Completing basic car maintenance on your vehicle is something that is always worth the time and the money. If we were to ask you right now what the next maintenance item coming up for your vehicle is, would you know? Has your car been giving you signals that maintenance is need? For many vehicle owners, we assuming that if our car is running and the radio is working then everything is just fine under the hood. Making assumptions like this can often turn out to be costly assumptions as small problems that could be fixed during basic maintenance turn into big problems.
Basic car maintenance takes a proactive approach to keeping your vehicle in good shape. You can’t simply wait for the check engine light to come on or for your car not to start one morning if you want to be proactive in maintaining your vehicle. The basic car maintenance we suggest can be done in conjunction with your regular oil changes and only involve simple inspections. Doing these inspections along with your oil change can help you to remember when they’re due but can also make sure you catch problems before they turn into big issues.
The basic car maintenance inspections we recommend include:
- Driving Inspection
- Tire Inspection
- Suspension Inspection
- Engine Inspection
Start your inspections off with a driving inspection. This can be done on your way to get your oil changed and starts with turning the radio off. Take time to listen to the noises your car makes. Does it squeak, squeal or clunk? Does it grind, whine or hum? All of these sounds can help you catch problems starting early so you can get them fixed before they cause more damage. Make sure you feel and listen for these problems at high and low speeds, in straight lines and in corners and when the car is cold and warmed up.
Next, park your car and walk around it. Start by checking the body for damage you hadn’t previously noticed. Then, take a look at your tires. Is the tread getting low? Is the tread wear normal or is it worse on the inside or outside of the tire? Has the tread started to cup or cross wear? Your tread can tell you a lot about the conditioning of your suspension and if it’s time to get your tires rotated.
Speaking of suspension, many of the noises described above can come from your suspension components like your shocks, sway bars or control arms. Worn or broken components can cause squeaks, clunks and creaks on rough roads or during breaking. You may have to crawl under your vehicle to inspect some of these components but it’s worth catching worn or broken joints early as they can significantly affect the handling of your car and cause bigger problems as they continue to wear.
Lastly, inspect your engine. First, start the engine and listen to it run. Does it tick, clunk or rattle? Can you spot any active leaks, loose belts, or broken wires or hoses? You can then turn your engine off and let it cool. Once things are cool, check for leaks. You can use a flash light to inspect hard to see areas and check for drips or puddles on the ground. Use a rag or shop cloth to wipe down areas to try and discover the source of a leak.
Most oil leaks start off small but can quickly develop it to large leaks that can leave your engine dirty and dangerously low on oil. If you discover any oil leaks in your engine during your basic car maintenance inspections, add BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak to your new engine oil. BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak is safe to leave in your oil until your next oil change and will restore the seals in your engine stopping your leaks and keeping your engine safe.
- Advance Auto Parts
- Bennett Auto Supply
- CarQuest Auto parts
- NAPA Auto Parts
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- Pep Boys
- Fast Track
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
- S&E Quick Lube Distributer
- DYK Automotive
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