Whether you’re heading to work, school or errands, you expect your car to run smoothly and reliably when you need it. Nothing is more frustrating than a dead battery on a cold morning or a blown tire in the middle of a road trip. Fixing unexpected car repairs is often expensive and time consuming — not to mention the stress of being without a car while it’s being repaired.
The Importance of Preventive Car Maintenance
Even though almost every driver has had their day ruined because of an unexpected car problem, many people still put off preventative maintenance in an effort to save time and money. However, this strategy tends to only work in the short-term. Eventually, parts will break down from neglect and extended use, and you’ll find yourself saddled with major repairs or even the expense of purchasing a new car.
Staying on top of the preventive maintenance described below will ensure that your car is always ready to go when you need it. You’ll save money, reduce stress and stay safe on the road for years to come.
Change Your Oil
The best-known preventative maintenance, oil changes should be done as often as recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Oil lubricates your engine’s parts and allows them to work together without too much damaging friction. Without oil, your engine will overheat and fail.
Replace Your Filters
The oil filter is usually replaced at the same time as your oil change, but there are other interior and exterior filters that you should replace regularly to ensure your car is working properly:
- The engine air filter should be replaced every 30,000 to 40,000 miles. This filter removes dust and other contaminants from the air before it goes into your engine.
- The cabin air filter should be replaced once a year. It cleans the air before it enters your vehicle’s cabin, keeping you from breathing in dust and allergens.
- The fuel filter should be replaced every 20,000 to 40,000 miles. It prevents dirt and debris from clogging your car’s fuel lines.
Rotate Your Tires
Tires wear down as you drive, but did you know that they wear unevenly, based on their position? Rotating your tires ensures that each one has a chance to wear evenly across its surface, so all of its wear and tear is not concentrated in one spot. Tire rotation extends the life of your tires and helps prevent a blowout caused by balding or thinned areas. Plan on having your tires rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.
Balance and Align Your Wheels
Have you ever felt your steering wheel pull to one side or the other while driving? This is often a result of poor alignment. If your wheels are off balance, your car won’t drive straight. Wheel balancing and alignment keeps your tires parallel to each other and perpendicular to the road. Like tire rotation, balancing and alignment helps extend the life of your tires by preventing uneven wear and tear. You should have your car’s alignment checked and wheels balanced every six months.
Replace Your Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers keep your vision clear during inclement weather by removing moisture, snow and dust from the windshield. Over time, the rubber blades will deteriorate and lose contact with the windshield’s surface, resulting in streaks that will reduce your visibility. Don’t risk a dangerous drive in bad weather because of old windshield wipers! Replace your blades once a year — or sooner if you start seeing streaks and smears.
Take Care of Your Car’s Battery
A dead battery always seems to happen at the most inconvenient time. Prevent the headache and ruined day by testing your battery after it is about three years old. If you live in an area with extreme weather, you may need to test and replace it more frequently. You should also learn to recognize when problems might be caused by your battery cables, rather than the battery itself.
Replace Your Spark Plugs
Your vehicle’s spark plugs are responsible for reliably starting your car. Over time, wear and tear can cause them to stop working. You should have your spark plugs replaced every 30,000 miles to make sure that your car starts when you need it, every time.
Monitor and Top Off Your Fluids
Your car relies on a variety of fluids to run smoothly. Each fluid plays an important role in your car’s engine, brakes and steering. By staying on top of your car’s fluid levels, you will prevent overheating, wear and tear and component failure. When you bring your car to your local Rainbow Muffler & Brake, your car’s fluids will be topped off as part of our complimentary fluid top-off service with any oil change.
Save Time and Money With Preventative Maintenance
While putting off preventative maintenance may seem like it’ll save you money, it will actually end up costing you more in the long run when you have to pay for a tow and major repairs. Staying on top of your car’s recommended maintenance schedule will extend the life of your vehicle and prevent you from ending up stranded on the side of the road.
When you bring your vehicle into Rainbow Muffler & Brake, our experts will inspect your car and let you know if there’s anything you need to address to make sure that small problems don’t turn into major repairs. With regular preventative maintenance, you can feel safe and secure in your car’s performance for years to come. Visit us today!