Vehicle Upkeep | How to Take Care of Your Car

Since summer is almost here which means road trips and vacations it is time to start taking care of your car. Since meeting my boyfriend my car knowledge has grown to the point where I am amazed that others do not know the basics for keeping their car healthy. It was not too long ago that I too would wait for my car to scream for help before taking action. For this post I interviewed my boyfriend since working on cars is his favorite thing to do. By keeping up with the basics cars are more likely to be dependable as well as run more efficiently.

How often should a car’s oil be changed?

Well this all depends on what kind of oil you are using. For conventional oil it is recommended to change it every 3,000 miles but for synthetic it goes up to every 5,000 miles. If you rarely drive your car do not wait to hit the milage, instead opt for every six months. When the oil is changed make sure to also change the oil filter.

 How do you know what kind of oil to use?

There are a couple of ways to find out what kind of oil each car needs such as the oil cap, the owner’s manual, google or even a booklet at the store in the oil section. Exceptions to the recommended oil for each car is if the car has high mileage or is leaking oil. In both cases opt for a thicker oil, for instance a 5-20 instead of  0-20.

Tire Health

It does not take an expert to realize that if the tire is bald it needs to be replaced but do you rotate your tires regularly? When a car’s tires are rotated it helps the tire’s tread wear down at an equal rate by moving around the pressure points. Wherever you purchase your tires they most likely provide this service for free, so take advantage of it every 6-8,000 miles or six months.

Photo by Jess: Car Show in California

What is a Tune Up?

A tune up includes changing the oil, air filter, spark plugs and spark plug wires. Every 15,000 miles or three years maximum a car should be treated to a tune up. Change your air filter more often (every year) as well as your oil as previously discussed. Both of these are included in the tune up process because it might as well all be done at the same time.

D.I.Y. Upkeep

Honestly there are multiple things anyone can do on their car by themselves, if you want to save money but are scared to mess something up start small. Changing the air filter and the oil are basic, head to youtube for guidance. Depending on the car, the oil may be a daunting task as well as the spark plugs and wires so investigate it first. I’ve done an oil change, air filter, brakes and more with assistance but it honestly is a lot easier than I thought it was.

Road Trip Upkeep

Before hitting the road make sure to check all your fluids this includes coolant, oil, and transmission fluid. Other things to consider is taking the car in to rotate it’s tires, this verifies that your tires are healthy (no nails and decent tread). Predict if the vehicle will max it’s oil change mileage on a road trip, if so get it done.

Photo by Jessie: From a Qualifying Race in California

If you missed part one where I discussed key things to watch out for when buying a used car, click here. Where are you going for summer vacation?



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