Automobile maintenance is probably one of the most often overlooked parts of owning a car. Today’s complicated vehicles have more moving parts than ever.
Even though they tend to be much more reliable than in years past, they still don’t take care of themselves. Certain things have to be replaced or adjusted as time goes on.
Whether you do it yourself or take it to a mechanic is up to you. But if left ignored, vehicle maintenance quickly turns into prohibitively expensive vehicle repairs.
Fortunately, whether you drive an old clunker or one of the world’s greatest sports cars, there are lots of relatively inexpensive things you can do to keep your car running reliably for many years to come.
Don’t forget to check your vehicle owner’s manual. This guide is not meant to replace its factory-specified maintenance schedule.
There’s a lot of confusion about how to keep your vehicles power system in tip top shape. Truthfully, for most vehicles, there isn’t a whole lot to it.
One of the most common causes of internal drivetrain damage is a lack of lubrication. Be sure to change all your car’s fluids regularly. Whether it’s the engine, the transmission, or one of countless other miscellaneous drivetrain components, if it has fluid inside, it must be changed periodically.
Another common cause of engine damage is broken belts. Most engines have two belts. One for engine timing and another to power it’s support systems.
If either one of these fail while running it can cause major, sometimes permanent damage. Replacing these belts before they break costs pennies on the dollar compared to engine repair or replacement.
Modern car suspensions are based largely on ball and socket type joints. Once these wear out, much of the car’s suspension has to be overhauled and realigned. In many cases the joints can be greased without any disassembly required. If done regularly, this simple procedure costs almost nothing and can drastically increase the lifespan of your vehicles suspension system.
Brakes are made of consumable materials. Period. There’s no way around it. By design, major components grind together in an effort to create as much friction as possible.
It’s like dragging your shoes to stop a bicycle. Eventually all the rubber wears off your sneakers. When this happens with brake components the consequences can be devastating.
And while having your brakes serviced by a professional can cost many hundreds of dollars, it’s cheaper than repairing crash damage, paying medical bills, and losing lawsuits. Think about it.
Automotive maintenance and repairs are a couple of things you can toss a nearly unlimited amount of money at. Even more so if you ignore them entirely.
While by no means an all-inclusive guide to maintaining a car, the ideas outlined above can add many years of service life to you and you vehicle with a minimal financial investment. Few of us can afford to just throw money away, but that doesn’t mean we can get away with never spending ANY of it either.
Next time you get the chance, take the opportunity to fix up your car a little bit. All the people you share the road with will thank you. And your trusty transportation, whether it’s a hot rod, an exotic supercar, or an old rustbucket you got from the guy down the street, just might last longer than you ever thought possible.
photo: google images, zdenek ryzner