The Ultimate Car Maintenance and Repairs Guide
Are you looking for ways to make sure your car is running at its best and will maximize its useful life? To ensure you car is running smoothly and to prevent expensive repairs in the future, you need to be performing regular car maintenance and repairs on your vehicle.
If you aren’t very handy when it comes to cars, don’t fret. There are plenty of basic car maintenance checks you can do yourself. These easy tasks can be performed by anyone and will save you a lot of money in repairs. You can ensure you car is running great at all times with the right amount of maintenance.
This guide will teach you the importance of Car Maintenance and Repairs, how often you should do car maintenance services, basic car maintenance you can do yourself, and more expert level car maintenance if you are feeling confident in your skills.
The Basics of Car Maintenance and Repairs
What is car maintenance? Car maintenance is where you routinely check the health of your vehicle in order to prevent future damage. Car Maintenance basics include topping up any fluids, looking for any signs of damage or wear and tear and just ensuring you vehicle is running smoothly.
If you can form a habit of regularly performing maintenance or repairs on your vehicle, then you will go a long way towards avoiding expensive breakdowns in the future and extending the longevity of your vehicle's life.
Even if you have no experience dealing with cars, you will be able to perform basic car maintenance. All you need to do is follow the vehicle maintenance schedule outlined in your owner's manual.
You need regular car maintenance to ensure the longevity of your vehicle. You want it to be running at its best for as long as possible and not have it break down on you constantly. To do this, some basic car maintenance and repairs you can do yourself are:
● Battery Service
● Changing Brake Pads
● Check Belts and Hoses
● Checking Coolant and Other Fluids
● Oil + Oil Filter
● Replacing Windscreen Wipers
The last thing you need is a car that won’t start because the battery is dead. By carrying out a 10-minute battery maintenance check you will avoid finding yourself stranded needing a jump start. First you will need to clean the cables and connection points on your battery, then if you have a battery tester measure its condition and charge, tighten any loose screws or clamps around the battery. Doing these few things will help you avoid that expensive tow charge and mechanic service.
Check Belts and Hoses
If your belts or hoses fail at any time you can overheat your engine, lose your cooling system, lose power steering, and cause serious damage to your vehicle that will be expensive to repair.
Some basic car maintenance will help to prevent serious damage and potentially save you lots of money on future repairs.
To avoid any of these things happening, check your hoses and belts regularly. Be sure to do it when the engine is cool. To do this all you need to do is lightly squeeze the hoses near the clamps. Feel for soft or mushy spots. Inspect for any bulges, cracks, holes or fraying points. A good hose should be firm to the touch yet pliable.
Changing Brake Pads
Your brake pads are what is going to stop your vehicle in a hurry. If they are not in good condition, instead of stopping, your car could be rear ending the vehicle in front of you. Brake pads are the direct point of contact between your wheels and brake system.
Brake pads are one of the auto parts on your car that deteriorate the fastest. Brake pads require someone the most frequent car maintenance services. Your brake pads deteriorate due to the heat and friction caused when braking. If you are looking for a more detailed look at when to change your brake pads, this article will help.
When you perform your basic car maintenance routines, you need to include a regular brake pad check. You can do this by removing your tires and assessing the wear and tear on each pad. If you do find damage then replace them immediately, you can find a wide range of auto parts for your car here.
Changing Windscreen Wipers
One of the most simple ways to tell if your windscreen wipers need to be replaced is by assessing how effective they are when you are using them.
When it's raining or snowing and you are using your window wipers, can you clearly see the road? Do the blades leave smears or grime after each wipe? If you said yes to these it's time to replace your windshield blades.
Another way to perform basic car maintenance on your windscreen is just to do a visual check, if you notice cracks or wear and tear on the rubber of the blades, it's time for a new set of wipers.
Have a read of our in depth guide on When to Change Brakes and Wipers on your vehicle for more information. .
Oil + Oil Filter
Oil is your engine’s life blood. It serves as a lubricant, keeping important engine parts from grinding against each other and destroying the engine. It will damage your engine if the right amount of oil level is not maintained. It causes friction in your engine as parts rub together non-lubricated.
