Happy April Fools Day and, most importantly, Happy National Car Care Month. You may think of your car as a means to an end. If you’re like many of us, you might consider it an expression of your identity, or maybe even a member of the family. In fact, a Toco Warranty study found that 60 percent of US drivers consider their cars to be a full-fledged part of the family. Regardless of how you view your relationship with your car, it’s crucial to give your vehicle the TLC it needs and deserves to go the extra mile. Your day-to-day actions can have a major impact on the longevity of your car and, ultimately, your wallet too. Following the right car care guidelines can save you from a giant headache and/or auto repair bill further down the road.
Follow these tips and tricks to help extend the life of your vehicle:
Know What to Check and When to Check It
How well do you REALLY know your car? You don’t have to be a mindreader – all of your car’s deepest darkest secrets are in the vehicle owner’s manual. Think of it as your car’s diary. Pay special attention to the back of the book, which will point out important maintenance information. If you prefer a digital version of your maintenance schedule, find it here.
As a general rule-of-thumb, you will want to check your tire inflation, tire condition, windshield washer fluid, engine oil level and dashboard indicator lights the most frequently. At certain mileage intervals, you’ll want to have a trusted mechanic take a look at your belts, engine air filters, power steering fluid, automatic transmission fluid, battery and cables, exhaust, hoses and lights. Your owner’s manual will have all the answers on proper and proactive car maintenance intervals to keep your vehicle at its peak condition for as long as possible.
Tires Are Expensive, Make Them Last
Check tire pressure levels regularly to get more miles out of each tire. You may have a sticker on the inside of the driver-side door that lists tire pressure readings for front and rear tires in both normal and cold conditions. If you are unable to find this sticker, check your vehicle owner’s manual. Remember to follow manufacturer guidelines for tire rotation and wheel alignment as well. Openbay’s Founder and CEO, Rob Infantino, is pretty passionate about tires – find his tire tips here.
Say No to Sludge
Do you spend way too much time in stop-and-go-traffic? Are you taking short trips, or long trips towing a heavy load/trailer? Then sludge, a gooey petroleum byproduct that builds up in the engine, is the enemy. When engine temperatures rise above 200 degrees on longer trips or the engine doesn’t reach its proper operating temperature on shorter trips, oil can gel or solidify. To lower your chances of a sludge buildup and engine damage, follow manufacturer recommended oil and filter change intervals.
Seriously, Don’t Ignore That Oil Change
Oil helps lubricate your engine and disperses heat, so checking and changing it is one of the simplest ways to keep your vehicle healthy. Learn how to check your engine oil level here. A good rule of thumb is to check your oil once a month (depending on mileage driven), but your vehicle owner’s manual has details specific to your car and what type of oil is appropriate for your engine. Schedule your oil change here.
#NoFilter Doesn’t Apply to Your Car
Avoid performance issues by checking engine oil and air filters. These filters are in charge of blocking out the sediments and debris from entering your engine and keeping dust and allergens out of your cabin air. A dirty air filter can also reduce miles per gallon and contribute to higher engine emissions. Your mechanic will check air and oil filters during routine oil changes – one more reason to never skip it.
Sun, snow, salt, wind, sand are all a threat to the longevity of your vehicle. Whenever possible, park your car in a garage to protect it from all the elements. No garage? No problem. Park in the shade on sunny days and wash your car in winter months to avoid salt and sand buildup on the paint and undercarriage.
Lighten the load on your ignition switch and keep your keychain weight to a minimum. Take a minimalist approach to your lead foot and hard braking habits too. Take your time and enjoy the ride. Your car will appreciate it.
Giving your car the proper care can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be. Openbay makes finding, booking and paying for car repair and maintenance simple, transparent and hassle-free. Start showing your car some love today at www.openbay.com.