Have you ever glided to a smooth stop at a red light only to feel your car begin to shake violently? It’s a disconcerting feeling.
Before you panic, there are steps you can take regularly to ensure a smooth journey and avoid the turbulence of an engine in distress.
Wondering what you can do to avoid the stressful situation altogether?
Below are 7 car maintenance tips you should follow to keep your car in excellent driving shape and avoid the dreaded road turbulence.
1. Change Your Oil
Getting regular oil changes for your vehicle is one of the most important items on your list. Maintaining oil changes impacts the life of your engine and will help it continue to run at its best.
Changing your oil is crucial to the overall well-being of your vehicle. Think of it as the engine’s lifeblood. It impacts anything from improving gas mileage and vehicle longevity, to cooling components of the engine itself.
If you’re unable to make it to your dealership or local mechanic, there are plenty of drive-through oil change services available, some taking as little time as 15 minutes.
Taking an extra 15 minutes on your lunch break to get your oil changed is an incredibly efficient and easy way to be sure you’re checking off one of the most important routine car maintenance items on your list.
2. Air Filters
Another basic car maintenance item that can be checked off during an oil change: replacing your air filter.
Makings sure your car’s air filter is clean is not only a quick fix, but it is a crucial one as well.
The air filter is vital to the operation of a car because it not only prolongs the life of the engine but also reduces emissions. Why is this important? Well, not only are reduced emissions good for the environment, but reduced emissions also mean systems within your vehicle are running smoothly.
For example, a clogged air filter can cause a reduction in airflow to the engine. This causes a sort of domino effect of incorrect air-fuel mixture which in turn can cause problems with the car’s spark plugs.
This is important because your car’s spark plugs are crucial for the engine to work properly.
Remember that feeling of being stopped at a red light and wondering in panic ‘why is my car shaking‘?
Well, if spark plugs become fouled, your engine may have a tough time running smoothly causing that dreaded engine shake.
So, be sure to have your air filter checked alongside your oil change to make sure your engine is firing properly.
3. Brake Check
This one seems like a no-brainer as everyone should want to lower their risk of a collision.
Various manufacturers recommend different inspection times for different models. How much you drive and where (think busy roads, heavy traffic) also factors in to how often you need to replace your brakes.
A good rule of thumb would be to get a brake inspection upon tire rotation.
Again, the timing of each varies by manufacturer recommendation. Check your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic for recommended inspection times.
Some mechanics will offer a brake inspection during part of a routine appointment. Oil-change shops tend to offer a free brake inspection as part of their service as well.
Getting your brakes checked regularly means you’re not only keeping yourself safe but you’re keeping in mind the safety of other drivers on the road.
4. Belts and Hoses
The importance of keeping your car’s belts and hoses in tip-top shape will help you avoid serious engine issues in the future.
For example, a leaking or loose hose can cause the engine to overheat because now coolant flow has been disrupted. An overheated engine can mean any number of costly issues and repairs.
Being subjected to a number of conditions like heat and chemicals, the proper upkeep of belts and hoses is crucial.
Keeping up on inspections will save you not only time and money down the road but will also keep your vehicle running smoothly for as long as possible.
5. Check Fluids
Speaking of coolant, keeping your car’s fluids topped up is another important step in your car maintenance schedule.
As we’ve read, everything in your vehicle is interconnected. If a hose is cracked, the flow of coolant gets interrupted and the engine can overheat. It’s a domino effect.
This is true of fluids as well. There are a few that should be checked regularly, of which we’ve already talked about engine oil and coolant.
Power steering, transmission, and brake fluid are equally as important. Have you ever tried steering an automatic car without power steering? It’s not an easy feat to accomplish.
Brake fluid essentially helps boost the pressure of your foot on the brake pedal. Without it, it would take much more than you stepping on the brake to stop your car.
As with brake checks, most mechanics or oil service shops will check and top off fluids for you during a routine inspection. If not, be sure to ask.
6. Lights Out
A quick maintenance item is to check your lights.
Proper working headlights and lamps are there so that other motorists see you on the road. Brake lights, turn signals and hazards are all there to prevent accidents and keep you safe.
Regularly checking that your lights are working will ensure proper “communication” with other drivers on the road.
7. Check Your Battery
Think of your car battery as the heart of a vehicle. A failing battery can cause strain on the inner workings of the car such as the starter or alternator.
It’s less expensive to make sure you have a good, working battery than it would be to have an alternator replaced because your battery was completely drained before proper replacement.
Getting a battery check is an easy item to check off of your car maintenance list. You can drive up to any auto parts store and request a battery check and be on your way in no time.
Don’t Idle On Car Maintenance
The average routine car maintenance cost per year is about $1,000.00. Among other things, that cost depends on what vehicle you drive and how often.
Figuring out and adhering to a car repair and maintenance schedule that works for you will save you time and having to shell out more money in the long run.
Your car’s manual will have information on the appropriate services for your vehicle and the timing for taking care of them.
Be sure to keep up with proper maintenance and checks and you’ll be driving safely on the open road in no time. Happy cruising!