Nearly all teenagers (and in this day and age, many millennials) dream of the day when they can move out of their parents’ abode. However, your first time living on your own is far from easy street. Suddenly, you are responsible for keeping the roof over your head, the lights on, groceries in the cupboard, and other necessities. One thing that you absolutely must not be negligent about is vehicle maintenance. If you fail to take care of these simple tasks, you may end up having to walk and (shudder) take the bus far before your vehicle has reached its retirement age.
The tires on your vehicle should be checked at least once a month to ensure that there is still ample tread left (most states have laws in place that dictate how low a tread can be legally and when it is time to invest in new rubber!) It’s a good idea to check the amount of air in each tire, matching it to the manufacturer’s suggested amount on the side of the tire. Depending on how much you shelled out for them, your tires life span may vary, but on average, you can expect to get 40-50,000 miles out of a mid-range tire. When you get your oil changed, you should get your tires rotated. An alignment couldn’t hurt either, so if your preferred auto shop has an alignment machine for sale, make sure your car gets use out of it first.
It has now become outdated knowledge that one is supposed to change their car’s oil approximately every 3,000 miles. Most modern cars can go 5,000 or 10,000 miles between oil changes, so check with your manufacturer or your owner’s manual, so you can be sure to be performing just the right amount of maintenance. Don’t ignore other fluids in your car either. You may want to check up on your transmission fluid and coolant as well. These are also essential and may need to be topped off or even replaced to prevent issues.
Since these are the parts that are responsible for keeping your car stopping on a dime (or not), it’s a good idea to drive defensively, and be aware of your brakes stopping power. The harder you are on your brakes, the quicker they will wear out. Squeaking sound from your brakes can also be an indicator they are weak. Be aware of the sounds your car is making each time you drive it to keep up on any issues or maintenance.
Most car manufacturers recommend changing your vehicle’s air filter approximately every 5,000 miles, but similar to the oil change rule, you should double check with your owner’s manual before doing so. A worn-out air filter can negatively impact your gas mileage, engine health, and horsepower.
These are just four of the essential maintenance tasks that you should be aware of as a vehicle owner out on your own, but they are far from a complete list. A car has many complicated parts to be aware of as well. Be a responsible owner and make sure you are doing regular maintenance.