Owning your first car can be a truly exhilarating experience. First cars often mean freedom and independence for most of us – having the ability to go wherever you want, whenever you want is truly unmatchable. However, in this whim of independence, let’s not forget about how important it is to learn how to maintain your car yourself.
Learning the basics of car maintenance is important for every first-time car owner – you couldn’t possibly afford to run to the mechanic or call your father at every weird hum or noise your car makes. Hence, given below are ten car maintenance tips that are likely to benefit every first-time car owner:
1. Keep your car’s manual close
Every car comes with a user manual or a comprehensive shop manual such as this Ford Thunderbird factory shop manual. Think of this as a Bible for your car as it contains details about your car’s safety features, and features all of its specifications. Whenever you have a question about why a certain light keeps ticking on your dashboard, or if you are confused about the best way to service your engine, you can always refer back to the manual.
2. Clean the engine regularly
A working engine is a key to a well-functioning car, and you should make sure that your engine is clean at all times. Having to replace an engine due to poor maintenance can be very expensive, and as a first-time car owner, you shouldn’t be handling your finances irresponsibly. Any oil leaks and accumulated dust can cause damage to your engine and stop it from functioning to its full capacity.
3. Check your car’s tires regularly
If you do not wish to be stranded in the middle of the road on a fine sunny day, you should maintain a tire-check schedule religiously. Tires are what keep your car running, and hence you should regularly check your tire pressure. If you ever find the pressure below the recommended limit, be sure to get the pressure adjusted to ensure minimal wear and tear. Your tires may also accumulate foreign objects in their grooves over time, and you should detect and remove any such objects at your earliest.
4. Monitor your brake fluid
Appropriate levels of brake fluid are essential to your brakes functioning well in your car. Without the right levels of brake fluid, your car brakes could very well stop working and you could meet with an unfortunate accident that could cause a ton of collateral damage. In addition to making sure that fluid is present is an apt amount, you should also pay attention to the color of the fluid present as a darker shade of brake fluid would indicate an immediate change of fluid.
5. Get well-versed on all warning signs
Your car’s dashboard is likely to feature a variety of warning signs indicating you whenever something about your vehicle is off. A good driver should be aware of all such warning signs, their meaning, and their pertaining solutions. These signs may give you an indication when the car is low on fuel and running on reserve, has any open doors, someone doesn’t have the seatbelt on, when the power train may malfunction, or when it is running on economy mode.
6. Check air filters
The air filters in your car are responsible for the flow of clean air inside your vehicle, and if you do not check and replace the air filters promptly the air entering your car could be dusty and smelly. Another indication of your air filters needing a clean or replacement is when your car’s air conditioner stops cooling as effectively as it used to. This could be happening due to accumulated dust in the filter preventing your air conditioner from working at full capacity.
7. Maintain a good mileage
As a first-time car owner, you could be tempted to go over speed to experience the thrill of driving for the first time or may even drive rashly for fun. However, such irresponsible driving causes your car to give a lower mileage over time. A good mileage helps you maintain fuel economies and is good for the environment. Also, be sure to check your gas filter, exhaust, motor oil, and spark plug and these too could contribute to reducing fuel economy and giving poor mileage.
8. Regularly change lubricants
Your car needs oil and lubricants to run smoothly as the oil helps absorb any friction that may be created in your car and doesn’t allow the friction to affect its smooth running. However, this lubricant may get contaminated over time and hence not absorb friction as efficiently as it should, which may end up affecting your car’s performance. Hence, your car’s lubricant should be changed regularly along with the oil filters.
9. Check windshield and lights
Any broken or fused bulbs in your car’s head or tail lights can prove to be a safety hazard, and may also cost you a hefty traffic ticket. Be sure to replace any fused or dimming bulbs are the earliest. You should also make an effort to check your car’s windshield as a damaged windshield can hamper visibility during bad weather and be a possible safety hazard. You should hence inspect your windshields regularly and make any necessary repairs.
10. Wash your car regularly
While this may seem like a no-brainer, it is true how crucial washing your car regularly is to maintain it. Washing your car regularly helps prevent any buildup caused by dust, bird droppings, and other natural elements. It also helps protect your paint from getting damaged. Not cleaning your car regularly may also decrease its resale value, and frankly also reflect badly on your hygiene.
As a first-time car owner, if you want to maintain your car for a long time and have it looking brand new for many years to come, you must keep it well-maintained. It is your responsibility to regularly check tire pressure, and engine fluid, change lubricants and maintain a good mileage to ensure your car’s resale value and good functioning.