Car Maintenance Made Easier – Effective & Easy DIY Steps
The pride and joy of owning and driving a car certainly brings a lot of convenience to the owner. Moreover, beyond choosing the car of your choice comes a plethora of periodic checks, preventive maintenance, replacing of consumables and the mightily exorbitant auto shop bills. So what can be done in order to cut down on repair & maintenance bills so that your pride and joy runs like new for years together? In this article we share effective yet easy DIY steps which will save you time, money and energy that otherwise people spend at automotive workshops.
How to Begin with Car Maintenance
The initial approach for DIY auto maintenance is by popping up the hood. For novices it will resemble a maze of cables, hoses, engine components but will soon become a piece of cake after you start getting your hands dirty. Make it a point to keep your car owner’s manual at hand since you will be referring to it for many maintenance jobs on your car. While the booklet will suggest keeping the fluids, engine oil and filters on check regularly, it is better to delve deeper as you will soon be capable of doing intricate jobs on your automobile without any help. Here are some weekly checks you could perform on your car:
Vital Fluids – Your car encloses a variety of fluids which form the lifeline of the vehicle. Things to watch out for at least twice a month include engine oil capacity on the dipstick, windshield washer fluid topping up, power steering fluid, brake fluid and rear washer fluids. It is best to keep a small inventory of such consumables and use them according to the instructions given on the product or in your owner’s handbook.
Air Pressure – Improper quantity of air in the car’s tires may cause uneven wear, poor control over the vehicle and also poor fuel economy. Make sure you fill the recommended PSI level of air in all four tires and do not forget the spare tire located in the trunk. It is a good habit to rotate the tires every 20000kms or as stated in your manual for even wear of the tires. Make sure you keep the treads clear of debris and replace the tires before they go bald.
Battery Maintenance – One of the most abused components of your car has to be the battery. With several maintenance-free batteries now available in the market, car owners usually tend to buy one, get it fitted and forget about it. You must make it a point to clean the battery housing and terminals at least once in two months for MF batteries and more frequently for flooded versions. Coat the positive and negative terminals of the battery with clear petroleum jelly (not grease) and ensure the clamps are secured firmly.
Air Filter Maintenance
The air filter under your car’s bonnet prevents debris and dirt from entering the engine and hence must be cleaned periodically. Usually modern cars have cartridge type air filters that are easily removable and can be cleaned by the owner with a vacuum cleaner. Ensure you do not wet the air filter element and replace it if it gets too murky. Replace the element as suggested in the owner’s manual.
Importance of Engine Oil
Just like blood flows through our veins, the oil is akin for an automobile. Oil is the chief element which keeps the engine well lubed and cooled, and this is why it is crucial to change it as per the manufacturer’s recommendation. Oil acts as a barrier against sludge buildup and carries minute carbon deposit particles over a period of time which necessitates replacing it every 10000kms or in proportion to the handbook.
You can check engine oil status by pulling out the dipstick, clean the dipped portion with a clean rag, dip the stick again and then check the level. The engine oil should be between the two markings on the dipstick. It should not smell burnt or have less consistency; if found in such a condition, it’s time for a replacement. Always replace the oil filter when changing the oil.
Saving Cash on DIY & Used Parts
Automobile maintenance can become more pocket-friendly by utilization of used car parts. No need to buy expensive over-the-counter brand new parts that cost an arm and a leg when you can get similar used ones in great quality with a warranty. Indeed. Certified stockists of genuine quality used auto parts can provide you with premium quality parts at the fraction of the cost. Why not add used parts to your DIY bucket list and up the ante on money saving even more!
This articles is shared by Sally Houston a regular reader of this blog.