The Short-term and Long-term Checkups Your Car Needs

car maintenance

A vehicle will only run as smoothly as its maintenance. In a perfect world, our cars will continue to work just as they did when they were brand spanking new, but the reality is that cars decrease in performance over time, and it’s incumbent upon us as owners to slow down that process. A 2018 study found that a quarter of 2000 Americans don’t know basic car care and maintenance.

Thankfully, there are plenty of steps we can take to prolong the life and performance of our vehicles, and it’s never too late to start learning. Here is a checklist for the check-ups and tune-ups you need monthly and yearly.

Long Term

Dyno tuning

Dynamometers were engineered as the ultimate performance test for a car. Dyno performance is measured by checking your vehicle’s engine output, including air-fuel mixture, torque, and horsepower. This is a tune-up that significantly improves your car’s performance and efficiency. If you’ve had your car for a few years, this might be an unmissable tune-up, especially if you’re planning on taking your ride on a long road trip and you need it to run as smoothly as it can.

Transmission fluid

Have you ever wondered how all the moving parts inside your machine function properly? This is all thanks to a lubricant called transmission fluid. It doesn’t matter if your car is manual or automatic; you need to have the transmission fluid checked at least once a year to avoid expensive repairs or replacement later on.

Spark plugs

The spark plugs in the engine of your car are responsible for the powering of your vehicle. They work to ignite the gas and air mixture whenever you start your engine. If your spark plugs are malfunctioning, this will cause your car to decrease in power. If not, lose it completely, and your car won’t function at peak capacity.

Coolant fluid exchange

If you want to ensure that your engine remains cool and operates as smoothly as possible for a long time, make sure that your radiator is constantly intact by flushing out your coolant system regularly. This process will help eliminate contaminants that accumulate inside, and it can help ensure that the radiator is only filled to the appropriate level.

Short Term

car waxing

Vehicle waxing

Your car will benefit from being freshly waxed at least once every six months. It’s more than just about keeping your car shiny; it will also help to keep your auto’s paint in good shape and will greatly decrease the odds of rusting, especially since environmental factors like sand, dust, salt, ultraviolet light, and ozone can cause microscopic tears and damage. The wax will help to seal your car’s paint.

Oil and coolant levels

Make sure to check your vehicle’s oil and coolant levels at least once a month. It is good practice to regularly check under the hood of your car to investigate the oil and coolant levels and do this while the engine is cool.

Air filter

Another part you should have inspected regularly is your vehicle’s air filter, which is responsible for ensuring that the air that flows in the machine keeps harmful debris and particulates out. To ensure that your car’s air filter is flowing as it should is to enhance your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. It also helps reduce your car’s emissions and prolong the life of your car’s engine.

Brakes, turn signals, headlights, and parking lights

It’s crucial that all the lights of your car function properly, lest you want to get in trouble with the law. But this is one aspect of our vehicles that often gets overlooked. Make a habit of turning your headlights on at last once a month, and do it while the car is parked in front of a flat and blank surface to ensure that all the headlights are functioning as they should and are positioned properly. Another thing you should check for once a month is your parking lights and signals. Ask someone to stand behind the vehicle as you inspect the brakes to ensure that the brake lights are operational as well.

Seek Professional Help

As studies found, not many Americans know how to care for their cars in basic ways. And with the world entering a climate emergency, we never know if this world will continue to be a welcoming place for our cars. This is why we need to do all that w can to drive safely, care for our cars as much as we can, and seek professional help if we don’t know how to fix it. Good luck and stay safe on the road!

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