My dad spent his weekends in the driveway with his car. He took hours to wash every nook and cranny, inside and out, before he spent even more time carefully drying it with a super soft cloth. And he didn’t stop there. Dad tested his tire pressure on a regular basis. He even changed his own wiper blades, oil, and air filters.
These days, I usually feel like I don’t have enough time to even put gas in my car. Change my own what? You have got to be kidding me!
Despite my busy-ness, and general lack of ability to preform vehicle maintenance, I still want my car to last for years to come. Buying a new car is a time-consuming pain, not to mention expensive. So I asked a couple of friends that have worked at Jiffy Lube of Indiana for years to tell me what they see as the most important vehicle maintenance tips. Here’s what they had to say.
Don’t Procrastinate on Oil Changes
One of the most essential preventative steps for your car or truck is to change your oil. Oil keeps the moving parts in your engine lubricated and running. It also cleans and cools the engine. Regular changes with quality oil can extend the life of your vehicle and the time between repairs. Apparently, it can even increase your MPG!
Without regular changes, your oil gets too dirty to protect the engine. Your vehicle’s engine parts begin to rub together, eventually wearing out. Neglect your oil and your engine is ultimately going to shut down.
Check for Recalls
Left unrepaired, a tiny recall can often lead to a much bigger problem such as a leak or fire. You don’t even want to know about the problems a significant recall can cause. The good news is that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made it easy to check for a recall. Just go to NHTSA’s website and enter your vehicle’s identification number (VIN). It will pull up any recall from within the past 15 years that pertains to your car.
Keep Your Air Filters Clean
Your engine’s air filter stops dirt, dust, leaves, and other harmful debris from entering the engine. Without clean air, debris enters your engine and rubs against the metal engine parts. This corrosion eventually causes parts to deteriorate and need replacement. It’s less expensive to replace a dirty air filter than to replace parts of your engine, so check, or get your air filter checked!
Keep Good Records of Your Vehicle Maintenance
A good record of services performed is proof that you took good care of your vehicle. These records can get you a higher resale value. They can also be helpful to any professional working on your car, giving an understanding of when and where the last time you had services such as an oil change, brake pad change, and tire rotation performed. In addition, some warranties are void if you can’t provide proof of maintenance. Keeping good records can be as easy as shoving all your receipts into an envelope or taking pictures of each receipt with your phone.
Keep it Clean
Well-maintained cars have higher resale values. When you let that dirt and grime build up, it can get ground into your vehicle parts, causing damage that can’t just be washed or vacuumed away. You especially want to remove any bird droppings as quickly as you can as they are very acidic and will damage your paint job if not removed right away. If you wash your car yourself, be sure to use soap designed for automotive use, not dish soap!
Properly working brakes are a non-negotiable for obvious reasons. Be sure to pay attention to any warning signs such as noise, pulling to one side, vibration, a sharp grabbing, or a loose or hard feeling when pressing on the brakes. When in doubt, bring your vehicle in for a professional brake inspection.
Many experts recommend you replace tires at least every six years, regardless of use. However, based on your driving style and conditions, the time could come sooner. Be aware of any bubbles or bumps in your sidewall as well as any uneven wear on your treads. Check your owner’s manual and talk to a tire professional to learn when your tires need replaced. You should also check your tire pressure more frequently during fluctuating weather since temperature affects air pressure.
Shameless plug for my friends at Jiffy Lube of Indiana: The certified technicians at Jiffy Lube of Indiana are there to help you maintain your vehicle in its best condition. Their award-winning training program includes the industry’s only Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified training system. Whether you choose to maintain your own vehicle or take advantage of an automotive professional’s services, give it the attention it deserves!