries allow you to see the fluid through small windows on the top. With conventional batteries, you need to remove the caps to see inside the six battery cells. The fluid levels should be at an equal amount within each cell. If they are unequal, cracks or leaks may be present in the battery casing.
Battery cables should fit securely to their terminals. A visible white, powdery substance on them indicates corrosion. In this case, the cables must be removed, cleaned, and then reattached. If the corrosion is not addressed by a professional, the delivery of power from the battery to the engine will be affected.
The primary reasons car maintenance is often delayed are cost, lack of convenience, and the idea that putting it off will not drastically harm the vehicle’s performance. However, the latter simply isn’t true. For example, your car’s alignment may be in good condition. But when was the last time the tires were rotated?
Effective tire rotation prevents uneven wear due to wheel position. Again, consult your owner’s manual for the optimal rotation schedule. Generally, you should have a professional mechanic rotate your tires every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. Inadequately balanced tires create disturbing vibrations, but also lead to premature tire replacement and unnecessary expenses.
Stay prepared and keep your car in shape by following these car maintenance basics. Make an appointment with your local mechanic for any maintenance or repairs that may require several hours or an additional visit. And for more information about effective auto maintenance, contact us at Advantage Car & Credit today.