This month we have covered several topics related to purchasing a car. Creating a budget, deciding whether to lease or buy, and obtaining financing are all important issues to become familiar with as you head into this process. Finally, after all this work, after all of the research and shopping and negotiating, you are behind the wheel of your new car. Having invested all this time and effort, you want your car to stay in fantastic condition for years and years to come. You want it to stay on the road. You want to reach that awesome moment when you finally make your last car payment and the car is officially all YOURS. To cross this financial finish line, you need to take excellent care of your car. Today, we are going to discuss car maintenance.
- Regular Oil Changes — Oil changes are essential. In fact, they may be the most essential element of vehicle maintenance. Oil is the lifeblood of a car. It lubricates the engine and protects it from dangerous heat buildup.The frequency with which you should change your oil is a topic of some debate. The age old adage states that you should arrange for an oil change every 3,000, however, many people believe that you can push changes back as much as 4,000+ miles. It is best to consult with your owner’s manual. How often you should really change your oil largely depends on the make/model of your car and your driving habits, so it could be different for everyone.
- Change Air Filters – Just as oil is necessary to the function of your car, so too is fresh, clean air. Air filters protect the delicate internal parts of a car from particulates, dust, and debris which can cause them harm and inhibit their function. As air filters become dirty, it gets harder for air to pass through them. This can cause several major problems. Read your owner’s manual to see how frequently you should change your air filters. Generally, the recommended time frame is ever 12 months or 12,000 miles.
- Brakes System Maintenance – If you get in a major wreck, there is no way your car is going to last a decade or more. Ignoring the maintenance of your brakes system will put you directly in harm’s way. No other car part’s failure will put you directly at risk of an accident quite like that of your brakes. Check your brake fluid levels regularly. Change them without fail every 24,000 miles. Keep an eye on the condition of your brake pads as well, changing them when necessary.