car maintenance basics, DIY car maintenance, regular car maintenance, how to take care of my car, basic car care

Car Maintenance Basics

10 Car Maintenance Basics Everyone Should Know

Owning a car is convenient, until it breaks down, but fortunately, our list of 10 car maintenance basics can help prevent breakdowns and high unexpected repair bills.

Car ownership doesn’t end with just the purchase of a vehicle, but extends all throughout the car’s lifetime. If you wish to enjoy your car for decades to come or if you don’t want it to bog down in the middle of nowhere, you should know the car maintenance basics that you must pay attention to in order to keep your car in tip-top shape.

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Many of these basic maintenance tasks require having a proactive mindset to avert potential car disasters that are normally costly and headache-inducing. Before we get to our list of car maintenance basics, let’s start with what’s in it for you.


The Benefits of Car Maintenance

Before we delve on car maintenance basics, let’s first talk about why car maintenance is important in the first place. Just like any mechanical device, cars have a lot of moving parts that experience normal wear and tear.


Over time, many of these parts simply break down or perform poorly, thus compromising safety and performance.Therefore, it’s critical for you to have your car periodically maintained either through DIY or by a certified mechanic that you trust.


By ensuring that your car is properly maintained, you can expect the following benefits:


Safer travels

Improperly maintained vehicles are essentially rolling coffins, as conditions are ripe for a breakdown while traveling. A defective brake or worn-out brake pads, some loose nuts, old and brittle tires – these and other problematic vehicle parts lead to debilitating or fatal accidents. 


By making sure that your car is periodically and properly maintained, you can expect relatively safer travels from point A to point B.


Lower repair and maintenance costs

Many car owners delay scheduled maintenance checks due to busy schedules or lack of funds. Others are just too lazy to have their cars checked or they simply don’t see any value in having their vehicles maintained periodically. 


Such inability to have one’s car checked and maintained could actually lead to costly repairs and maintenance once big problems arise, which is essentially a waste of one’s hard-earned money. It actually is more cost efficient to have your car cared for by a professional car mechanic to ensure that you’ll have low repair and maintenance costs.


Better performance, more reliable vehicle

It’s almost a no-brainer to discern that a properly maintained vehicle offers better reliability and performance. Whether it’s a long ride out of town or a short drive to the corner store, your car will take you anywhere you want to go, if you treat it right. 


Higher resale value

Old-model cars that still function flawlessly can command relatively higher prices when being sold. Many buyers tend to be picky and naturally prefer second-hand vehicles that are in relatively good running condition and still presentable despite having clocked in a high mileage. 


Whether or not you do intend to put your car up for sale in the near future, you should consider proper maintenance as a sort of insurance. You know, just in case you really need to let go of your car.


Without further adieu, let us present 10 car maintenance basics to help take the stress out of your car ownership responsibilities:

Car Maintenance Basics: Change the Engine Oil Regularly

Getting periodic oil changes is the single, most basic and most important car maintenance task that you should do. To help you schedule your maintenance appointment, owner manuals typically recommend specific engine oil change intervals depending on mileage or length of time from the last oil change.


Running on old oil, or worse yet, with no oil can damage your car’s engine and cause hefty repair bills.  Oil changes are a nuisance, but a necessity. 

Car Maintenance Basics: Change the Spark Plugs

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Spark plugs are critical in the ignition process in your car’s engine. Without them, the engine won’t start and you will go nowhere. Most spark plugs have a 10,000-kilometer life span before needing replacement, but it’s always best to have a spare ready inside your tool box, so you can do a quick replacement if necessary. 


Car Maintenance Basics: Replace the Wiper Blades


If your car’s wiper blades are making that annoying, streaking sound, that’s your cue to change them at once. 


While there are cheap economy blades in most auto parts stores, choose branded blades instead. Value-wise, they last longer and perform better than generic blades, so the few extra dollars you’ll spend will be worth it in the long run.


Car Maintenance Basics: Change the Pads


Brakes are among the most critical components of any vehicle. Brake pads, which bear the brunt of constant braking, normally wear out after some time. 


By changing the pads regularly as well as having other braking system components maintained on schedule, you can ensure quick and ample braking power when needed. It gives you peace of mind knowing that your brakes will work properly at the right time.


Car Maintenance Basics: Replace the Air Filters

Your car’s air filters prevent contaminants like dust and small particles from finding their way into your engine, where they have the potential to cause great damage or performance issues. They are pretty easy to replace and you can do this maintenance task on your own with a few simple tools.

Car Maintenance Basics: Charge or Replace the Battery

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Having your car’s battery die out on you in the most inconvenient time and place is just a horrible thought or experience. You can easily avoid this potential nightmare situation by checking your car’s voltage regularly and charging it when already below normal operating conditions.  Most people are not aware that if the car is left sitting for a long time, the battery will naturally drain.


You can also replace it altogether if you know that there’s already something wrong with it, or the battery is old and normal recharging doesn’t work anymore.


Car Maintenance Basics: Replace Broken or Defective Lights


Your vehicle’s lights not only make you visible on the road, they also inform other drivers which direction you’re going or turning. As such, you have to ensure that your headlights, taillights, and signal lights are working properly. 


Should any of these lights become damaged or defective, be sure to have them replaced immediately, preferably with OEM or original parts.


Car Maintenance Basics: Check Wheel Balance, Alignment, and Tire Condition


Tires ought to be rotated typically every 5,000 miles and replaced when the tread wear indicators tell you that it’s time. Also, the wheels must be aligned and balanced properly to help prolong tire life and prevent accidents.


Car Maintenance Basics: Top Up Engine Coolant and Engine Oil

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Your engine’s coolant and oil levels must be well within the normal range indicated in the owner’s manual. You should check them regularly and top up to the recommended levels if necessary to ensure that your car’s engine will run well.


Car Maintenance Basics: Check the Electricals

There are many documented cases of cars suddenly burning due to faulty electricals, much like in homes and commercial buildings. You should thus have your vehicle’s electrical system checked by your mechanic to ensure that there are no components that could cause vehicle fire.


Let American Auto Care/ASR Do the Work For You

American Auto Care/Automotive Service and Repair of Murrieta offers affordable professional car repair services to residents of Southern California –particularly in Murrieta and nearby cities. 


We guarantee adherence to car maintenance basics from our certified and experienced in-house automotive technicians. Our team of skilled car mechanics take all makes and models, both foreign and domestic. We ensure that your car will run smoothly and safely by providing top-notch maintenance service at a price range that is easy on the budget.


Call us now at (951) 461-2507 to know more about the value-for-money car repair and maintenance services that we provide.


Tags: car maintenance basics, DIY car maintenance, regular car maintenance, how to take care of my car, basic car care