If you’re going to be making new resolutions this year, why not make taking better care of your car one of them? Maintenance is easier than you might think, and good maintenance can preserve your vehicle for many miles longer.
Here are four auto maintenance New Year’s resolutions we recommend you follow during your 2019 year.
CHANGE YOUR OIL ON-TIME
Arguably the single most important regular maintenance task is to change your engine oil. Old engine oil doesn’t protect your moving parts from heat and friction and can lead to shorter engine life as well as reduced horsepower, lower gas mileage, and many other serious problems. However, far too many car owners don’t get their oil changed nearly often enough, and they may not even realize that their car is hurting for it.
How often you should change your oil depends on a few different factors. Consult your vehicle owner’s manual for your manufacturer’s recommendation as to how often you swap it out and make a few adjustments based on how you use your vehicle. For example, if your owner’s manual recommends changing every 4,000 miles, but you do a lot of driving in-town with a lot of stops, starts, short trips, and idling waiting for lights to turn green, you may want to consider getting your oil changed every 3,000 to 3,500 miles instead. This type of vehicle use is generally extremely hard on vehicles. However, those who put a lot of consistent highway miles on their vehicles will probably be fine sticking closer to the 4,000-mile mark.
STICK TO YOUR SERVICE SCHEDULE
Every vehicle should have a regular service schedule. Most vehicles require a major service usually around the 30,000-mile mark, 60,000-mile mark, and then again at 90,000 miles. These services can include everything from flushing out your radiator and replacing the antifreeze to changing your transmission and differential fluid to even replacing a timing belt that could be reaching the end of its life soon. These major services are pivotal to your vehicle’s life, and it’s crucial that you make sure they’re done on time. Not getting them done can lead to tremendously expensive repairs later down the line which could have otherwise been prevented.
While you may not need these services this year, there’s a chance you may need others. Most tires are rated to last anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 miles, depending on how you drive and how they’re constructed. Most tires will need replaced around every 25,000 to 30,000 miles however. Make sure you keep an eye on your tire treads, rotate your tires every other time you get your oil changed, and have them replaced if they start showing signs of excessive wear. Check your brakes regularly as well and have the pads replaced if they start getting too thin or making squeaking noises when you come to a stop.
KICK THAT NASTY IDLING HABIT
Do you ever just sit in your car to relax with the air conditioner blasting and music playing? It’s a popular way for many people to spend their lunch hour unwinding, but the truth is it’s hard on your car. You may not be going anywhere, but your running engine means that different components are operating, which means extra wear and tear on your car. The cost of doing so can add up: you may need to replace or repair broken components more often, and you’ll be paying more for gas.
Kicking the idling habit doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re going to be sitting in one place for more than a minute, put your car in park and shut the engine off (unless you’re in traffic, of course). If you have to warm up your vehicle, make sure it doesn’t sit idle for more than two or three minutes, which should be plenty of time to allow the vehicle to get to an ideal operating temperature. You’ll save money, wear on your car, and gas as well!
BE A FUEL-EFFICIENT DRIVER
Did you know that driving in a way that’s fuel-efficient also helps you take better care of your car? It’s true—saving gas also helps save wear and tear, which means you’ll be saving in more ways than just at the pump. You won’t have to push your engine as hard, you won’t wear out your brakes as fast, your tires will last longer, and much more!