Car Maintenance: Essential Tips to Avoid Your Car Breaking Down

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    It’s a beautiful Friday afternoon, and you’re driving home and dreaming about the backyard barbecue you have planned. Then, all of the sudden and above the sound of your favorite tunes, you hear an awful sound — and you realize it’s coming from your engine. Your weekend vibe has now turned into a nightmare, with you stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow service and wondering what happened.

    The truth is that staying current on your car maintenance may have meant you were able to avoid this scenario. You just need a few tips to ensure your car’s engine keeps purring along. Here are some things all car owners need to keep in mind for car maintenance tips.

    Car Maintenance Tips

    The Downside of Breakdowns

    You never want to find yourself on the side of the road with a car that isn’t working. From the timing belt and spark plugs to power steering and wipers, there are many things that can go wrong in your car. You need to take care of regular maintenance to ensure you don’t need to face avoidable breakdowns. There are many downsides to breakdowns beyond waiting on a tow truck, too:

    • Small problems can grow into big repairs if you don’t take care of them.
    • Your car isn’t running as efficiently as possible.
    • Regular maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your new car or older model.
    • Regular maintenance can also increase your car’s resale value when you go to sell it.

    The good news is that regular maintenance can make a world of difference, and it doesn’t even take all that much effort.

    Weekly/Bi-Weekly Car Maintenance

    1. Check your oil level.
    If you aren’t driving a new car, you may find that you need to add oil between oil changes. It’s just a matter of checking the dipstick, and it’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking the oil each time you refuel your car.

    2. Check your tire pressure
    You want to check the tire pressure each time you check the oil level, especially if you’ve recently had a large swing in local temperatures.

    Monthly Car Maintenance

    In addition to the items on this checklist, it’s important to customize your car emergency kit with the specific items you would need if you’re ever in an accident or stuck on the side of the road. For example, if you have children, it might be a good idea to include games or crafts to keep them calm and entertained. 

    Check the check engine light.

    If it’s on, you need to find out why and get it fixed. It could be anything from a misfiring timing belt to a problem with the alternator.

    Check all your lights.

    This includes brake lights and parking lights.

    Clean the interior and exterior of the car.

    Take your car through a car wash and give it a good vacuum. This protects the paint as well as the carpets and seats.

    Check the tread, air pressure, and general condition of your tires.

    This will help you avoid unnecessary wearing from too-flat or too-filled tires as well as help prevent unnecessary blowouts.

    Check the fluid level of windshield wiper fluid and replace windshield wipers if worn.

    The last thing you want is to get into the middle of a rain storm and have less-than-optimal wipers or be in dire need of wiper fluid and be out. Both will impair your ability to see on the road (and thus hinder your safety).

    Three Months or 30,000 Miles Car Maintenance

    • Check automatic transmission fluid levels
    • Check hoses and replace if necessary
    • Check power steering fluid levels and refill
    • Check engine light
    • Inspect your car battery and car battery cables
    • Change the engine oil and oil filter
    • Replace fuel filter
    • Inspect the exhaust
    • Check brake fluid levels and refill
    • Check coolant levels and refill to keep the cooling system working properly
    • Check the fluid level of windshield wiper fluid and replace wiper blades if worn
    • Inspect your brake pads and brake system
    • Check all lights, including brake lights and parking lights
    • Check the tread, air pressure, and general condition of your tires

    Six Months or 60,000 Miles Maintenance Schedule

    At least twice a year or every 60,000 miles if you’re driving many, there are car care tips that you shouldn’t avoid. This many miles put a lot of wear and tear on your car, and you need to give it a little loving care to ensure it can make it another 60,000 without the air conditioning going out or the check engine light coming on.

    • Check automatic transmission fluid levels
    • Check hoses and replace if necessary
    • Lubricate the chassis
    • Check power steering fluid levels and refill
    • Check engine light
    • Automatic transmission fluid levels
    • Inspect the car battery and car battery cables
    • Change the engine oil and oil filter
    • Replace fuel filter
    • Inspect the exhaust
    • Check brake fluid levels and refill
    • Clean the interior and exterior of the car with a car wash
    • Polish or wax the car’s exterior: Check the owner’s manual from the dealership to find the correct products to safely use on your new car’s paint job
    • Check coolant levels and refill to keep the cooling system working properly
    • Check the fluid level of windshield wiper fluid and replace wiper blades if worn
    • Inspect your brake pads and brake system
    • Check all lights, including brake lights and parking lights
    • Check the tread, air pressure, and general condition of your tires

    12 Months or 120,000 Miles Car Maintenance

    You’ve made it a year or driven a lot of miles on your car’s engine. Here’s a look at the minimum car maintenance you need at this point:

    • Check automatic transmission fluid levels
    • Check hoses and replace if necessary
    • Inspect the car battery and car battery cables
    • Check the tread, air pressure, and general condition of your tires
    • Check the fluid level of windshield wiper fluid and replace wiper blades if worn
    • Inspect all belts and replace as necessary
    • Replace the cabin air filter to keep your air conditioning blowing cold air
    • Check brake fluid levels and refill
    • Check coolant levels and refill to keep the cooling system working properly
    • Check the fluid level of windshield wiper fluid and replace wiper blades if worn
    • Inspect your brake pads and brake system
    • Check all lights, including brake lights and parking lights
    • Check the tread, air pressure, and general condition of your tires
    • Replace fuel filterInspect the exhaust
    • Inspect and replace spark plugs and air filter

    Bonus Car Maintenance Tip

    Check your owner’s manual to find the manufacturer’s recommendation for the mileage at which you should replace your timing belt. If you do no other maintenance, you must replace your timing belt at the mileage listed in your owner’s manual. Timing belts do major damage to the engine when they break, and your car won’t move again on its own until the work is completed.

    Car Maintenance: Essential Tips to Avoid Your Car Breaking Down 1

    Find a Trusted Car Maintenance Partner

    It’s hard to know who to trust when it comes to car maintenance. Work on the cooling system and replacing brake pads can be expensive, so you need to find a mechanic or car repair shop you know will do great work. Car maintenance is essential to keeping your car in good working order, from replacing wiper blades to air filters and oil filters.

    At Geyers Towing, we’re available to help you any time night or day. We can tow your car to an auto repair shop or winch you out of a ditch, and we also offer roadside assistance to bring you gas or jumpstart your car battery. Contact our towing services experts today to learn more.

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