All vehicles require regular maintenance. Some maintenance you can do yourself and avoid the cost of an auto mechanic. Just like ensuring you have the best deal on your auto insurance, performing basic maintenance saves you money. Are you a dedicated do-it-yourselfer? Even if you have never done vehicle maintenance before, most of the tasks outlined below are not difficult to learn.
Replace Your Air Filter
The air filter must be replaced regularly for your air conditioning and heating system to perform correctly. Look at the filter, and if it appears dirty, discolored, or has debris, it is time to replace it. All you need to do is unscrew the cap over the filter, remove the dirty filter, put in the new filter, and replace the cap. You can buy the correct filter for your vehicle at your neighborhood auto parts store, and they will look up your vehicle on their system to ensure you are purchasing the right replacement.
Replace Windshield Wipers
Every six months or so, you should replace your windshield wipers – visibility is a safety issue after all! Refer to your owner’s manual for the correct type of wiper blades for your vehicle or visit your local auto parts store, where they can find it for you. Lift the blades as if you were washing your windshield, and remove the old blades paying close attention to how they attach. There is typically a tab you must press to remove the blade. Secure the new blades, ensuring they are positioned correctly. Wiper blade sets come with easy-to-follow directions if you need to review instructions.
Clean Your Headlights
Your headlights should be clean, clear, and free from dirt, sand, salt, and oil. If your headlights are cloudy, affordable headlight restoration kits are available at auto parts stores and come with directions. However, you can also use toothpaste! Using a clean, damp cloth, add a generous amount of toothpaste and firmly rub the headlight in a circular motion. Add more water and toothpaste as needed, continuing the task until the headlight is clear again, then rinse the toothpaste off.
Replace Cabin Air Filter
Find and purchase the correct cabin air filter for your vehicle at your local auto parts store. Ask an employee there to print the instructions out for you, and they should be happy to help. The cabin air filter is usually found near the glove compartment. Remove the cover, and pull out the filter. Insert the new filter, and replace the cover. Keeping this filter clean helps your air conditioner perform better during the hot summer months.
Touch Up Chipped Paint
You should be able to find touch-up paint to match your vehicle at any auto parts store. Chipped paint can lead to rust, and rust can cause serious damage to the body of your vehicle. Clean the chipped area thoroughly with wax and grease remover, and let it dry. Dab the paint over the chip carefully, without overloading the applicator to ensure it doesn’t run.
Change Your Oil
If you are up for the task, changing your own oil is not difficult. Check your owner’s manual to ensure you purchase the right type and quantity of oil. Your car will need to be raised up on jacks, and you must ensure the vehicle is 100% secure for your own safety! Place a container beneath the oil pan, remove the plug, and drain the old oil. Replace the drain plug, and pour in the fresh oil to the correct level. You are required to recycle the old oil and must never pour it down a drain or throw it in the trash. Auto parts stores typically recycle old oil.
The coolant in your vehicle must be replaced regularly. If the coolant is not changed, it can damage the radiator, heater core, and water pump. For visual instructions, you can watch this YouTube video.
The car’s engine must be entirely cooled before you remove the radiator cap. Remove the radiator cap and place a container beneath the radiator. Loosen the drain plug at the bottom, and allow the coolant to drain. Move the container under the engine and remove the engine drain bolt to remove the remaining coolant in the system. Remove the coolant reservoir and fill it to the indicated max line. Now, add coolant to the radiator until it reaches the top. Turn on your vehicle’s engine for 30 minutes. Take the time to check for leaks, and as the air is eliminated from the system, you may need to add more coolant. Refer to your owner’s guide for the right type of product for your vehicle.
Your Auto Insurance: How to Find the Right Price
We all like to save money, whether while maintaining your car or when buying auto insurance. If you are looking for the best deal, meet with one of our friendly agents. We will gladly help you find the best coverage at the lowest price.