Regular maintenance and vehicle checks are the key to extending the life of your car, and the best place to start is by reading your car's manual. In it, you will find the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule. Following these recommendations can help you prevent expensive repairs down the road:
- Avoid cold starts: When your car is cold, the oil in it is also cold, and when the oil is cold, it is thicker. This is harder on the engine. For most of today's vehicles, it is not necessary to warm up the car by letting it idle. Instead, drive slowly until the car reaches it's operating temperature.
- Check your fluids: Routine vehicle checks of your car's fluids in between your car's regularly scheduled maintenance is necessary, because leaks can develop quickly. Make sure that fluids are clean. Antifreeze should be green, yellow or pink in colour. If it is brown, it should be flushed. Also, you should never mix colours of antifreeze. Buy a universal brand if you are not sure. White coloured oil may be due to an internal antifreeze leak. Transmission fluid should be bright red. If it is brown or smells burnt, it needs to be changed.
- Flush your fluids: Antifreeze and brake and power steering fluids generally need to be flushed every two years. Check your car's manual for the correct timetable.
- Check your oil regularly: Oil should be clear. If it is black, it needs to be changed. A good rule to follow is to change it every 5,000 to 8,000 kilometres. Be sure to replace the oil filter, so that your clean oil is going through a clean filter.
- Change your air filter: A dirty air filter can reduce how far you can drive on a tank of gas. To increase efficiency, be sure to keep yours clean.
- Check your brake pads: Brake pads thin over time. If they are not changed periodically, they will wear down to the metal rotors and cause damage them. It is much more expensive to replace the rotors than the pads.
- Rotate the tires: Many drivers think rotating the tires means to switch the front tires with the back. However, it is actually better to rotate them diagonally, from left front to right rear and right front to left rear. This will prevent uneven wear on them. Consult your owner's manual first. This recommendation can change due to the type of tires you have on the vehicle.
- Check tire pressure: Tires that are under-inflated can reduce your gas mileage and increase wear and tear. Buy an inexpensive tire gauge, and check your tire pressure every other time you get gas. Consult your owner's manual for the correct tire pressure.
- Keep your car in proper alignment: If you notice uneven tread on your tires or your car shakes at a higher rate of speed, you may need a front end alignment. This will help keep you safe on the road and make your tires last longer.
- Set your parking brake: Regardless of whether your car has an automatic or manual transmission, you should always use your parking brake, except in the winter when it can freeze. Using your parking brake can actually make your brakes last longer, because it helps keep the brakes adjusted in the rear of the car.
Despite due diligence, however, sometimes the need for an urgent repair crops up. You will find highly qualified mechanics at 1800mymechanic.com.au who are professionally trained and will come to your location to diagnose and fix the problem in a timely manner and at a fair price.