Keeping Your Car On the Road: 6 Easy Maintenance Tips to Help Avoid Expensive Repair Bills
A single car repair can cost many hundreds of dollars and make life a lot more difficult in the meantime. Modern cars tend to be extremely reliable, but some drivers find themselves needing to arrange for repairs regardless.
Fortunately, there are some straightforward ways to protect a car against the kinds of dangers that most often cause breakdowns and other problems. Heed the following six maintenance tips and your car will be less likely to require expensive repairs itself.
- Always Keep Fluids Topped Up and in Good Condition
Every car needs to be supplied with fluids like engine oil and coolant that protect it and keep it running smoothly. Should almost any of these important resources get used up, a car can sustain huge amounts of damage quite quickly.
Even when fluids simply deteriorate beyond a certain point, a car can end up being damaged. That can lead to anything from needing to replace a fuel pump to having to overhaul an entire engine, all of which are always best avoided.
Fortunately, even inexperienced drivers can easily learn to check fluid levels and condition. The few minutes it takes to ensure that a car has everything it requires can spare its owner from a huge repair bill.
- Read the Owner’s Manual and Proceed Accordingly
Every manufacturer makes specific, detailed recommendations regarding maintenance. Contrary to what some drivers assume, these almost always account for the various quirks and details that make particular cars unique.
Such prescriptions should normally be listed in a conveniently accessible form in a car’s manual. Taking note of and respecting the recommended service intervals and other advice can keep a car from breaking down.
- Pay Attention to Warning Lights
Just about all modern cars rely on sophisticated, heavily computerized control systems. One particularly useful feature of these setups is that they are able to diagnose many common problems as soon as they begin to develop.
Responding appropriately when a car’s dashboard starts flashing warning lights will almost always limit repair bills. Waiting too long to take action can force a driver to deal with a breakdown and vastly increased repair costs.
- Clean Your Car Regularly
Dirt, grit, and grime can grind away at a car’s moving parts until failure results. Allowing a car to become too dirty and stay that way will encourage wear to accelerate and accumulate.
While it is not generally necessary to keep a car spotless, regular cleaning will help it avoid problems. Over time, the money you spend on cleaning will be repaid by the repairs you avoid.
- Check Belts as Directed
Most cars use various belts to power components like camshafts and fans. Should a belt fail at any time, it can cause a lot of damage in the process. Some engines, for instance, feature valve configurations that can require an engine overhaul if the timing belt snaps. Simply being aware of how a car’s belts are faring and when they will need to be replaced should normally rule such problems out.
- Keep an Eye on Fuel Economy
There are a number of common signs that a car’s condition is deteriorating, even if it does not yet require repairs. Drivers who remain aware of fuel usage rates at all times will be able to spot certain developing problems early on. Even something as simple as taking notes of mileage numbers after each fuel fill-up can provide valuable information.
While car problems cannot always be avoided, drivers who take note of the six maintenance tips above will make them less likely. That will ultimately mean spending less on the kinds of repairs that can otherwise be so expensive.