Regular, basic car maintenance is crucial to avoiding serious auto problems. While there are times when your car needs professional attention, learning some DIY car maintenance skills can help keep your ride running smoothly and may even save you money. You don’t need to be an experienced mechanic to follow the car check-up instructions in the video below.
Remember, when it comes to caring for your car, there are four main systems that need to be checked regularly. Here are some DIY car maintenance tips.
1. “Kick the tires”
When it comes to tires, you have two things to look for: pressure and wear. Know your recommended tire pressure and measure it with a digital gauge, especially after extreme temperature changes. While you’re down at ground level, take a look at how the tire is worn. Are there bare patches or thin treads? These can signal that something may be wrong with the way the tire contacts the road, or that your tires are past their effective lifetime.
2. Check the oil
Know how to check your oil level (dipstick or digital reading) and pay attention to the color of the oil. Both natural and synthetic oil become dirty with age and use, and will be darker than new oil. However, if you see very dark, muddy colored oil, have a mechanic look at your car. There could be a problem with your engine, and when it comes to engine problems, fixing them sooner is always better than later.
3. Top off your fluids
These fluids are essential to staying safe on the road and should be checked regularly:
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Windshield washer fluid
- Coolant / Antifreeze
4. Keep your battery charged
Most of the time, batteries are low maintenance. They’re often forgotten until suddenly, you put your key in the ignition and nothing happens. You don’t want to be somewhere far from home when this happens. Check your battery regularly—and always before big trips—to make sure it holds a charge and that the contacts are clean and free from buildup.
While many minor issues can be prevented by doing your own car check up, inevitably you’ll need to hire a professional to complete repairs over the course of a car’s lifetime. Make sure you’re covered with reliable auto insurance from Nationwide.