Whether you’re driving a brand new vehicle or something that has had a few owners, vehicle maintenance is extremely important. Our vehicles come professionally detailed, with a fresh two-year motor vehicle inspection, but what if you don’t have the option to buy a new vehicle? The worst thing that can happen on your autumn drive is a flashing engine light that brings your backroad journey to an abrupt end. What can you do to ensure that your drive goes according to plan with no interruptions?
The best thing to start off with when trying to understand proper maintenance practices is to get very familiar with the vehicle that you’re driving. This means familiarizing yourself with your owners manual (found in the glove compartment, online or at your dealership) and common issues that other owners have encountered. Your owner’s manual will also have the specifications for every nut, tire, fluid, and filter, so it’s great to have around for reference when buttoning up your vehicle, while online forums might have other things to look out for that you may not have thought of. Your owner’s manual will also list the specific fuel octane recommended by the manufacturer. Lots of people don’t know that buying the most expensive gas isn’t necessarily the best thing for your car depending on the vehicle. If the engine was developed with a low octane fuel. Then you could lose mileage, efficiency, and power by gassing up with a high octane fuel. Get a thorough understanding of your vehicle, it’ll serve you well!
Your engine, transmission, tires, suspension, and chassis are the major components that allow the vehicle to move under its own power. Ensuring that the supporting components for these segments are running properly will debar any issues that would cause you to break down in the future. Starting with tires, inflate them to the specifications found on the place card on the drivers’ side door jam or in the owner’s manual. Remember, if you’ve warmed up the tires (driven over a mile) add an extra 4 psi to account for the difference in pressure caused by heat. The engine oil is the lifeblood of the internal combustion engine, so changing your oil and oil filter frequently goes a long way. Oil lubricates engine parts to prevent premature wear, so making sure your oil is clean and fresh safeguards your engine components. Change your oil slightly before your manufacturer recommends to do so so that you protect your engine from going over the recommended mileage. Though your engine oil is extremely important to engine health, there are other fluids that aren’t to be neglected. Brake fluid, radiator fluid, windshield washer fluid, and transmission fluid should all be accessible by removing a few covers or knowing where to look. This should be done weekly at the least. Make sure your vehicle is fully cooled down or cold if you’re checking your radiator fluid or taking off the radiator cap, as hot steam or fluid can spill out quickly and give you some pretty hefty burns.
Hoses and belts hold your engine together, keep the temperature low, and run most of your accessories inside your vehicle. Without proper maintenance of your hoses and belts, your vehicle could lose the power of its electronics, overheat or choke the engine of air None of which would be pleasant to deal with. Give your engine bay a look over, make sure everything is connected properly, and nothing’s showing obvious signs of wear (cracking, glazing, or material loss). Replace them if need be. You should also check your battery for overflowing acid or lose connections, your air filter to make sure there’s no major obstructions or damage, and make sure your wiper blades are fully intact and do a good job of dispersing water. While not as important as your other fluids and oil, these few things tend to act up and could be detrimental to your commute.
That's our guide to maintenance 101. Understand your vehicle, make sure all of your fluids and tires are topped up and fresh, check your belts and hoses and you should be set to rip your pride and joy down a twisty backroad. If you feel we missed any important component of vehicle maintenance, let us know! We love to hear what our community has to say, so don’t be shy! If you want a vehicle that’s already been inspected with a two-year MVI and a fresh detail, apply on our website, we have financing options for any situation!