You spend a lot of your time in your car. And it probably shows. Fast food wrappers and discarded coffee cups stack up quickly. Today’s busy lives don’t leave much time for car care. That’s often one of the last things on your to-do list. But, it doesn’t have to be. There are ways you can incorporate car care into your routine to help you keep up. Here’s how.
Fill ‘Er Up
You have to get gas, right? Instead of standing around waiting for the tank to fill, use the time to do a little routine car cleaning and maintenance. Keeping up with the little things now saves you time and money later.
- Clean the windshield and side and rear windows. Use the provided squeegee to soak your windshield with cleaning solution. Place the squeegee in the middle top section of the windshield and pull it toward you, moving down as you go. Move to the other side and repeat the process. Repeat the process on the rear window. Soak and clean the side windows. Don’t forget about the headlights.
- Check your tire pressure. You have to stay on top of your tire pressure. Properly inflated tires not only save gas, but are much safer than over- or under-inflated tires. Of course, you have to know the recommended tire pressure before you can determine if your tires are correctly inflated or not. Look in your vehicle owner’s manual to find out. Many cars also include a tire pressure sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door. Don’t rely on the tire sidewall pressure indicator, that’s a maximum pressure requirement for the tire itself, not the ideal reading. Inflate tires when necessary.
One caveat about checking tire pressure when you fill up – don’t bother checking if you driven more than a mile. Tire pressure requirements are cold readings. Hot tires won’t give you the right numbers. That said, don’t put off checking your tire pressure often. It’s important.
- Check your oil. Too low on oil for a long time and you could be saying bye-bye to your car. All those engine parts need lubrication. Take a clean paper towel and grab the engine’s dipstick (it’s typically clearly marked with an image or the word “oil”) and pull it out. Wipe it down with the towel. Put the dipstick back, making sure it’s all the way in. Pull it out again and, without turning it, look at where the oil line is. If oil is within the indicated safe levels, you’re good to go. If it’s low, top it off. Never add more than a quart. You’ll have to wait about five minutes to get going again, so save this task for last.
Essential Maintenance You Just Have to Do
Checking the oil and tire pressure at fill-up time is easy and doesn’t take much time. However, to keep your car in optimum condition, there are additional maintenance routines you have to make time for. Your car is an investment so it makes sense to keep it running well. Your car is also where you and your family spend a significant amount of time. Making sure your car performs safely is no small matter. Here’s what you need to do.
Keep up with the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. Sure, you’re topping the oil off when you need to, but when did you last change the oil? How about the transmission, differential oils and brake fluid? Have you checked the spark plugs lately? Oil changes and tuneups are necessary to keep your car running its best.
And last but not least, give your car a good cleaning inside and out every month or so as well as a waxing every six months. You’ll be surprised how much longer a clean, well-maintained car lasts.