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Basic Car Maintenance Made Easy

Even though all new cars benefit from a multi-year warranty, keeping up with routine maintenance is one of the most important activities in the post-buying period in order to have a fully-functional and shiny-looking car just like those in dealerships. Some people believe that doing the annual service checks as recommended in the car manual is enough to remain on the safe side but, trust us, it isn’t.

Remember the old saying “it’s better to prevent that to heal”? Well, it is 100 percent true when talking about cars because spending five minutes to check certain things can save you from nerve-racking hours spent in a service center. So, here are the most important aspects you should take in consideration when doing basic car maintenance:

First of all, you should check the oil level. Basically, the whole job can be done in two easy steps: pull the dipstick (it’s easy to find it – in new cars it is usually painted in a bright color such as yellow, green or red) and clean it with a tissue. Insert it back into its place and pull it again. The oil level should be anywhere between the low and the full limits embossed on the
dipstick. In case it’s not, you should top it up with the same type of oil or go to a service center for a quick check.

Also, the oil color tells you a lot of things about the actual status of the oil. For instance, if it’s black, you should change the whole oil as soon as possible. In case it has a white hue, it may signal an engine problem as the oil may get in touch with another mixture or fluid.

Now that the oil level is OK, let’s proceed with t tires. Pressure and tread depth are two of the most important attributes of car tires and checking them shouldn’t be a problem for any of you. All you need is a pressure gauge and an air pump to check the pressure or to reach the proper one in case it is below or above the recommended limit. The tire tread depth should be checked for your own safety (you should really read all those weird notations embossed on the tire – for more information, check out this article). Vibrations, uneven tire wear and irregular noises are signs of advanced wearing and usually require a service check.

A simple yet important tip concerns the shock absorbers which can be easily verified without skills of a mechanic. The best way to test them is to quickly push down on each corner on the car and release. If the car body comes to the initial position, the shock absorbers are likely to be fully-functional. In case it doesn’t, you should go to the service center for a professional opinion.

Checking the lights is surely one of the main things you should do by yourself without the need for professional assistance. Nobody likes to see an one-eyed car during the night, that’s for sure. In case you’re all alone, you could get closer to a wall or a glass surface and turn on the lights one by one. A similar method can be used for the taillights and brake lights only that you have to check them by looking into the mirror. If one of your light bulbs doesn’t work, you can replace them by following the guides published into our “How to” section.

Last but not least, wash your car regularly, especially during winter. The anti-skidding mixture plus sand and snow may damage the paint and the exterior look of the car. Always remember to use recommended products that protect the body without damaging or scratching the surface.

In conclusion, don’t forget that reading the car manual or paying a visit to the authorized service center may save you a lot more than time and money. And if case you have other basic car maintenance tips, feel free to add.


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