car preventative maintenance

The average car stays on the road around 11.4 years according to the recent survey. Whether you want to beat the average or just keep your current car longer than you usually do, you are in the driver’s seat.

Car preventive maintenance is the secret to a long-lasting car. You need more than just your oil changed. Here are 9 car preventative maintenance tips.

1. Inspect Fluids Regularly

This is one area you should never ignore. Your fluids help your car run smoothly, and it only takes about 10 minutes to check.

Wait until your engine is cooled down, and then detach the oil dipstick. Clean it off. Put the dipstick back in.

When you pull out the dipstick, looks to see if there is any oil. The dipstick tells you when it’s time to change the engine oil.

Your engine fluid is not all you should check. When you check your engine oil, check your power steering fluid. You can also check the transmission fluid after you warm up your car. 

Watch underneath your cars for any leaks. The engine coolant helps keep your engine from overheating. You may have a leak if you notice your temperature gauge quickly going in the red areas.

You can also peak under your radiator cap to make sure there is plenty of coolant. You should have some 50/50 coolant on hand for any emergency.

2. Check Your Air Filter

Faulty air filters cause several car problems. After 120,000 miles, you should change your air filters every 12 months. Don’t ignore your air filters because it can cause issues with your AC, and you may breath some unhealthy air when traveling in your car.

You can have a mechanic replace your air filter or choose to do it yourself in your garage. The air filter is in a black rectangular box in the hood of your car. You see it as soon as you pop the hood.

Remove the casing and notice the filter fit. The new filter goes in the same way. Close the metal clips, and you are done.

Remove all debris from your new filter with compressed air. This makes the filter last longer.

3. Check Belts and Hoses

Rubber parts fall apart. Make sure your mechanic inspects all hoses at every service.

You should also make sure your timing belt is changed. Car manufacturers suggest this part needs to be changed somewhere between 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

Changing your timing belt can be an expensive repair. It ranges anywhere from $300 up to $1,000 or more. If your timing belt breaks, it leads to more extensive and expensive engine repairs.

4. Rotate and Balance Tires

Rotate your tires every once in a while. It’s the easiest trick for the best tire life. Rotating your tires balances the wear and tear and also makes your tires more durable.

This process does not just mean turning the tires. You should switch locations along with turning them. Move the right to the left side to extend the life.

Misaligned tires cause a lot of problems. You could lose control of your car much easier. Find a way to remember to rotate your tires like every spring and fall.

5. Change the Spark Plugs

If your engine is not working like it used to, it could be the spark plugs. These parts wear easily and get covered in buildup.

Spark plugs typically last for about 30,000 miles. Your owner’s manual will give you an accurate idea of when you need to replace them.

6. Clean the Exterior Engine

It’s just as important to take care and maintain the outside of your engine as it is to inspect the internal parts. Minor debris on the outside of your engine can cause serious problems if they aren’t checked.

You don’t have to dismantle your entire engine to clean the outside. You can find special engine cleaner that is designed specifically for the exterior of your car’s engine.

Remove all the debris and grease from the outside of the engine. Stay away from harsh cleaning equipment like a wire brush. You don’t want to damage any components.

7. Protect the Interior of Your Car

If you are like the average American, you probably spend a lot of time in your car. You don’t want worn out interior because it simply is not comfortable and inviting. You can find scratches about anywhere.

You can help protect that interior so you feel invited every time you jump in the driver’s seat. Start with a quick clean weekly. Get a cleaning spray and a rag, and give your seats, dashboard, and interior a quick shine.

Keeping your interior clean will help your car feel new. Taking care of the inside will make you love your car the same as the day you bought it.

8. Replace Serpentine Belts

You should check your serpentine belts for any wear. If this belt breaks, it will damage your other accessories and rack up your repair bill. Check your serpentine belt every 60,000 miles, and review your owner’s manual for the most accurate description.

9. Drive Better

Believe it or not, the way you drive your car really affects your car. If you are hard on the brakes, your brakes wear quickly. Don’t be a rash driver, and your car will thank you for it.

Driving crazy can cause permanent damage to your car in areas other than the brakes. Not only does your smart and safe driving help keep your car from earlier wear and tear; it can also save you money on fuel. 

Want to know if you are a good driver? Check out apps for your smartphone. These apps can also save you money on your car insurance because being a good driver pays off.

Want More Car Preventative Maintenance Tips?

As you can see, car preventative maintenance is more than checking your oil and lights. You can do some small inspections in your garage, so you don’t have to worry about rushing to your mechanic. Follow these tips above and you can beat the car life average and still love your car.

Check out Go Motors for other car maintenance tips. You can also find local repair shops, buy cars, sell cars, read the latest automotive news, or learn more about a specific car.