By Lauren Fix, The Car Coach
These ten basic vehicle maintenance items can keep you on the road and save up to $1200 per year in car repairs. You can do some repairs yourself, even if you have no clue about what you are doing and have some basic tools. If you don’t have the time or know-how, find an ASE certified mechanic or technician to do the work for you.
Neglected car repairs can leave you on the side of the road. Being proactive will save you money. If you don’t take care of simple vehicle maintenance, it will almost always mean much higher costs down the line in the form of more extensive repairs or lost resale value.
Remember, if you get into a project like changing brake or major engine repairs and get in too deep and need help, it could cost you more.
10 Basic Maintenance Tips to get the most from your Ride
Have your car’s alignment checked at least annually to reduce tire wear and improve fuel economy and handling.
Check V-belts and serpentine belts for looseness and condition. Belts included:
- Air conditioning compressor
- Power steering pump
- Radiator cooling fan
- Water pump
- Or a single serpentine belt that powers everything
Check the engine brake system every year and have the brake linings, rotors, and drums inspected.
Check that the battery connection is clean, tight, and corrosion-free.
Your vehicle’s filters (air, cabin, oil, and fuel) need regular inspection and replacement.
Check all seven fluids in your car. These include the air conditioning coolant, brake, oil, power steering, radiator, transmission, and windshield washer fluids.
Hoses are similar to a body’s circulatory system and are composed of two rubber layers with fabric in between. Inspect them at your scheduled oil change and replace them if leaking, brittle, cracked or rusted. Hoses typically include:
- Fuel (used to send gas from the gas tank to the engine)
- Heater (coolant to the heater)
- Power steering (connects power steering pump to steering equipment)
- Radiator (brings coolant to the engine)
At least once per month, check the pressure of all tires, including the spare. Check the tread for uneven or irregular wear and cuts along the sidewalls.
Replace windshield wiper blades every six months or when cracked, torn, streaking, or chattering for optimum wiping performance and safety.
When in doubt, seek an ASE-certified mechanic or technician to do the work for you.
Here’s the bottom line:
It’s common to get busy and put off car maintenance (we’ve all been there)—but preventing minor issues from becoming major car trouble is easier and less expensive than you think. Proper car care can save you up to $1,200 a year in emergency repairs.
If you have additional questions, put them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer.
Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, analyst, author, and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news, and safety issues.
Lauren is the CEO of Automotive Aspects and the Editor-in-Chief of Car Coach Reports, a global automotive news outlet. She is an automotive contributor to national and local television news shows, including Fox News, Fox Business, CNN International, The Weather Channel, Inside Edition, Local Now News, Community Digital News, and more. Lauren also co-hosts a regular show on ABC.com with Paul Brian called “His Turn – Her Turn” and hosts regular radio segments on USA Radio – DayBreak.
Lauren is honored to be inducted into the Women’s Transportation Hall of Fame and a Board Member of the Buffalo Motorcar Museum, and Juror / President for the North American Car, Utility & Truck of the Year Awards.
Check her out on Twitter and Instagram @LaurenFix.