13 Essential Car Maintenance Tips Every Car Owner Should Know

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The trick to a stress-free car ownership is proper maintenance. Being on top of your car’s preventive maintenance schedule means fewer to nonexistent visits to the mechanic due to car trouble. Here are essential tips to keep your car running smoothly

Make good use of your car’s owner manual

Your car’s user manual should be your go-to reference on maintaining your car. It has all the information about your car, broken down according to topics. In it, you learn comprehensive details about your car. The manual guides you on all aspects of owning the car from driving to maintenance. Keep it close, follow religiously its recommendations on maintenance and consult it every time you want to do something on the car.

Download a digital copy of your car’s user manual here, incase you don’t have one.

Check fluid levels regularly

Regularly inspect the levels of engine oil, coolant, braking fluid, power steering fluid and windshield washer fluid and keep track of any changes. Refer to your car’s manual on how to do that. Low fluids could indicate potential issues with your car which will need to be investigated and addressed early before they become major problems.

Proper tyre maintenance

Observe proper maintenance of your tyres.

  • Keep an eye on your tyres and ensure they are properly inflated according to recommendations.
  • Look out for signs of wear and cracks or objects stuck on your tyres
  • Keep your spare tyre inflated
  • Rotate your tyres regularly so they last longer

Keep the engine clean

Dirt inside your engine bay can clog parts of your engine and damage it. It also makes it difficult to notice leaks. It is therefore important to keep it clean.

Inspect your brakes regularly

Inspect your brakes every time you rotate your tyres, every 6 months or if you notice a difference to how your car brakes.

Inspect your suspension and steering system regularly

Regularly check your suspension and steering system to ensure they are working optimally. Look for signs of wear or damage, such as vibrations and uneven tyre wear so they can be addressed early before they cause major damages.

Go easy in the morning

When starting your car and driving off in the morning, go easy on the accelerator. Give the engine time to warm up by first driving slowly and thereafter accelerating slowly and gradually. This protects your engine by putting less strain on it before its properly warmed up.

Avoid aggressive driving

Aggressive driving is the enemy to the longevity of your engine, transmission and braking components. This is because they are constantly subjected to extreme stress. Drive constantly and smoothly. Avoid fast starts, stops and turns. Here are our tips for defensive driving.

Fuel at reputable stations

Only fuel at petrol stations you trust. Not all stations in the country sell clean fuel. Dirty fuel can clog and damage your engine.

Keep a record of your maintenance and fueling

Record details of everything you do to the car; every maintenance done, every part bought, every litre of fuel topped up etc. Any issue that comes up can quickly be spotted and resolved by reviewing maintenance records. It also comes in handy when selling the car, the buyer can go through the maintenance history to see that the car has been well maintained.

Regularly check your headlights, turn signals, brake and parking lights

Its difficult to notice when one or two lights are not working, especially if they are tail lights. Regularly check to make sure all your lights are working, at least once a month. You save yourself the headache of noticing such when you need them or when a traffic police stops you because of non-working lights.

Don’t overload your car

Carrying heavy loads damages your car’s suspension, tyres, and even transmission. Your car’s body is also at risk of being deformed. If you need to carry heavy loads, consider using a car built specifically for carrying loads; a pickup or a lorry.

Pay attention to strange noises, smells and leaks. Don’t ignore warning lights.

Do not ignore strange noises, smell or leaks coming from your car. They are indicative of an issue(s) which will progressively become worse with time. Warning lights on your dashboard are also there to inform you of the same. Do not ignore them. Clearing them does not fix anything. Investigate and have the issue(s) fixed fast.

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