The New Rules for Car Maintenance
- PROPER TIRE PRESSURE/ROTATION: For many of us, we don’t think about our tires unless they are causing us problems. Making sure that tires are inflated to their proper levels (changes in temperature can affect tire pressure for instance) can help preserve the life of a tire and save on gasoline, which is a nice perk we all can enjoy with gas prices so high! In addition, front and rear tires wear at different rates. Rotating your tires per your owner’s manual will also help you get the most out of your gas mileage and tire life.
- CHANGE YOUR WINDSHIELD WIPERS: It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it is much easier to avoid an accident if you can see. Like tires, wipers often get forgotten about until they begin to cause us trouble. Changing your wiper blades regularly can help keep our visibility at its best and lessen the chances of an unfortunate accident.
- TUNE UPS ARE SOMETIMES A THING OF THE PAST: Believe it or not, this is a true statement. Newer, modern automobiles do not require the same tightening and tweaking that the autos of the past required. Of course, this doesn’t apply to older or used vehicles with more wear, but you don’t always have to change parts simply to change parts. You can sometimes wait until you hit big milestones such as 60,000 or 120,000 miles to check the items that do wear out such as your timing belt and spark plug wires.
- HIGHER OCTANE IS NOT NECESSARILY BETTER: In fact, running the fuel octane rating that is suggested for your vehicle is the best way to ensure the best for your vehicle. Putting a 93 octane fuel into a car that runs on 87 doesn’t help anyone other than the fuel companies!
- THE 3,000 MILE OIL CHANGE: Once upon a time, a long time ago, there were automobiles that required oil changes every 3,000 miles. Fortunately for us, and our wallets, advances in synthetic oils and engine construction make that figure outdated. Many automobiles do not require an oil change until 5,000 miles, with some capable of going as many as 15,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual for the suggested oil type and mileage for changes. This could save you plenty in unnecessary maintenance while still preserving the life of your automobile.
- DIRTY AIR FILTERS: This is a big one when it comes to fuel economy! If you have a dirty air filter, you are going to see a difference at the gas pump. There is no set schedule for air filter maintenance, but this one is common sense. If you tend to drive a lot of grimy city streets or on rural dirt roads, your air filter is more likely to collect debris and should be checked more often. If you simply drive to and from work you will probably be fine for quite some time. Use your best judgment here but do not forget about it – a simple dirty air filter can cost a driver big $$$.
- CHECK ENGINE LIGHT: Whenever that light on the dashboard pops on, it can immediately have a driver seeing dollar signs. Before you drive into a ditch in frustration, check your gas cap. Believe it or not, a loose gas cap can cause the check engine light to come on and send you to the garage for no good reason! It may not be your solution but it is always worth a look.