You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to know about your car. In fact, basic knowledge of good car maintenance will make your car last longer, run smoother, you’ll save money, and it will help keep you and your family safer. With June being National Safety Month, it’s a good time to make sure you’re following these five basic car maintenance guidelines.
FIVE Basic Car Maintenance Guidelines
Change your oil every 5,000 to 7,000 miles
Regular oil changes can keep the engine running smoothly. Since most cars use synthetic oil, this doesn’t need to be changed as often. Check your car’s instruction manual to see the how often you should do an oil change as suggested by the manufacturer (and not according to what they put on that sticker in the upper left corner last time). Use this opportunity to top off other fluids and to check the condition of your air filter.
Replace your headlight bulbs before burning out
Many people only think about changing their headlight bulbs when one burns out. That’s too late. Headlight bulbs dim over time, meaning you have less visibility at night and run the risk of not seeing obstacles soon enough to avoid them — SCARY! So make sure to change these every so many years. Also, you should replace the bulbs in both headlights for even lighting. If you’re not sure how to do it yourself, check out this video tutorial.
You may want to consider using SYLVANIA SilverStar® ULTRA headlights. Within the product line, these headlight bulbs offer the brightest downroad light, more clarity to increase side road and peripheral visibility, and they emit a whiter light for greater contrast of objects. The SilverStar Ultra headlight also provide superior night vision.
Check the tires regularly
Only a small portion of each tire actually makes contact with the ground. So, you obviously want to maximize that space through good tire care (essential when turning, on inclines, or braking). Periodically, check the air pressure and fill as needed. Have the tires rotated and balanced for even tire wear. Have the shop peek at your brake pads at the same time so you’ll know when it’s time to replace those. If your car veers to the left or right when you take your hands off the wheels, you might be due to have your tired aligned.
Keep on eye on the tire tread (raised surfaces on the outside of the tire) to see when your tires need to be replaced using the “penny” trick. I’ve been meaning to do a full post on this but, in the meantime, just insert a penny with the head going in first. If you can still see the tip of the head sticking out, then it’s time to replace the tires.
Don’t procrastinate with scheduled tune-ups
Your manual will outline your scheduled services for you. Make sure to follow those mile thresholds so your belts, cables, spark plugs, etc. are performing how they should be. Better to be safe than sorry and pay for the maintenance now instead of having to deal with the big bucks of damage when something breaks later on. Oh, and don’t ignore those dashboard warning lights either! It could just be a setting that has to be fixed or it could be a sign of something serious.
Change out the windshield wipers
When your wipers start to leave streaks on your windshield, it’s time to get new ones. Of course, this is especially true during the rainy season, but you actually need a clear view of the road at all times. Pollen, dirt, and bugs will need to be cleaned off in between car washes using the windshield washer fluid and wipers. But, streaks left from worn out wipers can obstruct your view and, if the sun is shining directly on them, can even momentarily blind you.
Why Every Woman Should Care
Whether we are driving our cars to work, to school, on vacation, while doing errands, or to escort the kids to school and their extracurricular activities, being mindful of road safety is one thing we cannot take for granted. As National Safety Month is in full swing, why not make it a point to take some time out to care for your vehicle. In the long run, these basic car maintenance tips will save you time, money, headaches, and maybe even your life. Safe driving!
I am being compensated for my participation in SYLVANIA’s #TravelSafe campaign. All opinions are my own.