Maintaining your car can get expensive. Cars are deeply complex and hard to understand – so you must often fork over quite a bit of cash to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. Understandably, some of us skimp on regular maintenance to save a bit of cash.
But there are some basic auto maintenance steps that you should NEVER skip. If you fail to undertake these inexpensive automotive repairs, you can put your car at risk of significant damage. Read on, and learn more.
1. Oil Changes
Your engine’s oil is, literally, the lifeblood of your car. Engine oil is what keeps everything lubricated and working effectively. Clean engine oil allows your car to run smoothly, and prevents damage to your engine block, pistons, and dozens of other incredibly expensive engine components.
Dirty engine oil, on the other hand, becomes “sludgy”, and stops protecting your car’s engine components as effectively. Over time, oil becomes contaminated with exhaust gases and small metal bits, and breaks down due the constant heat and pressure of the engine. As it becomes more viscous, its effectiveness is reduced.
Depending on your car, you should replace your oil every 3,000-10,000 miles. Look at your owner’s manual to see what kind of engine oil is recommended, and follow the included oil change schedule.
2. Air Filter Cleaning And Replacement
Air filters are often overlooked – but require regular servicing and maintenance. As your air filter gets clogged up with debris from daily driving, it becomes harder for it to take in the appropriate amount of air – reducing gas mileage, vehicle power, and even causing your engine to stall out or “run rough”.
You can get your air filter cleaned for just a few bucks when you get your oil changed, and you should consider replacing it every 5,000-10,000 miles – depending on where you drive. For example, If you drive on rural roads with a lot of dust, you’ll need to replace it more quickly than if you only drive in the city.
Replacing your air filter is cheap, and the increased gas mileage you’ll get means that air filter replacement will basically pay for itself.
3. Tire Rotation, Inflation, And Balancing
Replacing your tires is expensive. A full set of tires can easily cost you up to $800 or more, depending on the vehicle – so you want to maximize the amount of time you can use the same set of tires.
Keeping your tires properly inflated is the most important thing you can do to keep them in good shape. Consult your driver’s manual to see what PSI is recommended for your tires, and use a tire pressure gauge ($10-15 at any auto repair store) to check the PSI, and make sure they’re kept pumped up to the proper level of pressure.
Regular tire rotation is also very important for the longevity of tires. Tire rotation swaps your tires from the front end of your car to the rear – and vice versa. Because most modern cars use only front-wheel drive, your tires will wear unevenly. Rotating your tires every 6 months will prevent premature wear, and ensure that both sets of tires will wear down evenly.
If you notice that your vehicle is vibrating or behaving strangely on the road, you may also need tire balancing. Tires can become unbalanced due to uneven pressure, bearing issues, and car misalignment. If your tires are unbalanced, they will wear down unevenly – causing premature tire failure.
4. Brake Pad Replacement
Brake pads go through a lot – they’re literally responsible for stopping your car when you hit that brake pedal! As they wear down, they will be less effective at stopping your vehicle – so replacing them is important for your safety.
In addition, a completely “stripped” or worn-out brake pad can damage the brake rotor – and this can require an extremely expensive repair process.
How can you know when you should replace your brake pads? Well, most modern cars have a brake light indicator that will illuminate when your brakes are worn down. But all cars have a built-in indicator that tells you if you need new brakes!
Brake pads have a metal “tab” that becomes exposed with wear. When this tab is exposed, it scrapes against the brake mechanism, causing a “screech” that’s quite loud and hard to miss. If you hear that scraping or screeching sound, get your brake pads replaced ASAP – they’re almost totally worn out.
Come To Ride Time For Professional Auto Repair Services!
If you need to take your car in for one of these simple maintenance services – or you have any other auto repair needs – Ride Time is the ideal place for you!
At our brand-new facility in Winnipeg, we have 8 total maintenance bays, and we work with the best auto repair professionals around.
We can fix up your car and get you back in action in a flash – whether you need an oil change, or a full transmission rebuild! Schedule a service appointment online and come in today – we look forward to seeing you!