Do oil changes regularly
Nothing can prolong the life of your car better than doing your oil changes on time. Changing oil is something you can do at home. But unless you are a gear head, that actually likes to change the oil, it is really easier to have someone else do it. By the time you pay for oil and filter, tools and oil recycling/disposal fees, it is about the same price as having a professional do the job. If you have an average late model car, the inexpensive chain oil change shops will do. If you have an expensive sports car or German import, it is safer to go to the official dealership or authorized repair shop, even if it costs more money. If well taken care of, a Mercedes for example, can go a million miles. Don’t cut corners.
Don’t ignore the check engine lights
Remember the good old days, when anyone with half a brain could understand and fix a car by themselves? Car computers ruined that. Electronics in cars have gotten so complicated that problems can not even be diagnosed without plugging an expensive gadget in to read the computer. Even if you do fix a problem, often you can not turn off a check engine light without the aid of a gadget. That meaningless warning light that you ignore could become not so meaningless later. When the light comes on, get it looked at or you could face an expensive repair. If you are a gearhead, you can get the testing equipment a lot cheaper lately or you can rent them.
Make a schedule to check your fluids
On a regular basis, check your oil, radiator fluid, transmission fluid, washer fluid and brake fluid. If you don’t know where under your hood to look, check your user manual.
Know what you can do yourself
Get the manual for your car and actually read it. It can be a wealth of information. Whenever you buy a new car, it is also good to get a shop manual or Haines manual for that make and model. It will tell you step-by-step how to do all but the most complicated of repairs.
Shop around for parts and supplies
For auto parts, check with the chain auto stores, like Autozone. They usually have knowledgeable staff who won’t steer you wrong. If you need a specialty tool to do a job, they will even loan one to you. Check for specialty audio equipment at Guitar Center. For classic car parts or hard to find items, check Ebay or Amazon. If you get stuck and can’t find something, put out a wanted request on Craigslist.
Keep your tires properly inflated
This can keep you safe, by ensuring that your tires don’t get in the way of the proper steering and stopping of your car. It can also save you tons of money on gasoline. Be sure that you have enough tread on your tires as well.
Follow these tips and your car will stay in top shape for many years to come.
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