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Preventive Maintenance Automotive: Keep A Car Running Smoothly

Preventative Maintenance that Keeps a Car Running Smoothly

Cars are lasting longer than ever before. It’s more common to see cars reach 200,000 miles and they last about 12 years. Of course, a lot of that longevity depends largely on two factors: the car itself and the upkeep of the car. Some models are more likely to last longer than others. That being said, you are in full control when it comes to the longevity of your car. Preventative maintenance will help your car be more reliable and last longer. Ready to find out what the top car maintenance tips are? Keep reading to learn the top tips to make sure your car is always in good shape.

1. Know the Regular Maintenance Schedule

You’re probably aware that you need to have your oil changed every 3000 miles. Do you know that there are big car maintenance milestones at 30k, 60k, 90k, and 120k miles? There are also standard maintenance tasks that should happen about every three months. Depending on how much you drive your car, these tasks can be done when you get your oil changed.
  • Check the fluid levels
  • Replace the air filters
  • Tire rotation
  • Test the battery and clean off the battery contacts
  • Check the serpentine and timing belts
These are preventative maintenance tasks that will keep your car running smoothly. When you put these tasks off, you’re risking driving around with dangerously low fluid levels or dirty air filters.

2. Keep a Maintenance Calendar & Journal

Between quarterly applications and 30k maintenance milestones, how can you remember to take care of these things in the middle of a busy life? Keep a maintenance calendar. It sounds like another spreadsheet or something to keep track of at first, but there’s a lot of value in keeping track of car maintenance. It’s also very easy. Yes, there’s an app for that. For iPhone users, Fuelly is a great app that will remind you of scheduled car maintenance. You can also track your mileage in between fuel ups, so you can track your miles per gallon over time. This app is a time and money saver. For Android users, there is the app Car Maintenance Reminders which gives you maintenance reminders and MPG charts. You also want to keep a journal of the car maintenance that’s been done to the car. It’ll be hard to remember exactly which repairs and maintenance were performed on your car. If you plan to resell your car, you can add value to the car by showing you took great care of it while you owned it.

3. Inspect Your Car Regularly

On top of regular car maintenance, it’s a smart move to have a mechanic look over your car on a regular basis. Things can happen in between maintenance and you want to make sure that your car and your budget are prepared. They might see a few issues that need to be addressed now or regular wear and tear that can turn into a major expense over time. It’s a good idea to have a car inspection every 9 months to make sure that it’s running just as it should.

4. Plan for the Unexpected

No one wants to see the “Check Engine” light. Your car is like a computer and no matter how detailed you are about car maintenance, things happen. About 40% of Americans can’t work with a $400 unexpected expense. You don’t have to be part of that 40% by planning ahead. Set aside some cash every month as part of your car budget. The older your car is, the more you should set aside. It will give you peace of mind to know that your car can get repaired. You won’t be without a car for too long and you can resume your daily activities much sooner.

5. Other Tips to Keep Your Car Running for a Long Time

Car maintenance comes in many forms. There are some simple things that you can do when you’re driving around that can contribute to the overall health of your car. Here’s what you want to keep in mind.

Filling Up the Tank

When you fill up the gas tank, you’re probably like most folks who top it off. You could be one of those drivers who love living on the edge and drive around until the gas light comes on, telling you that it’s time. In both cases, you can be doing more damage to your fuel system that you realize. That can turn into an expensive repair later on.

Detail Your Car

The exterior of your car is just as important to the overall health of your car as any other form of car maintenance. Dirt and debris can get into the engine, which will impact the car’s performance. Plus, in the Texas heat, cars can get beat up by the sun and hot roads, not to mention epic hail storms. Detailing the outside of the car as well as the engine will keep your car from looking beat up. Your engine will also be clear of dirt and debris.

Keep Your Keychain Light

Do you ever joke about the number of keys you have on your keychain? Believe it or not, a heavy keychain can damage your car. If you have a key starter, a heavy keychain can weigh down the ignition and cause damage over a long period of time.

Top Car Maintenance Tips for a Smooth Ride

You depend on your car for everything – getting to work, picking up groceries, taking the kids to school and activities. It’s almost impossible to get around without a car. It’s easy to overlook car preventative maintenance, but you’re going to have to fit it in with your busy life. You can do that using apps that will remind you when it’s time for maintenance.
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