If you’re like most people, you made New Year’s resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier, and/or to try something new. Those are admirable goals, and we hope you stay on track. But we’d also like to remind you to take care of your car this year. When you keep to a car maintenance schedule, you have more confidence that your vehicle will be there to keep up with your busy routine. Whether you’re taking a day trip into the mountains or driving across country on the Mother Road (Route 66) to see the sights, make a promise to your car to keep up with these car maintenance items:
1. Don’t Put Off the Oil Changes
We’ve all waited too long between oil changes, but it’s not good for your car’s engine. Check with the manufacturer of your vehicle for their recommendations, but newer cars, those under 7 years old, can often go 4,000 to 6,000 miles between oil changes. Changing the oil is like running clean water to mop with. The oil in your car absorbs the contaminants in the engine from internal combustion. Over time, the oil gets dirtier and dirtier, which means your car won’t be as efficient. It’s like mopping with dirty water. Use high-quality oil for best results.
2. Know Your Car’s Maintenance Schedule
You should already be checking your lights, turn signals, and horn at regular intervals. Have your mechanic check the suspension, transmission, heating and cooling, and brakes regularly too. You should also check when to replace spark plugs, brake pads, and antifreeze. Edmonds.com offers an easy way to keep track online. Just enter your car’s year, make, and model to get a car maintenance checklist. While you’re there, check the recall information for your car. Stay on top of maintenance for your vehicle to be at peak performance.
3. Clean Your Car Inside and Out
Every month, do a thorough car cleaning. Washing the vehicle’s exterior often will help in protecting the vehicle’s paint. Also, clean the interior, from the windows to the trunk. Cars that are kept unclean actually attract more dirt and grime. Keep a bag in your car for trash between cleanings to make clean-up easier. Get some aftermarket floor mats and save even more time.
4. Take Care of Your Tires
Incorrect tire pressure can lead to a host of problems, including flat tires, lower gas mileage, poor braking, and instability on the road. A tire gauge will cost you less than $10 and save you a lot of money in the long run. Plan to have your tires rotated every other oil change to make sure the tread wears evenly. You’ll get more life out of your tires, better gas mileage, and know you can stop on a dime should the need arise.
5. Keep Your Maintenance Receipts
Even if you don’t use your car for business purposes, you should keep the receipts for all maintenance you have done. You’ll be able to prove what work has been done for warranty protection. If you decide to sell, you’ll have proof that you took care of the car. Have a place in your files to keep all important documents about your car and toss the receipts into the file. You can also utilize Carfax.com to track your vehicle’s maintenance records from the day it arrived at the dealership and beyond. If your service center does not report services to Carfax, you can enter them in manually. The best part about this service, is that the records will always be associated with your vehicle as it is tracked through your vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
6. Check Your Insurance Once a Year
Auto insurance might be required, but many times people just take out the bare minimum policy. It’s a good idea to review your insurance every year to make sure you have enough coverage without paying for coverage you don’t need. Circumstances change—maybe your teenager went to college, a move could change your insurance. When your car gets older, it often makes sense to stop paying for comprehensive insurance. However, only you can make those decisions. Plan to spend a few minutes with your insurance agent before you renew your policy and have peace of mind that your insurance will cover your financial risks.
Make an appointment for car maintenance at Sun Devil Auto. We offer scheduled maintenance, diagnostics, and repairs for all makes and models. We can help you keep your vehicle running trouble free.