Somehow, it’s 2023. Where did the time go?
Most of us are back to work now, and our cars have been through a lot over the past few weeks with road trips and long drives to family lunches.
And now, just like that, we’re putting them back into the daily commute – if, for some of us, a little less ‘everyday’ than in previous years.
So, it’s time to think about how we are taking care of our cars. A regularly scheduled service is one thing, which will never be missed, but what else can we do? Here is a list of some basic aspects of maintenance that we should all be on top of throughout the year.
Annually (or more)
Check and/or replace the battery.
Every four years or so, it’s a good idea to check your battery and see if it needs replacing – but it wouldn’t hurt to have an annual checkup, too. Of course, your service center should tell you if you get your car serviced regularly. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of nowhere for no reason other than a dead battery.
Don’t forget the brakes
Like your battery, having your brakes checked by a professional every few years is an important step in maintaining your car. Not only can worn brakes lead to an expensive replacement of your brake rotors, it can also be a life-threatening mistake. If you hear any strange noises like things are grinding, it’s best to get them checked as soon as possible.
It doesn’t have to happen regularly but it is important to pay attention to your car’s headlights. If one goes out, replace it as soon as possible. This not only makes it easier to drive in the dark, but also avoids a potentially expensive argument with the police. The bulbs age, so if they still work, replacing them will usually give them a brighter edge.
Monthly (or so)
Clean your car properly!
You can hide the mess in other areas of your life – your home, your desk, your love life – but everyone can see your car. Make sure you give the interior a vacuum and dust, and treat exposed plastic with a UV protectant to wipe it down periodically.
Then wash and polish the exterior. Things like dirt and bird droppings (which you should clean up right away, FYI) can do some damage to your paint. Plus, once the cobwebs start to appear and a spider crawls across your windscreen, you’ll wish you’d gotten the bucket and shimmy out earlier.
As a general rule, you should have your car serviced every six months or 10,000 km. Service centers will always tell you when your car is due for service – maintenance varies with models. Even older car owners should have a professional look over their vehicles. If you do nothing else, regular oil and filter changes are vital to engine health.
Check your tire pressure and tread wear.
Checking your tire pressure when you go to fill up your car is a good habit to get into. There is a world of problems associated with low tire pressure and it can affect your braking, fuel efficiency and put you at greater risk of a flat tire. Low tire pressure can also lead to aquaplaning in the wet.
Likewise, worn treads can be fatal in bad weather, depriving your tires of their ability to drain water from under the contact patch.
Without proper oil levels, your engine will not run smoothly, and can cause costly problems. Click here to learn how to check your oil level. If the oil is low, it’s not as expensive to have your oil changed by a mechanic, which saves you the mess of doing it yourself.
Think back to when you were learning to drive, and your instructor instructed: “Mirror? Check.” Your rear view mirror is a given, but many factors can affect your side mirrors. Check them when you get in the car and make sure they’re clean so you’re never blindsided.
Scary, paint-eating bird poop and tree sap
You just paid to wash your car and then park it under a tree. You come back to find your car covered in this horrible stained crap. Sorry to tell you but you need to wash it again, ASAP. Bird poo is quite acidic and can burn your paint, so we guarantee it’s cheap and easy to wash off right away – new paint jobs don’t come cheap.