7 Tips for Handling Car Repair and Maintenance Yourself

A decade ago it was unheard of to safely drive your car beyond 100,000 miles. Now, drivers are racking up mileage well into six-figure ranges with no sign of slowing down.

Car maintenance is the key to this longevity. If you’re looking for ways to extend the life of your vehicle, take a look at these 7 car repair and maintenance tips.

Battery Checks

1. Battery Checks

Many people skip battery checks unless they detect a problem with the power in the car. This is a common mistake because the battery is thought to be doing well unless it blatantly malfunctions.

But even subtle changes in your battery’s performance can be harmful to the system’s in your vehicle. Clean your car battery at least once per year using a baking soda and water solution.

This solution, along with a wire brush, can rid your battery of dry white battery acid. Be sure to remove the cables from the battery before cleaning the unit. Think deep cycle and marine battery life when performing your check.

2. Replace Wiper Blades

A simple car repair and maintenance tip are to replace your wiper blades. Most car owners can perform this task alone without the help of a mechanic.

Keeping your windshield wipers in top condition is a major safety win. When you experience harsh storms or heavy rain, you want your wiper blades to increase visibility to keep surprises at bay.

Even if you don’t see streaks or skipping when your blades are on, inspect the rubber on each blade monthly to make sure they aren’t worn down. Most wiper blades last around 6 months in moderate weather conditions.

In climates with little rain or snow, your wiper blades might last up to 12 months without the need for replacement.

3. Engine Air Filter

Touching your car’s engine is intimidating. The idea of pulling the wrong valve and ending the life of your vehicle is sure to come to mind.

But your engine is much sturdier than you think. Changing its air filter gives your car an extended shelf life and better gas mileage.

How do you know how often to change the filter? One way is to check your vehicle’s owner manual. Some cars require replacement based on the mileage.

Other cars might require changes in the engine air filter based on the length of time between changes. The make and model dictate how to treat your car engine.

4. Car Wash

Getting your car washed and detailed isn’t a fancy treat. It’s a part of regular maintenance to make sure the exterior of the vehicle remains in top condition.

This means going through the car wash every few weeks to scrape off animal waste, dust, mud, and other debris stuck to the side of your vehicle. Consider getting your car buffed and waxed to enhance the paint job.

When you go to trade in your vehicle for a new one, the exterior quality will get you a higher sales price on the car.

5. Full Coverage

Most people don’t think of car insurance as car repair and maintenance. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Protecting your car from unthinkable accidents is part of vehicle ownership. If someone runs into your car while it’s parked, you want options for getting it repaired without breaking the bank.

Just like getting your car washed, keeping it insured means having options to keep it in top condition when something goes horribly wrong. Full coverage isn’t required in every state.

Guard against trying to save money and skipping out on protecting your vehicle. Liability insurance doesn’t offer you the range of coverage needed to protect your car when unusual accidents pop up.

Most insurance companies offer safe driving discounts if you have a clean driving history. Even if you had a recent accident, your rate will likely go down over time if you keep up a good track record.

6. Check Fluids

Fluids keep your car running smoothly. When you start to hear noises or see smoke, you can rest assured that engine fluids are the culprit.

Start by checking all fluid levels in your car at the first sight of a problem. Older cars might require regular checks as often as every day.

These checks can help you notice a leak before it turns into a major malfunction. Scraping engine parts means a major problem is just moments away.

Keep your engine lubricated so you can get the maximum life span out of your vehicle.

7. Tire Pressure

It’s common to overlook tires when it comes to car repair and maintenance. If tires are inflated, they seem to be doing just fine.

But you’ll need to check the treading on the tires once every few months to make sure they aren’t wearing down. Bald tires have no grip on the road during inclement weather which means your car could go spinning off the road at any moment.

Tire pressure is also important in maintaining your car. Bad tire pressure can lead to poor gas mileage and blowouts.

Setting a Car Repair and Maintenance Schedule

Treat your car with the same care you’d treat Maintainance on your home. Mark your calendar with car repair and maintenance related services so you don’t forget.

Over time, you’ll get used to the routine of checking certain systems in your car. When something is off, you’ll notice right away since you regularly check your vehicle to make sure everything’s in place.

It’s possible to maintain your engine with simple tasks, but if you notice major issues like black smoke or burning smells, take it to a mechanic right away.

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