How to Take Care of Your Car to Keep it Taking Care of You

by Admin - Posted 1 year ago

It’s late on a cold winter night. Maybe you’re clocking out from work, or saying goodbye to your friends after a night out. The parking lot is almost empty as you walk to your car and scrape the frost off the windshield. You can see your breath as you climb in the driver seat and fumble to put on the seat belt with your gloves on. You hit the ignition and… nothing. You instantly start to panic. Why didn’t you listen to your friend and get your car tuned up before winter? How are you going to get home now? How long is it going to take for someone to show up and pick you up?


It’s moments like these when we realize how important our vehicles are. It’s easy to take them for granted when they’re working like they should. But neglecting regular maintenance of your car for too long can leave you stranded and at the mercy of the tow truck driver. Many people might think you need to be a mechanic to keep up on your car’s maintenance, but that’s not always the case. The truth is, there’s a few simple and inexpensive things you can do to take care of your car, so the odds are in your favor that your car keeps taking care of you.


Change Your Oil and Oil Filter


If you only take one thing away from this article, it should be this. Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. Without it, your car’s engine would seize up within seconds and require a complete overhaul to ever run again. Over time, dirt and grime from burning gasoline build up in your oil, making it thick and increasingly ineffective at keeping your engine running properly. The only way to fix this is to change your oil.


While new full-synthetic and synthetic-blend oils can last longer than traditional oil used to, Consumer Reports recommends you still change your oil at least twice a year. And if you put a lot of miles on your car, you might even require new oil more often. To be safe, check your owner’s manual.


Check Your Battery


Car batteries are mysterious things. After years of starting your car right up without a single issue, they can suddenly die and leave you stranded (it is an unwritten rule that car batteries never die when you’re at home).


Know how long your battery is meant to last. You can determine this by finding out how long your battery’s warranty is good for. Depending on the quality of the battery, this will usually be between 2-4 years. If you’re out of warranty, the cost of installing a new battery is always cheaper than the cost of a tow truck plus a new battery. Regularly check your battery terminals for corrosion buildup. And if you see corrosion, use a wire brush to scrub the terminals clean.


If you’re unsure of the life of your car battery, most auto parts stores will perform a free check for you to let you know how much juice you have left.


Check your Tires


Your car’s tires are literally where the rubber meets the road. Tires are expensive to replace, but if you let them get old and worn, they could blow out on the highway and cause a serious accident- not to mention, total your ride.


An easy way to check the remaining life of your tires is to put a penny head-first into the grooves of your tires’ treads. If you can still see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.


To get the most out of your tires, keep them properly inflated and rotate them according to your owner’s manual.


Listen to Your Brakes


We all know brakes are important, because if you can’t stop your car when you need to then that’s a big problem. What you might not know is that brakes have a built-in indicator to let you know when they need to be serviced.


When brake pads reach the point where they are worn enough to need replacing, a small piece of metal is exposed and touches the rotor. When you just barely step on your brakes and hear a high-pitched squealing sound that goes away when you press down harder, this is the sound of your brakes telling you to change your brake pads.


Brake pads are cheap to have replaced. But if you ignore the squealing sounds for too long, you’ll also need to replace the rotors and calipers. If this happens, what should be a cheap maintenance job just got much more expensive.


At Cincinnati Auto Credit, we’ve created a different type of car-buying experience from the one you’ll find at most other dealerships. If you have questions about maintaining your car, or if you’re ready for a new car to keep well-maintained, we invite you to contact us today.