Definitive Guide to Proper Car Maintenance

Definitive Guide to Proper Car Maintenance

Different studies show that about 56% of people don’t know how to change a tire on their vehicle. 44% of car owners don’t take their vehicles to the service when it’s advised. Another 57% of people don’t know what oil change is and why it’s important. There are many more studies that were taken and every single one of them proves something very important— car users aren’t educated enough on vehicle maintenance.

In order for you not to fall under this percentage, you need to educate yourself. Yea, maybe checking tire pressure and knowing how to change it if it goes flat isn’t hard. And you might know how to do that. But, we are 100% that you aren’t aware of some problems which might occur in your care which are directly connected to bad car maintenance. 

Therefore, we created this detailed guide to proper car maintenance. In it, you’ll find everything. We’ll cover every important information about proper car maintenance out there. From safety, mechanical parts, cleaning it and other small details you didn’t even know existed. We got you covered. After reading this article, you’ll probably be able to recognize key car maintenance indicators and do whatever needed for your vehicle by yourself. Also, we’ll include a few interesting tips and tricks which will save you time and money.

In the end, we all know that keeping your car in perfect condition isn’t so easy. So, we will divide this guide into several parts in order to make it easy for you to see important information about this complex topic. After all, if you want to keep your car in good condition and prolong its life you need to keep an eye on it. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of car maintenance and see what can be done in order to keep your car in top condition.

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Why is Car Maintenance Important?

Let’s start this guide with one basic question. Why is exactly car maintenance important? Well, let’s make a comparison with your teeth as an example.

When you are a teenager, your teeth are amazing. You can eat and drink whatever you want, they are pearly white, and so on. They are like brand new. But, as you age, it impacts your teeth as well. They become more brittle and more sensitive to the food or drinks you take.

They might hurt if you drink something cold. Or they get caries which you didn’t have in the past. They also lose the white color they had. Years go by and now you are an elderly person and you maybe don’t have the same number of teeth you had as you were young. They certainly aren’t white as they used to be and you have more issues with them than ever. So, they have their lifetime. Like everything else.

But, if you go to the dentist, brush your teeth regularly, don’t smoke, don’t eat too many sweet products, your teeth will surely be in better condition than if you don’t take care of them. They will probably get worse as time goes by but you’ll extend their lifetime to some extent. 

The same goes for your car. You buy it new and everything works perfectly. But, as time passes, the first problem occurs. It might be the engine, electric, paint job or something else. It doesn’t really matter. The thing is that something will break, that’s just how technology works. No product is perfect. If you don’t do anything about it (comparatively, not brushing your teeth and don’t go to the dentist) your car will have a bad time and the problems it may have won’t go away. It will get worse and worse and at some point, your vehicle will come to the end of the life cycle. 

But, if you maintain it properly, drive it to the service, change the usable parts and so on (brush your teeth and go to the dentist), your vehicle will be thankful. It will remain in good condition for a longer period of time and it won’t break down so easily. It will end its life cycle at some point for sure, but that will be prolonged as much as possible.

Now that we know why car maintenance is important and how it’s related to your teeth, we can talk more about the ways you can prevent it from breaking and going out of service.

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Mechanical Maintenance

The first thing that pops to mind when we talk about overall maintenance is the mechanic of your vehicle. In order for it to behave as it should and drive you around, all the mechanical parts in it need to be in order. Just think of the engine, chassis, gearbox and so on. There is so much stuff going on and we can say that vehicles are really complex.

Chances are not every single mechanical part of your car will work correctly. Sure, it won’t happen that it all fail at once. But, as time passes by, one thing will break after another. You can avoid this by taking your car to regular service. This usually means that you should take your vehicle to a mechanic every 10 thousand miles. Keep in mind that mechanical issues are probably the worst which can happen and based on their nature they can damage your car severely and they often cost a ton of money. 

If you take your car to a mechanic when it is supposed to, you will probably avoid these issues. This is often called “small service” whereas the “big service” is done when you pass 100,000 miles mark. 

On “small service” the professional will usually change all disposable filters like oil and fuel. They will also check how the engine works and if there is some type of leaking. They can also connect OBD connectors which will show if there are any errors that the car computer knows of. All in all, this kind of service will cover everything needed for a basic check-up every once in a while.

