Nearly every home in the United States has at least one car to call their own. This is a driving country, always has been. The car has symbolized freedom ever since the first Model T wobbled off the assembly line. Even though our love affair with the automobile has been going strong for over one hundred years, not everyone is aware of the basic vehicle maintenance that can be done to extend the life of your car. So how do you learn about cars? More importantly, what do you need to know to perform basic auto maintenance? Keeping a car for 20 years is now a possibility if you know how to properly care for your vehicle.
The automobile is not a luxury in this country, it is a necessity. We rely on our cars to get us to work, to allow us to do necessary shopping, to get the kids to school, and basically any other activity that takes place outside of our homes. As the car is so tied to our ability to have a successful life, basic vehicle maintenance becomes a necessity for every home. So the question becomes, what qualifies as the basic maintenance every home can take care of and what requires the expertise of a professional? Really, what are the important things to know about cars so basic annual car maintenance can be taken care of without having to go to a professional.
When the topic of basic vehicle maintenance is brought up, what activities come to mind? Changing the oil on a regular basis is something even the most inexperienced car owner can take of. Another simple task is being aware of the fluid levels and making sure nothing runs low. This means not just oil, but anti-freeze, water, brake, and steering fluids. These things to check on your car regularly are easy to maintain by even these least mechanically inclined among us. It also helps to have some familiarity with the common car parts to replace. That way, if something does go wrong, you can have an educated conversation with the mechanic regarding the timing belt or spark plugs, or whatever else need replaced. They may offer all kinds of car service ideas, but if you know a few basic things about cars, you can protect yourself from being taken advantage of.
The average American drives their vehicle just over 10,000 miles annually and will receive an oil change around every 3,000 miles. This is basic knowledge on keeping your engine functioning properly; but did you know depending on the type of oil you use will depict when you actually need to change your oil? An interesting fact is if you use basic cheaper oils for your car, not only will you be required to change the filter and oil more frequently, but your engine will not last as long. Why you ask, well, the cheaper the oil, the dirtier your engine, the more sluggish it becomes due to all the build up. Perform a used car engine checklist on your potential new car. See how it has been treated by the previous owner. If basic annual car maintenance like the oil change has not been done, there is little to no chance you’ll be keeping that car for 20 years.
If you are intending on keeping a car for 20 years, there will be different types of vehicle maintenance you will have to be aware of. Things to consider when you are maintaining your old car are the different types of vehicle maintenance that will be needed and tires to keep you rolling. Car care for your old car may seem like a lot at first, but if you keep up with its basic maintenance you will save more in the long haul. There are a lot of car service ideas that can help your car stay running. Let’s start with the types of tires, this may seem hard to choose because of the various options available but it’s actually quite simple. The most important factor about your tires for your old car is the tread and there is an easy solution to making sure that you are in good standing.
If you take a penny and flip Mr. Lincoln’s head towards the tire, slide the penny between the treads, and as long as his head is covered you are good. Once you notice there is not enough tread to cover Mr. Lincoln’s head, it is time to replace those aging wheels. Don’t allow your tread to start showing little steel wires either; if they have gotten to this point, you do not have any grip on the street and risk not being able to stop in an emergency situation. You, your family, and the safety of others comes before anything else.
Additionally, using synthetic oils for your oil changes will also add to the longevity of your old car. These types of oils not only keep your engine cleaner, but it burns more efficiently. Using synthetic oils will keep the slug off your engine and require less oil and filter changes. It might be a little more in cost upfront, but in the long run will save you hundreds, if not thousands in car repair. This kind of basic auto maintenance is something anyone can do, and can really pay off. These are just the kinds of things to check on your car regularly anyway. Even though many people wonder how to learn about cars, when it comes down to it the types of car maintenance that need to be done are fairly minimal. It would be helpful to know the common car parts that need to be replaced so you can diagnose an issue. However the real key to keeping a car for 20 years is to perform simple basic vehicle maintenance like oil changes. So love your old car and when you work on your car, consider these few small adjustments; it could add jingle to your pocket.