The key to making a good choice when buying a new or used car is knowledge. Knowing the vehicle and its needs will ensure you do not end up struggling to maintain it.
That is very important because car repair costs nowadays mean that more people than ever handle everyday maintenance themselves. You can do that, as long as you have some basic understanding of your car.
In this article we will look at essential maintenance points all owners should know.
1. Replacing Engine Oil
Sooner or later, the oil in the engine will need to be replaced. A lot of drivers tend to think that any old product will do, but that is not the case.
Oil cleans, cools, and lubricates the engine, so not choosing a compatible product can be disastrous. It can cause tar and soot to build up, thick deposits of oil to clog the engine and thermal degradation.
Always use the quantity and grade recommended by the manufacturer. For example, SAE 5W-20 is recommended for Chrysler cars and not using it could cause permanent engine damage.
2. Checking Tires
It is a little-known fact that the odds of being killed in a road traffic accident are 1 in 5,000, but not checking your car tires regularly will increase those odds. The two things that need to be checked on are the amount of pressure in the tires and the tread level, which is what lets them grip road surfaces.
You should also always keep a spare tire, ideally of the same type designed for the car. Yokohama tires are a reliable pick for most vehicles, but some cars come with them fitted as standard, including Dodge, Honda, and Fiat ones.
3. Inspecting the Lights
This means both the taillights and the headlights, but also the light on the dashboard telling you if you need to check your engine. It is a common issue for the taillights and headlights to gradually become dimmer over time and they need to be replaced when that happens.
The check engine light warns you if there is an issue. It can be a small problem like one of the gas caps being loose or something more major like the catalytic converter.
The light itself can sometimes flash when there is no actual problem though. Jaguar cars are particularly prone to that, so be aware of this if you buy one.
4. Checking the Fluids
When it comes to a car, there are five essential fluids that must be checked as part of standard maintenance work. The first is the engine oil and the other four are:
- Brake Fluid
- Windshield Wiper Fluid
- Power Steering Fluid
You must be conscious of each of these as they all perform essential tasks. Those range from stopping the engine overheating to keeping the windows clean so you can see out of them properly.
The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO XMR is one car notorious for engine overheating, so be particularly careful with the coolant if buying one.
5. Checking the fuel pump
Another fact that most car owners will not realize is that there are more than 30,000 different parts to a standard vehicle. One that is particularly important is the fuel pump.
That keeps the car running by getting fuel to the engine from the vehicle gas tank. You should expect to get 100,000 miles out of a fuel pump at the minimum, as it is supposed to last as long as the car itself.
Mercury cars are one brand that has frequent fuel pump problems though. They are no longer on the market but be aware if buying one second hand as it can be an expensive maintenance issue.
These are five things all drivers should know about their cars for cost and safety reasons.