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Routine Car Maintenance Tips

Updated on June 15, 2011

Video tip to check your oil

If you're looking to save money because you're worried about a potential recession, then consider taking care of your car until you're financially comfortable in purchasing a brand new one. Routine car maintenance can be simple. Below are the top three tips you should know in maintaining your car. Doing so will avoid big headache.

Every 6 months, do the following:

  1. Change engine oil and filter
  2. Rotate tires and check proper tire pressures
  3. Visually inspect the brakes, all belts & hoses, and wiper blades.

If you need reasons why, see below:

  1. Change engine oil and filter. This one is pretty simple. Anyone who owns a car needs to change the engine oil regularly. The engine is the heart of a car. Without proper oil and lubrication, the engine will breakdown faster than anticipated and you may have to spend a lot of money for engine replacement or forced to buy a new car.
  2. Rotate tires and check proper tire pressures. Periodically checking the tires is often overlooked by many car owners, yet it is essential. If anything, do it to save money over the long haul.

    When tires are periodically rotated, they last longer. The wear and tear are evened out in all the tires so that you don't have to replace them as often.

    Also, having proper tire pressures will give more gas mileage. If tires are poorly inflated, the engine works harder to move the car. If tires are over-inflated, the threads will wear out unevenly and you'll have to replace the tire.

  3. Visually inspect the brakes, all belts & hoses, and wiper blades. Again, often overlooked, but you can remind the mechanic to do so when you're getting serviced for the oil change. They do not usually check routinely. So ask.

    Checking the brakes is a no-brainer. Just get it done.

    Checking the belts and hoses can save a lot of headaches. I had a car snap the cam belt while I was driving and the whole engine had to be replaced.

    Checking for worn wiper blades is important not only for safe driving when suddenly caught in the gust of heavy rain, but also to prevent any scratches on the windshield. A worn wiper blade could easily come off in the middle of stroke and the metal part of the wiper will surely scratch your windshield.

Every year, do the above again and then two more below:

  • Inspect air filters
  • Check all fluids, namely, transmission, brakes, wiper, coolant, and power steering fluids.

For a car that is older, say 5 years or more, you can stretch its lifespan some more by performing the following services. These are special services not typically available in local gas stations. But big automotive service providers like Pep Boys have them.

  • Fuel system cleaning. Over time, gum deposits build-up in the fuel system of your car. This service will clean it and should restore some power and performance back. It's kinda like you being congested with a cold and then being cured.
  • Engine flush service. The same principle as above but for the engine. It's good to clean the dirty deposits of sludge inside the engine to keep it running efficiently.
  • Install air conditioner evaporator cleaner. This is more for those who have allergies and environmental sensitivities. This service keeps your AC from emitting allergy causing bacterias, molds, grimes, etc.

The foregoing are simply maintenance tips that are common sensical to help you avoid a major catastrophe when it comes to your car. Here in Southern California, we are highly dependent on our automobiles. Thus, it's pratically an emergency situation if our car breaksdown. With the recession (or maybe depression) coming around the corner, the last thing you'll want is being forced to shell out money for repair or worse, having to buy a new car if you're not ready to afford one. We're not all like Memphis Raines in Gone in 60 Seconds who can boost nice cars, like a '67 Shelby Mustang, when he needs one.


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    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Going to get my oil changed this week! But I am really bad at getting the tires rotated. Thanks for the reminder!

    • profile image

      best car deals 7 years ago

      Maintenance is something most of us ignore, until our vehicle stops functioning, that is. And then we wonder what went wrong, where. Checking the battery, keeping a check on the oils, changing the oils, checking the electrical system, are some of the absolutely unavoidable things to keep your vehicle in good shape. I appreciate this well informed note about car maintenance tips.

    • reagu profile image

      reagu 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Ah...the schedule should be changed depending on driving conditions. What I outlined above should work most of the time.

    • profile image

      funnymanroger 7 years ago from Spartanburg, SC

      You are saying to change oil every 6 months? I've did that for years and my engines went bad after about 4-5 years. I had two of them rebuilt. The mechanic told he the problem was sludge before he every torn it down. I though he was just tell me that. I went by the garage the day he took it apart and it was full of sludge. I did not change my ways and 5 yrs later with another car I had the same problem.

      Also my air filter is clogged up after about 4 months. I actually notice my gas mileage dropping. I change my air filter myself and it goes back up.

      My mechanic use to work for a Nascar team back in the day. He said never flush your engine because it turns loose sludge and it clogs up oil holes and pickup tubes. I also ask my brother in law he work as a engineer he said engine flushes are bad. I been told by them to change oil often with good oil and it should correct itself.

    • profile image

      johndonnerie@UndercoverTruckBedCovers 8 years ago

      The posts here are surely informative. Thank you so much for sharing. Great Work!

    • profile image

      Mark Patton 8 years ago

      Nice Reagu. This is a good list for anyone who isn't so sure how to maintain their cars. I'm always flummoxed by the owner's manual that comes with any of the new cars I get. I'm all about "just give me the basics."

    • reagu profile image

      reagu 8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks. I gave a similar rundown of what to do to my sister a few years back.

    • profile image

      Shannon 8 years ago

      A thorough list of the things one can do to maintain their car. Good hub.

    • profile image

      Omer 8 years ago

      hi. nice info here....

      visit Forum, ul love the info there.