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If you own a car, you already know how expensive repairs can be. However, if you maintain it properly, you can identify and fix minor issues on time before they exacerbate and become too costly to repair. Taking your car periodically for maintenance is essential to ensure it remains in a safe and roadworthy condition for an extended period.
Most vehicle dealerships require you to get affordable car insurance to reduce financial liability associated with major mechanical repairs or damages caused by natural disasters or an incident. While insurances are available to cover expenses, you must familiarize yourself with car mechanics to avoid any expensive repair costs in the future.
Statistics reveal about four in 10 Americans avoid taking their cars to mechanics. However, delaying maintenance can only lead to expensive costs down the lane.Here is a comprehensive guide to car maintenance and repair:
Understand Different Parts of Your Car
You must understand the function of different car parts, such as the engine, brakes, or suspension, so you can easily pick up your car’s warning signs and troubleshoot any parts that need attention. Review the following car parts regularly for optimal performance:
- The Engine
The engine is the heart of a vehicle, with its combustion channel affecting the overall functioning of the car. Check engine lights that will illuminate to indicate significant problems in your car system, such as bad spark plug wires or faulty oxygen sensors. If you hear knocking, popping, or spitting sounds, promptly schedule an appointment with the mechanic.
- The Brakes
Brakes are an essential safety system in your car that you must maintain well to avoid accidents. Inspect your brakes visually and ensure they do not sink to the floorboard or pulsate before they function. If you hear any grinding or screeching sound, or if you feel a pulse or vibration in the brake pedals, you should take your car to a mechanic.
- The Tires
Tires keep your car on the road, so you should ensure they are always properly inflated and aligned. To check if tires need replacement, conduct the “Penny Test,” which involves keeping a penny sticking a penny inside a tire’s treads. If Lincoln’s head on the penny does not disappear between the ribs, your tires are worn out and need replacement.
Car Maintenance Tips
You should follow these general tips to ensure your car remains in a stable condition for an extended time.
1. Read Your Owner’s Manual
A manual is a valuable guide to handling car needs that ensure desired performance and durability. It includes information on specific repair techniques for your car to avoid damages that may dent your finances. It may also include information on tuning your first-time car purchase.
These customized settings ensure your car is according to your preferences, so you are comfortable driving it and can prevent any distractions that could lead to costly repairs. Additionally, the car manual lists information on safety features, such as engine lights, turning signals, wiper usage, or airbags to inform you of the options you have.
2. Use Appropriate Repair Products
To keep your car running smoothly, you must use repair products specifically designed for repair and maintenance. Some of the products you can use are listed below.
- Car waxes and polishes are essential to fill scratches and swirl on your car’s body with a protective coating. This helps protect your car from muck while enhancing its aesthetics.
- Engine degreasers help remove oil, dirt, and grease from engines, preventing overheating and engine failure due to the build-up of these substances. This product can help you avoid costly expenses in the long run.
- Car lubricants are essential to reduce friction between the metallic parts that rub against each other. These include steering fluid, compressor oil, suspension fluid, and antifreeze, and are essential to reduce energy lost due to friction while promoting ultimate efficiency and performance.
- Car battery chargers can allow you to save battery, repair, and towing costs. If the battery falls below 20%, it may overheat and permanently damage the electric circuits. With a charger, you can avoid a flat battery.
3. Practice Safety Precautions
When repairing your car, follow safety precautions to avoid injuring yourself from sharp tools or car parts that can cut your finger or chemicals that can cause skin irritation. Use gloves and goggles if you want to work on your car yourself, or take it to a professional with the equipment and the expertise to perform the required tasks. Some steps you must consider when performing maintenance and repair tasks are as follows:
- Clean-up spills immediately: Spillage oil or radiator fluid is common during automotive repair. Make sure you clean up the spills immediately because if left on the floor, it can cause you to slip and injure yourself seriously.
- Sweep your floors regularly: If you perform maintenance tasks in your garage, sweep your floor to avoid inhaling dirt particles and chemical residues. These harmful substances can cause respiratory issues like asthma or allergic reactions like flu or coughing.
- Wear sturdy work boots: Most mechanics wear boots to protect their feet from heavy tools or parts falling, possibly leading to fractures or severe muscle injuries. These boots are slip resistant, so they’ll let you stay steady on the greasy surface.
- Use protective eyewear: Appropriate eyewear is necessary to prevent harmful substances from blowing into your eye. When repairing your car, you may have to bend over or be up close to the car, which makes you susceptible to injury caused by dust or dripping fluids. Safety glasses are a great way to ensure eye protection.
- Proper electrical safety: Ensure you cut the power off before working on the vehicle to avoid getting an electrical shock. When performing electrical repairing tasks, you are susceptible to hazards like arc flash and shock that can be fatal. Make sure to wear insulated rubber gloves to prevent electric shocks and burns.
Car maintenance and repair are necessary to ensure your vehicle’s longevity. If you are careless about vehicle maintenance and repair tasks, your vehicle may develop major faults like engine failure over time.
A poorly maintained vehicle with dysfunctional brakes, engine, suspension, or steering increases your risk of serious accidents. This will compromise your and your passenger’s safety.
Ensure regular vehicle maintenance, such as oil changes, lubrication, and scheduled parts replacement, to keep your car in good working order. You can consult a mechanic or perform the tasks yourself if you have the necessary tools and equipment.
See if your insurance covers the maintenance costs, and then decide how you want to keep your car up to par. Cars are a liability and not a one-time investment. So, check your vehicle’s functional parts regularly to avoid additional expenses.