It goes without saying that if the “check engine” indicator shows up on the dashboard or if you notice that your vehicle isn’t behaving as it should you would want to go to the mechanic immediately. Don’t overlook such issues and don’t take them for granted or delay checking them. It may not be anything catastrophic but one small problem can turn into a bigger one in no time and make you really hate your car. Which we really want to avoid.

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Car Beauty

The next topic we will talk about is the outside and the inside of the car, normally named interior and exterior. When it comes to mechanical issues, they are in most cases visible to you and only you know they exist. Strangers who pass by your vehicle or spot it on the street will probably have no clue that something is wrong.

On the other hand, if your car is dirty from the outside, the paint isn’t great and the interior looks like rubbish and worn out, everyone will notice it. And that’s something no one likes. Imagine that your friend comes to you and tells you : “Hey man, your car is really dirt you should take more care of it”. That wouldn’t feel nice would it? This is exactly why it is important to maintain both the inside and the outside of your vehicle properly so that your car looks the best it could.

Interior and exterior maintenance is often neglected when we talk about overall car maintenance. Somehow, the main aspect that car users focus on is the mechanical part of it. And that’s okay. Sure, if your engine breaks down, that would be an enormous issue for you. But at the same time, if you neglect the outside and the inside of your vehicle, that can as well damage your car even if you aren’t aware of it.

When we talk about maintaining the interior and the exterior there are a few key points we would like to emphasize:

  • Paint;
  • Overall cleanliness;
  • Inside of the cabin.

Paint and Cleanliness

The paint plays an important role when it comes to the visual aspect of your vehicle. It’s the first thing people notice along with the sole beauty of your car. So, you need to keep it in top condition. How can you do that?

Well, it’s quite simple really. The first thing which comes to mind is washing your car regularly. You can do it in your own backyard with the help of some useful car cleaning tools we talked about in another article, or you can take your vehicle to a professional which will do it for you. Both options are viable, you just need to pick the one which works for you. The one thing which matters is to keep your car clean.

It has been proven that mud, dirt and other junk your car may collect while you drive it can damage the paint of it. Lighter colors are way more vulnerable to this than lighter ones. Also, believe it or not, bird poop has a structure with some kind of acid in it and that can damage your paint as well. 

Of course, the paint will start to come off over time. It’s almost impossible you don’t scratch your vehicle somewhere (we’ll talk more about this later) and the sun can make the color become lighter as well. If that’s the case, normal washing won’t do it. The next best thing is polishing. The polishing process basically takes away a layer from your original paint (don’t panic) and makes all the scratches or some minor damages disappear. You are left with a brand new look of your paint – almost like your car just got out of the factory.

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Interior

Even though it’s inside of your car, the interior shouldn’t be neglected as well. It has been proven that the interior often reflects the personality of the car owner. So if the inside of the cabin is a mess then… Well, you get the point. Anyways, the outside look of your vehicle is just one part of the job. Inside of it is sometimes even more important as that’s the place where you spend the most time when driving. Think of the interior of your car as your second home. You want to keep it nice and spotless right? 

This means you shouldn’t eat or drink when driving. The coffee stains or food which falls under the seat is really hard to get rid of and the cases where different electric parts of the car stopped working because some type of liquid splashed it aren’t so rare as well. If you keep your interior clean and don’t use it as a warehouse for your random stuff you should be okay. We talked about different products that can help you when it comes to those tough stains or just general dirt in different articles.

All in all, if you keep your interior and exterior clean, you’ll have a much better time with your vehicle. And, you’ll probably adore it even more. As a plus, if you want to sell it later you’ll have an easy job, since your car will look brand new. At least from the outside and inside.

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Tires

Tires are the only part of your car which has contact with the surface. Since it’s like that it’s of extreme importance to check your tires on a regular basis. You would be amazed to know how many accidents have occurred directly because the vehicle that was in it didn’t have proper tires.

But, what’s the science behind the tires? Why should we change them from time to time? The answer is complicated but we will try to make it as simple as possible. First of all, there are different types of tires. There are winter and spring ones. Based on the laws of the country you live in, it is mandatory to have one or another type of the tires mentioned in the specific months of the year.

