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A Layman’s Guide to Maintaining Your Car

Smartchoice Editorial
September 01, 2018

If you are the one who owns a car without any struggle, your parents are probably the one who were taking care of it. But as it is now your property, with the charms of having your own car comes to you are the efforts to maintain that car and keep it in perfect state. Being a car owner you need to be self-moving to maintain the parts of car that have a direct impact on working of your car.

As you are the only owner of the car, care of the car is solely your responsibility, you need to keep a check of certain things. Taking care of the car is an expensive as well as time taking process. A small investment in maintenance of car today will save you from financial loss tomorrow. Plus, it will save you from any kind of serious problem that you may encounter during your long road trips, alone, at night or in a locality you are not familiar with.

Today, we have enlisted some of the mandatory things that you should be doing to keep your car in perfect and working condition and a tip-top shape.

Cleaning the Windshield:

cleaning windshield

The foremost important thing is that you have to be an active person. Laziness will lead you to no good and leave your car in a miserable condition with lesser days to stay with you. You may generally sit in the car while waiting for your fuel tank to be filled up. Why not do a small drill and clean your windshield while the car tank is filling up?

A dirty and bugged windshield is dangerous and will have a direct impact on the hygiene of your car and thus you. It can also lead you to any dangerous accident as it obscures the view of the driver on the road. For this reason, regular cleaning of the windshield is of great importance. You can simply use a cleaning cloth that you can keep in your car. You may also find it at the gas station.

Start right from the middle of the screen and drag the sponge/mop/cloth to the corners. It will take out all the dirt and dust to the edges from where you can easily remove them from the shield. You can remove the remaining lines of dirt by scrubbing the cleaning cloth/sponge in an upward direction.

Cleaning of the windshield is more important during and after a long drive on the highways. Such journey may also add insects and other litter to your shield. Better would be to keep a small packing of the washing fluid or cleaning polish that is specifically designed for the shield and windows of the car.

Do not forget to remove wipers before cleaning the screen. However, removing the wipers and cleaning your screen on a fuel station would not be a good idea. Keep this activity for later times when you do not have anyone around you waiting for his/her turn.

Checking Tire Pressure:

checking tire pressure

A proper pressure of tire will help you have a safe journey in and out of the city. It will also save you some cash. Inflated or improper tires as well as under or over-inflated tires can have the impact on the grip of the car on the road. It also has an impact on the speed and control of the car while it’s moving.

At the same time, improper conditions of tire increase the chances of a bursting.

Tire pressure is something you need to keep in serious consideration as a tire with proper pressure will live longer and will increase the fuel efficiency. With the changes in tire logs and temperature, the pressure of the tire changes continuously. For this reason, a regular check on the pressure in each tire of your car is a must.

Some car maintenance experts suggest to check for pressure on every gas fill-up and it should be just like the oil check. It can help you find and fill up all deficiencies before they become a major problem.

How to Check Tire Pressure?

Checking the tire pressure does not take much of the time. Here are few simples steps on how you can do the tire checkup.

  • Check the pressure when tires are cold. Cold tires will give you the most accurate reading. It means that you must prefer to check the pressure before you drive. If you have to check the tire pressure on a gas station make sure that your have drove for less than a mile. You can also have easy to use gadget at your home and check the pressure in the morning, before taking your car out of the garage.
  • Do you know what is the tire pressure recommended for your car? You need to find the exact amount of air that is required for a perfect ride in the specific model of car you own. Always fill the tire according to the recommended number that you may find in the user manual of your car.
  • Check the pressure with the accurately working pressure gauge.
  • Fill the tire when and if needed and do not delay or compromise on it.

Checking Oil Level:

checking car oil

Just like the pressure in the tire, the engine oil is of great importance. It has a direct impact on the performance of the car. The major job of oil is to lubricate the moving parts of the engine and avoid any kind of tear and grinding, leading to dysfunctioning. You can say that engine oil is the essential food that keeps it in working condition and refrains it from any damage.

Moreover, it pushes away the heat from the combustion cycle and holds on all the harmful byproducts of combustion to enter into the engine and affect it’s working. If your engine does not have enough oil, it may get wrecked soon.

