1. Clean the inside and outside of your car every month. Seriously.
Why It’s Important: Keeping your car clean is like keeping your room clean, except everyone can see your car and gauge how dirty (or clean) you are.
The Cost Of Not Doing It: An unclean car will eventually attract dirt and grime that can damage your interior and exterior, and probably won’t earn you any extra props from that person you like.
2. Change your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles and use a reliable brand.
Why It’s Important: Every car maker has different things to say when it comes to oil, but most experts agree that it’s good to change it out regularly. If you’re confused on what to use, most cars work well with synthetic oil, and it’s usually easier to get your oil replaced at a shop versus doing it yourself.
The Cost Of Not Doing It: Your car needs oil to lubricate your engine and stop detergents, so make sure you follow these steps to check your oil every other month or so. If your car doesn’t have fresh oil, dirt will build up and eventually kill your engine, which will cost thousands of dollars and your happiness.
3. Check your tire pressure every month and rotate your tires every 7,500 miles.
Why It’s Important: Incorrect tire pressure can lead to a ton of problems, including poor breaking, instability, less gas mileage, and of course, a flat tire, so check your tire pressure with a gauge. Also, rotate your tires often to make sure that they wear evenly, making sure you get the most before replacing them.
The Cost Of Not Doing It: Replacing your tires will cost anywhere from $500 to $1000, while a tire pressure gauge and rotation cost about $10 and $50, respectively. If your tires need to be rotated, simply take them into a dealer or auto body shop.
4. Get your brake pads replaced every 25,000 miles or sooner if your brakes are wearing down.
Why It’s Important: It’s always a good idea to have your brakes checked out every so often by a professional, as a nasty grinding noise can bring an unpleasant worry.
The Cost Of Not Doing It: Neglecting your brake pads will eventually lead to your brake rotors failing, leading to a $300 to $600 replacement and at worst, an emergency you don’t want to deal with.
5. If you’re not going to drive your car for a while, make sure it’s properly stored.
Why It’s Important: If you’re going to be away for a bit, make sure your car is covered, clean, topped off with gas, and started every so often to keep the battery fresh. If no one’s around to drive or start your car, you can buy a battery tender which stops a discharge.
6. Change your air filter every 30,000 miles or every year.
Why It’s Important: Think of your auto’s air filter like your lungs: It’s important you keep them clean and healthy so that you breathe easier and harmful things don’t affect your breathing. For a car, a dirty air filter will hurt your acceleration and make your car less efficient, making an inspection and new air filter every so often important.
The Cost Of Not Doing It: Your car isn’t going to explode from a dirty air filter, but it’s possible that leaving one in can cause your engine to fail and damage your combustion chamber. Spend 15 minutes to pop a new air filter in and you’ll forget why you worried in the first place.
10. Save your car maintenance receipts to make future repairs much easier.
Why It’s Important: When you take your auto into a shop for a checkup mechanics will often ask you about the last time you changed your oil or rotated your tires, so it’s good to keep receipts from past work. Also, having those receipts will help you get more money for your car if you ever decide to sell, acting as proof that you took care of it.
The Cost Of Not Doing It: Not being able to prove that you’ve taken care of your car with work can knock you out of a warranty, leaving you with a tremendously costly repair at almost any dealer you go to. If you have trouble keeping receipts, at least snap a photo with your phone to have some proof.
11. Ask an expert about car trouble when you’re not sure yourself.
Why It’s Important: Cars are just as complex as they are wonderful, and you shouldn’t ever force your way into fixing a problem if you don’t know exactly what’s wrong. When in doubt, take your car into O’Neill Auto & Transmission Service to see what’s going on and save yourself the trouble and frustration.
The Cost Of Not Doing It: Sometimes, attempting to fix one thing by yourself can lead to breaking more things, which just makes it a mess for you and your mechanic. At the end of the day, you don’t want to be the person hitching a ride to work in a tow truck because you poured antifreeze directly into your engine.
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