For example, winter tires are usually mandatory from the start of September to the end of March. Now obviously if you live in let’s say Miami where the snowfall is a never occurring activity and where it’s always over 20 degrees this won’t apply to you. But generally speaking, in most countries that have 4 different weather periods, that is the case. In the months between September and March, you are obligated to have spring tires.

And believe us, this isn’t just because your government wants you to spend more money on the tire change. There is a huge safety reason behind all these rules. First of all, we need to distinguish why are winter and regular tires so different. And to do that, let’s use a couple of parameters:

  1. Rubber composition: Winter tires are made from a special rubber that works best in cold temperatures. They are designed to stay the can stay soft when the weather is cold so that they can still have adequate grip and traction. The rubber on regular tires stiffens when it’s cold, which results in a reduction in traction. At the same time, if you use winter tires when it’s hot outside, the rubber that they are made of will basically start to melt and lose its original structure – which means they will become useless over time. 
  2. Tread depth and pattern: Winter tires have deeper tread depth than the regular spring tires. This helps in snow conditions as it reduces snow buildup and helps tires grip even better to the surface. Winter tires also have a unique pattern. These patterns help prevent hydroplaning by pushing the water through the canals. Regular tires have a more shallow tread depth and therefore aren’t really useful in icy and snowy roads.
  3. Biting edges: Winter tires have a series of zig-zag grooves. And as you could probably guess, the regular tires don’t have it. These grooves help the tires grip the surface even better and “bite” the edges.

Now that you know that difference between winter and regular tires isn’t just empty storytelling and that there actually is science behind it you should always use the type of tires meant for the condition you are driving in. What should also be mentioned is that there are so-called “universal” tires. They are something in the middle of the two types mentioned above. Basically good for every weather. Still, we suggest you use the winter and the regular ones as it is supposed. Just to be safe.

Also, keep in mind that every tire has a life cycle. It warns out with driving and it needs to be changed every 10.000 miles. That’s just what is advised. Of course, if you see that your tire is still doing good at it hasn’t changed in texture and the tread depth is above minimum requirements, then you are probably good to go for more miles. But keep an eye on it.

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Driving

This is probably the most important topic in this article. You can fix everything on your vehicle. From engine, gearbox, chassis, paint job, bumper and so on. Everything is fixable – except driving. In order to keep your car in top condition, the first thing you need to do is, believe it or not, drive carefully and under the rules. 

We are all witnesses of how aggressive driving can be fatal for you and the people in your surroundings. Constant car accidents because of speeding, not respecting the road signs and so on. As a matter of fact, some studies show that over 60% of drivers have some sort of car accident in their lifetime. And that number needs to go down.

How? Start with yourself. If you want to avoid constant trips to the car service, scratches, hits, bumper fixes, flat tires and a million other issues, drive carefully. You can’t even imagine how much you can preserve your car if you act according to the driving rules and don’t behave like a maniac.

Studies have shown that drivers who don’t take their foot of the gas and drive aggressively have a higher chance of unexpected mechanical issues. Also, if you hit on a curb or, God forbid, another car, you can damage the chassis and that can be an issue of its own. The damaged metal can also become rusty and loose on its strength which can be very problematic if you happen to be involved in a car accident.

Rust works as a plague meaning it spreads in a blink of an eye. So if one part of your vehicle is rusty, that probably means other parts will become rusty as well in the near future. This means that on the first sign of rust you need to react – in order to protect your car from heavy damage.

Have the Best Car in the Town!

There are so many aspects of car maintenance which we can cover. And it’s such a broad topic that we would need days to cover everything. Therefore, in this article, we picked the most common maintenance issues and we proposed some tips which can help you prolong the lifetime of your car. And why shouldn’t you? It’s not like it’s extremely hard. You just need to take your vehicle to service every once in a while, care for it properly, outside and inside and make sure you are using the right tires and other accessories.

But, the most important thing is to drive carefully. There really isn’t a better way to take care of your car than if you pay attention to how you’re driving. By doing this you can prevent many issues which could occur and both your car and other drivers will be thankful. Keep that in mind the next time you floor the gas pedal.

 

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