For many of us, car maintenance is one of those chores we have to deal with when something breaks or the oil mileage rolls around. Of course, cars these days are making it easier with their notifications on the dashboard. My own is currently screaming in yellow every time I start it that I need my tires rotated.
*This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are my own.*
Car maintenance shouldn’t be a hassle, but not knowing what to do and when makes creates chaos. Things seemingly break down or fall apart at times, but often it’s due to a lack of maintenance. The owner manual in your car will tell you at what points you need to do pretty much everything.
One thing my Momma was set on my learning before I could drive a car was to check the fluids myself. She taught me to check the oil (engine off, always), the transmission fluid (engine running) and wiper fluids. Having a sense of what the fluids are supposed to look like will help you keep an eye on the health of your engine.
Oil changing is common enough that they give us stickers to remind us when we need to change it again. So, I’m not going to address it but I did feel it was worth mentioning. Get regular oil changes, use good oil.
Cabin Air Filter
Did ya know you had one? I had no stinking clue, til I got one (the STINKING clue, that is). A terrible odor began forming in my car and I couldn’t figure out where it came from. My mechanic asked if I’d check the cabin air filter. Uh, my what? It’s like an AC filter but for your car. It’s super easy to change but it does need to be replaced from time to time. This one is certainly a DIY, once you see it done you’ll get why. It’s just like replacing the one in the house!
Engine Air Filters, Battery & Spark Plugs
The manual will let you know when you need to change those as well. However, if you (or your mechanic) notice any ware it may be time to change them sooner than the manual suggests. You can get a good idea of whether or not it needs taken care of by taking a good look at it. If there’s a lot of ware on the belt, then it’s probably about time.
On the spark plugs, look for gunky oil type build up. When your car has NOT been running for a significant period of time, run your finger along it. The only thing you need to watch for on the batter is buildup on the contacts (the part where we hook the jumper cables to). I don’t recommend touching it (and claim no responsibility if you decide to do so), but they have contact cleaner at part stores or you can pour a good coke on it and wipe it down pretty well.
New tires are super expensive and I think most of us dread that expenditure. To help minimize how often we actually need new tires, make sure you get regular alignments and have them re-balanced. I know, I sound like a hypocrite due to my confession above, I’ve got it on the schedule, don’t worry. Regularly having these done will help ensure that the tires ware evenly, pulls less and last much longer than they would otherwise.
Keeping a record of your vehicle maintenance and repairs will help you remember when the last time something was done as well as keep you from paying for the same part (or repair) twice. Had that happen to me by someone I use to consider a friend. Previously, I had an ongoing sheet online but I found that frequently it was forgotten so we’ve moved on. Now, in addition to keeping my receipts, I keep a log in my vehicles maintenance book of everything I have done and when. The tangible paper makes it easier for me to remember.
These days, companies like Repair Smith are making those things easier as well. They are offering warranties and online scheduling along with text and phone reminders to help us stay on top of our vehicle maintenance. I love that it’s becoming more tangible to take care of our cars, even if we aren’t particularly car savvy. That particular site even has a blog that teaches how to do the basic stuff so that we can have a sense of what to do and how to do it.
If you’ve got dings and such, we tried out a product called ChipEx that did a fantastic job of eliminating some small areas of chipped paint. It’s super easy, I did it so you definitely can! You can read all about that on our post: 5 Easy Ways to avoid Dings on Your Car, a Quick & Easy Fix.
I’m all about empowerment, check out more of our home maintenance and finance DIY.
How are you staying on top of your car maintenance?
We’re all here to learn and many of us are willing to share our knowledge to help others (that’s why I do it). So I’d love to hear what you do to keep up with car maintenance? We’ve talked a lot about home maintenance, it’s time to step out in the garage!
If your car just doesn’t run and you are ready to get rid of it, there are places that buy places that buy cars that aren’t running. Just check around to find the best bang for your buck! We’ve got a whole post on buying used cars that may be of interest to you as well.
Please leave your tricks, thoughts and helpful tips on car maintenance and keeping track in the comments below.