Your tires are the only thing that separates you from the road. You have to ensure they are well inflated to protect you from blowout or accident. Most people have a rough idea on how to put air in your tires but may not know what the correct tire pressure is. Check your owners manual for the right tire pressure for your car. It will make your tires last longer and is a great way to make your car more fuel-efficient.
Checking Coolant and Other Fluids
Oil is not the only fluids you need to check in your car. There is also coolant, transmission, brake, and washer fluids. Much like when you are checking the oil you will use a dipstick to determine the fluid levels. If it is below the recommended level you can add the required fluids.
For more on Car Maintenance basics that anyone can do, give this article a read.
How Often Should You Do Car Maintenance and Repair?
If you want to ensure that your car is running smoothly year round and is well taken care of, then you may be wondering how often you need to do your car maintenance and repairs? Regular car maintenance can help keep your vehicle in the best condition possible.
There is a lot of conflicting information online answering this question but it doesn’t have to be confusing. Any new car will have an in-vehicle reminder system that tells you when its time for car maintenance or repairs.
If your car does not have a built in system then refer to the owner's manual, it will tell you everything you need to know about maintaining your car. Most older vehicles car maintenance schedules are based on their mileage. If you use your car for regular activities you can stick to a basic maintenance schedule.
However, if you are consistently putting your car in “severe” operating conditions. Follow the more rigorous car maintenance schedule that your owners manual suggests. Severe driving conditions fall under several categories. If you do any of this type of driving, stick to the rigorous maintenance schedule.
● Driving in extremely hot, cold, or dusty climates
● Sustained stop-and-go driving
● Carrying heavy loads or towing a trailer regularly.
Your car will maintain value much better the more you perform car maintenance services. Which means when it comes time to sell your car you will get more money from it. Read our guide for more tips on selling a car
Car Maintenance for the Seasons
Using the change of seasons as a reminder for doing regular car maintenance is a great idea. The change in weather can have a drastic effect on your car, and if it is not well maintained, the seasonal changes could mean a trip to the mechanics.
You really don’t want to be taking your car out for a nice summer road trip and the car overheats because you didn't check the fluid levels or hoses. or maybe you plan on taking it out in the middle of winter, if the tires or brakes are in poor shape, you will be slipping and sliding over the road.
Tips for Seasonal Car Maintenance:
Keep Your Tires and Brakes Fresh
Especially once the temperatures drop in the winter and fall, it is crucial to make sure your tires and brakes are well maintained. You need to ensure that your tires have good tread, and are well inflated. While you are checking your tires, have a quick look at your brakes. Look for wear and tear and even have a listen to them when you are driving. If they are making any graunchy or rubbing sounds, they will need to be changed.
Refill your Fluids
The change of seasons are a great reminder for you to refill all your fluids. Especially heading into the hotter months of summer, it is crucial for your fluid levels to be topped up. If needed, drain the old fluid and replace it with new ones. The most important fluids to check are Oil, Washer, Coolant, Power-steering and Transmission.
Check Your Lights
A basic car maintenance task that can be done in 5 minutes Just inspect your car and ensure all your lights are working well. Check your headlights, indicators, brake lights and fog lights. If you do a lot of night driving, working lights are essential.
If these suggestions are all too basic for you and you consider yourself a bit of a pro when it comes to car maintenance and repairs. Read our Tips on Car Maintenance for Experts article.
Get Some Winter Tires and Chains
If you plan to drive in the snow, you need traction. Winter tires and chains are the perfect start to gaining that extra grip. Grab some chains or winter tires before you head out on the icy roads. To help keep you even more prepared during the different seasons, look into getting these 8 essential tools to have in your car.
Do a Vehicle Recall Check
At the end of each season we advise that you do a vehicle recall check to ensure that there are no new identified defects with your vehicle. If there are defects with your car, it is unsafe to operate and you will need to get the defect addressed. Use our free Vehicle Recall Search tool here to see if your vehicle has any recall alerts.
Vehicle recall search and safety recalls are means by which a vehicle manufacturer may use to communicate to vehicle owners about an identified defect. This defect may have a hazardous effect to certain functions of the car, making it unsafe for the occupants of the vehicle and needs to be addressed. All vehicle recall search and repair cost related to a vehicle safety recalls are the responsibility of the vehicle manufacturer.