Cars offer a means of transportation to go wherever you want, whenever you want. While it’s sometimes convenient to take a train or bus, owning a car allows you the freedom to pick up and go in minutes. However, cars can also add expenses to your life, mainly if you depend on them heavily. Next thing you know, your tire popped, or your windshield cracked, costing you some money. Here are five budget-friendly car maintenance tips to know to prevent you from running into problems.
Maintain Your Car Fluids
An essential budget-friendly car maintenance tip is to keep an eye on your car fluids. This means you must clean and fill your vehicle’s coolant, oil, transmission, brake fluid, and power steering fluids regularly.
As for engine oil, don’t let it get dirty. Foreign contaminants can permanently damage the engine. If you have an older car, change out the oil every 5,000 miles or every six months. As for newer cars, you can push them to about 7,500 miles. Fluids keep the car moving, functional, and lubricated.
Keep Your Vehicle Clean
Bird droppings, salt residue, kicked-up dirt, and oil can all make your car look disheveled and worn down. It goes the same way for the interior; crumbs, hair, and dust build up over time. Develop a consistent cleaning schedule. Regular washing will keep your car paint from fading and prevent chips or cracks in the exterior. As for your interior, clean it on a seasonal basis with a car vacuum, fabric or leather cleaner, and a microfiber cloth. You want your car to smell and look clean all year round.
Listen for Odd Noises
You probably enjoy some tunes, a podcast, or the daily news on your commutes. Listening to something keeps you entertained during long or repetitive drives. However, turn down the music from time to time to listen for any odd sounds coming from your vehicle.
Grinding when you brake, creaking, whining, and squealing are signs of problems that may require you to replace your belt, brake pads, suspension, or another part. Take your car to a trusted mechanic to diagnose any issues early before they spiral out of control.
Watch Your Tires
Tires tend to get ignored the most when it comes to car maintenance. Worn down or underinflated tires can impact numerous driving functions, such as braking and alignment. You can perform the penny test at home to determine the tread in your tires. Stick a penny into the tread channel with the top of President Lincoln’s head directed toward the tire. If you see the top of his head when you look from the side, your tires need to be replaced.
Monitor Your Dashboard Warning Lights
Your vehicle’s dashboard will often indicate any issues or oddities. Each light indicates a problem that requires a professional mechanic’s opinion. Your owner’s manual will help you identify what each light means and the steps to follow before it’s too late. By monitoring your dashboard lights, you’ll repair minor problems early so you won’t have to spend thousands later on severe damages.