Essential Car Maintenance
Regular maintenance is essential to keeping your car on the road. A recent report found that the average vehicle in the United States is now more than 11 years old. Whether your car is newer or older, though, you can extend its life by performing some basic maintenance. Here are five maintenance tips to keep your running smoothly long after you purchase it.
#1) Replace Spark Plugs
Spark plugs are small electrical devices that create a spark to get your car's engine running. When exposed to fuel and air, this spark creates combustion, thereby powering your car. Over time, however, spark plugs will degrade and wear out, resulting in less spark, or in some cases, no spark at all. To keep your car running smoothly, replace the spark plugs according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
#2) Change Oil
In addition to replacing the spark plugs, you should also change your car's oil. This is perhaps the single most important form of maintenance for modern-day vehicles. As it travels from the oil to pan to your car's engine and vise-versa, oil collects sediments and particulate matter. If you don't change it, this debris will turn your oil into a sludge-like consistency that can actually damage your engine. You don't have to necessarily change your oil every 3,000 miles, but you should change it every 5,000 miles.
#3) Replace Air Filter
The air filter is responsible for catching and removing particulate matter so that it doesn't end up inside the engine's combustion chamber. Like most filters, though, it will accumulate a significant amount of debris over time. And if you don't replace your car's air filter, this may restrict the amount of air that enters the engine's combustion chamber, resulting in less power.
#4) Maintain Tires
Tires can and will affect your car's handling and performance. If they are underinflated, your car will burn more gas and have poor traction. If they are overinflated, they may blow while driving -- and they'll also have poor traction. Make sure your tires are filled with the recommended PSI of air and have adequate tread left.
#5) Clean Battery Area
When was the last time that you cleaned your car's battery area? If it's been a while -- or if you've never done it -- use a wire scrub brush and baking soda to clean any corrosion on the battery posts and connecting cables.