The attraction of buying a used vehicle outright is, of course, no car payments. But are you taking proper care of your used vehicle? Repairs can be costly and your car’s lifespan short if you let maintenance fall by the wayside.
These days, most vehicles can see mileage as high as 400,000 to 500,000 if properly looked after. The service pros at Certified Automotive consider preventative maintenance one of the smartest ways to keep your vehicle running efficiently.
Here some preventative maintenance guidelines that will help keep your car in the best shape possible:
#1. Change your oil
Regularly changing your engine oil according to your owner’s manual specifications is one of the most important car care tips out there. Oil lubricates the engine, which in turn ensures it runs smoothly and at a consistent temperature. The hotter the engine gets, the higher the strain on the components.
If you run your car without proper oil levels long enough, the engine will seize up and be unusable. Engine restoration and replacement are pricey!
#2. Check your fluids
The first thing to do is familiarize yourself with the location of the fluid reservoirs in your vehicle.
The six essential fluids found in almost every car include oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, and windshield washer fluid.
Almost all have dipsticks or an indicator as to their levels and you should inspect them regularly. Fluids that need changing most frequently are oil and washer fluid.
A quick note, windshield washer fluid almost always will have a dashboard light indicating low fluid levels. Everything else needs manual inspection.
#3. Look after your tires
Tires are pricey; even lower-end models run about 350$ plus taxes per set of four. With that kind of price tag, you’ll want to ensure that they last at least a year or two. Rotate them at least once every six months. Check the tire pressure regularly and fill as needed according to the tire specifications.
Rotating is simply swapping the positions of the front and back tires so that the tread remains even. This is especially important for front-wheel drive vehicles and winter tires.
#4. Check your brakes
A standard hydraulic braking system consists of pads, rotors, calipers, and caliper support. The latter two experience less wear and tear than the pads and rotors do, but still require replacement occasionally.
When you press the brake pedal, the pads adhere to the rotors. This creates friction and heat that will work to stop your vehicle. Yet, this will also wear down on these components over time.
Brake pads usually last anywhere from 6 months to 3 years, depending on the nature of your driving. City drivers will need to have them replaced sooner than those who walk to work and use their car only on weekends.
Rotors need replacing roughly two times less than brake pads do, but it’s not uncommon for the two to need replacing at the same time. Symptoms of brake pad failure include a heavy metallic grinding sound/feel as well as squealing. Symptoms of rotor failure are vibration and an increasingly heavy pulsating as you bring your car to a stop.
Take your car to your local mechanic as soon as you see symptoms of brake failure.
#5. Pre-inspections and check-ups
This is as much a practicality as it is a way to extend your car’s longevity. If your vehicle is older and inspection looms, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your service center to see what will need to be done for your car to be legally on the road. The experts at J&E Tokyo Auto Collision Inc will ensure that your inspection is done with efficiency and attention to detail.
As well, a general check-up once every six months is a practical choice that will help you get ahead of any budding issues with your vehicle.
These are some big-ticket tips when it comes to older vehicle care. Used vehicles can be stressful but rest assured that knowledge is power when it comes to extending the life of your used car.
Always reach out to a trusted mechanic for advice before purchasing a used vehicle.