April is National Car Care Month and it is a great time to start prioritizing maintenance and upkeep for your vehicle. Cars that get regular care will last longer and run better, even if they have a lot of miles on the odometer. Plus, they maintain their resale value and offer a better, less stressful driving experience. With proper maintenance, you can make the most of your vehicle and save a lot of money on expensive repairs in the process.
Many people put off vehicle maintenance because they think it means they have to go to the shop and spend a lot of time and money getting things in order. However, there are plenty of things you can do on your own, even if you don’t know the first thing about cars. Taking the time to learn a few basic maintenance checks is a great way to save money and learn more about how your car works. Knowing some easy car care tips will help you keep your vehicle running smoothly for all of April and beyond.
It may not seem important, but keeping your car as clean as possible will protect it in more ways than you might think. This is especially true if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice. Road salt and debris can get stuck in the crevices underneath your vehicle and cause rust and other types of deterioration. Since the weather gets warmer in April, it is a great time to clear all this debris away and give your car a thorough cleaning.
Regularly washing the exterior and interior of your vehicle is one of the simplest but most important car care tips there is. After you wash your car, give it a coat of wax to protect the finish and ensure that dirt and dust can’t penetrate the paint. Don’t forget to clean the wheels and the insides of the wheel wells also. These areas are very susceptible to mud and dirt, which can deteriorate the suspension, steering, and other important mechanical components.
No matter what kind of driving you do, your tires will eventually start to wear out. The tread that grips the road and keeps your car from sliding on wet or icy surfaces will become worn and can potentially pose a danger to you and other drivers. When this happens, the tires need to be replaced but it can be hard to know when that has to happen just by looking at them. Fortunately, one of the oldest car care tips out there can help you know when it is time for new rubber for your vehicle.
You can check the tread depth of your tires using an ordinary penny. Turn a penny upside down with Lincoln’s head facing you and place it in between the treads on your tires. If you are able to see Lincoln’s entire face, this means that your treads are too low to properly grip the road and the tires will need to be replaced. Doing so will prevent accidents from skidding or blowouts as well as inconveniences like flat tires.
Your car’s battery is responsible for many of the most important components of the vehicle, including the starter and ignition system. Over time, your battery will wear down and the terminals can start to corrode. This happens because the sulfuric acid in the battery core releases hydrogen gas, which mixes with the air and creates deposits on the metal terminals. This can decrease the amount of contact on the cables and cause ignition problems and other electrical issues.
Cleaning and inspecting your car battery are two of the easiest car care tips and are also incredibly effective. Take a look at your battery and see if there are any white and green, flaky deposits on the metal terminals. If there are, you can use a teaspoon of baking soda and a wire brush to clean them off. Be sure to disconnect the terminals first to make sure they get completely clean and have a solid connection with the cables. This will ensure that your car is getting optimal power from the battery and that all your lights and electronics will work properly.
The air inside the cabin of your car is incredibly important and needs to be high-quality to keep you safe and healthy. The cabin has its own air filter that catches all the dust and dirt that comes from the road. After about 30,000 miles, this air filter will need to be changed if it is going to effectively clean the air you breathe. Fortunately, this is a simple process and is one of the easiest car care tips to do yourself.
Most of the time, the cabin air filter is located behind the glovebox of your car. You can remove the glovebox by sliding the limiting stop arm off the pin, which will usually be located on the right side. Then, you can pull the glovebox out and replace the air filter behind it. This will keep the air in your car fresh and free from brake dust, exhaust fumes, and other contaminants that are present on the road.
Checking your oil is one of the most important car care tips for keeping your engine in good shape for a long time. Your car will burn oil as it runs and if it gets too low, you could end up with serious issues like seizing and overheating. Checking the oil is a great way to make sure your engine is getting the lubrication it needs and to know when it’s time to take it to the shop for a tune-up. Even if you are getting your oil changed every 5,000 to 7,500 miles as you should, it is a good idea to check the levels frequently.
Your engine has a dipstick that will stand out in the engine compartment with a bright color, usually yellow or orange. Take the dipstick out and wipe it clean using a rag. Then, put it back into the metal tube and pull it out again. The dipstick should have a line on it that says full on one side and low on the other. Depending on where the wet mark from the oil stops, you can see whether your vehicle needs oil or if it is at the proper level.
Taking good care of your vehicle will keep it on the road for many more years and ensure that you don’t get stuck with costly repairs. Knowing some basic car care tips is your first line of defense against major problems and potential breakdowns. National Car Care Month is a great time to learn these easy car care tips and make them a part of your regular driving routine.
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