10 Basic Car Maintenance Tips Every Car Owner Should Know

In 2018, 5.3 million cars were sold in the United States. While many car owners consider buying a car a sign of stable economic status, many of them don’t have full knowledge of basic car maintenance and repairs. 

Keeping up with routine repairs is key in order to extend the life of your vehicle and save money down the line. 

In this article, we’ll go over basic car repairs every owner should know about. 

1. Check the Lights

Although the lights might not seem like a big issue for car owners, it’s important to have these function properly for safety. 

Make sure you take the time every few months to inspect the lights of your car. This is one of the easiest and cheapest car maintenance tips you can do yourself. 

While your car is parked, test all of the lights such as tail lights, brake lights, headlights, and turn signals. Ensuring all the lights work properly on your car will ensure your safety and save you from getting a ticket. 

2. Air Filters

The air you breathe inside your car is important, which is why experts recommend you change the air filter every 12 months or 12,000 miles. 

Changing the air filter is something you can get done when you take your car for an oil change or a routine check. However, if you’re skilled with cars, you can change it yourself. 

A typical air filter costs about $10, and it takes 10 minutes to change. 

3. Oil Change and Fluids Check

Changing the oil and checking the fluids is something your car cannot go without. Depending on your car and how often you drive, most cars need an oil change between every 3,000 to 5,000 miles

Making it a habit of changing the oil will extend the life of your vehicle and save you money on costly repairs. During routine oil changes, your mechanic can also check to make sure all other fluids in your car are topped off. 

4. Battery Maintenance

Most car owners underestimate how important car battery maintenance is. Although your battery will run out of juice eventually, keeping up with it will extend the life. 

If you want your car battery to run smoothly, you need to make sure it has a good connection. Residue can build up and prevent your tire from starting. You can get battery-cleaning fluid at most auto parts stores. Removing the battery and cleaning the connections will extend the life and improve the connection. 

5. Radiator Flush 

If your radiator builds up deposits, it can mess with the cooling system in your car. To keep the radiator in top shape, a radiator flush will do the trick. 

How often you need to replace the radiator fluid will depend on your vehicle. Start by consulting the owner’s manual to get an idea. For the most part, you can get away with flushing the radiator every couple of years. 

6. Windshield Wipers

Although they might not seem as important as tire rotation or oil change, replacing the windshield wipers is also important. If you’re caught in a storm and your windshield wipers don’t work properly, you could put everyone around you in danger. 

Windshield wipers are not only affordable, but they’re also easy to change on your own. You can get them in all auto parts stores, and the instructions are on the back of the package. 

Of course, if you doubt your skills, you can always ask an auto parts store employee to change them for you. While you’re there, don’t forget to check your wiper fluid levels.  

7. Brake Pads

The brake system of your car is one of the most important, which is why you need to pay attention to the brake pads. Most owner’s manuals recommend you change the pads every 20,000 miles. However, if you drive your car every day, and have to brake more often, you might have to replace them more often.

People who live in the city and have to deal with a lot of traffic and stop more often should consider changing the pads more often.

Replacing the brake pads is a fast and relatively inexpensive process. 

8. Fuel Filter Replacement

Spending about $20 to replace the fuel filter can save you a lot of money on a fuel filter. Most experts recommend owners change the fuel filter annually to keep it in top shape. 

While this is a fast and inexpensive replacement, it’s a more advanced project not recommended for DIY. A professional can take care of the fuel filter when you take the car in for maintenance. 

9. Tire Pressure 

Keeping your tires in good shape is essential for your safety and of others on the road. With only a few tire maintenance tips, you can prolong the life of your tires and ensure your safety on the road. 

The first thing you can do is to check the tire pressure. This is something that you can do yourself without a mechanic. You will find the correct tire pressure for your car either in the owner’s manual or the tire placard located on the doorjamb. 

Experts also recommend getting your tires rotated every 6,000 or 8,000 miles. You can get your tires rotated when you take your car in for oil changes. A mechanic can also inspect the alignment of your tires. 

10. Regular Checkups 

Aside from all the tips included in this list, car owners should take their car to a mechanic for a general checkup. If you bought the car at a dealership, they might send you a reminder in the mail to take your car for a checkup. 

During these checkups, they might inspect the car exhaust, flush the cooling system, and replace any parts needed, such as brakes, valves, and hoses. 

Regular checkups are in general pretty low cost and can ensure your car is in great shape for years to come. 

These are Basic Car Maintenance Tips Everyone Should Know About

Now that you know about these basic car repairs, you can keep your car in top shape for many years to come. 

Remember to rotate your tires, change the oil, replace the brake pads, and more. 

If you want to learn more tips, check out the rest of our blog.