To make sure that your car engine has enough oil, make a routine to check the engine oil regularly. Once again, checking it during a gas fill-up can be a good idea. Checking the car oil is easy. All that you will need is a paper towel or piece of cloth with a sufficient amount of light and a time frame of 3 minutes.

Changing Oil Every 5k Miles:

changing car oil

Experts recommend an oil change every 5000 miles. Here are some simple steps you can take to change the oil on your own.

Get the required material and tools: It includes new oil filter that is suitable for specific model of your car; oil to refill your engine; oil filter wrench that you may need to unscrew the filter; socket wrench to unscrew the drain plugs; a bucket or something else that can collect the old oil; some extra piece of cloth to clean up the dripped oil.

Warming up the car: You need to warm up the engine as it will ensure that oil is completely drained out of the car. Mildly warming up the engine would also be enough.

Parking car on a horizontal surface: Park the car on an even surface and employ the parking brake/handbrake.

Removing the oil filler cap: You will need the wrench to remove the oil filler cap as it will help to drain the oil faster.

Removing the oil plug: Find the oil plug under the car and take a socket of suitable size or a wrench to unscrew it. Just loosen the oil plug and do not remove it completely. Place a drip pan underneath the oil plug to collect all the oil in the pan.

Allow the oil to drain: one the oil plug is removed, it will take about 2 to 3 minutes to drain the oil completely. Let it happen!

Remove oil filter: It is the toughest task in the entire process. You may have to face some trouble in finding a location of the oil filter in your car. If you can find it easily, all that you will need to do is to unscrew it. before unscrewing make sure that you have filter pan under the filter.

Install new filter: By now you are done with removing all the previously installed material including oil and filter etc. it’s the time to install new. You will need to soak your finger in new oil and affront it on the seal ring of the new filter. Tie the filter along the hole from where the oil filter goes.

Refilling with oil: You can now use a funnel at the neck of the oil filler hole and start filling the new oil into the engine.

Run the car: Once you are done with the process and added new oil, let the engine on for 5 to 7 minutes. It will help the engine to regain oil in all parts of it and you can check if the oil is leaking or not. If yes, you can fix it now.

Changing Air Filters Every 12k Miles:

changing car air filter

It is another important thing and one of the easiest things you can do for your car maintenance on your own. Change the air filters of your car on regular basis and it does have an impact on the fuel efficiency of the car and also have an impact on the life of the engine. Plus it reduces the emissions of harmful gases to the atmosphere, making you a good citizen. As compare to the disposing of old engine oil, you need not have any concern with disposing of any harmful material.

Rotating the Tires:

rotating car tires

It is also important to rotate the positioning of rear and front tires every 5000 to 10000 miles. Periodic rotation of tires helps to equalize the natural patterns and also ensure a safe and smooth ride. Moreover, it extends the life of tires and saves you money by replacing the worn out tires which is surely a costly thing to deal with.

Washing the Car:

washing car

After all the wear and tear management, replacement of expired oil, and rechecking of tire pressure etc. comes the most important element that has a major impact on your car’s health- cleaning.

Every day your car is subjected to salt, grease, sun, smog, tree sap, grime, sea bugs and the worse is acidic compounds in bird poop. All of these elements have a massive impact on the paint and texture of the car. Additionally, if you have a bad habit of eating in the car, you may end up throwing pieces of food and accompanied by mud with your feet, into the car.

All of this lead to a situation where cleaning of your car becomes a must to keep it hygienic in and out. Lack of cleaning may lead to damage to the body that will end up decreasing the resale value of the car.

Keeping Car Interior Clean:

clean car interior

Hanging out with friends and eating in your car on a long road trip is all fine. But but the problem arises when you leave all the trash in your car. Have a habit yourself and ask your friends and companions to leave no litter in the car, use an extra bag to put all the wrappers and papers in it. Take the wrap out while leaving and throw it in the garbage can. This simple trick will help you keep your car neat and clean, and will keep you safe hygienically.

With these simple to adopt habits, you can easily keep a check on the health of your car, in and out, keep it shiny and tidy and will keep it with you for a really long time. making a habit of checking the above said time to time will not only save you a lot of time, keep you away from the hassles on a long journey but will also save you money.

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