3 Tips to Become Self-Sufficient When it Comes to Car Maintenance

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3 Tips to Become Self-Sufficient When it Comes to Car Maintenance

Just by staying up to date on simple and routine maintenance, you can add years to the life of your automobile. Indeed, as the old saying goes, “If you take proper care of your car, it will take care of you.”

These days, most people are happy to drop off their vehicle at a local auto shop and pay a little extra to have the experts take control. Ultimately, though, you will forever be reliant on a mechanic.

And relying on these experts will not only cost you thousands of dollars over time, but also means you likely won’t be able to fix even the smallest of issues in an emergency.

Like anything in life, becoming proficient in car care takes a little bit of initiative in terms of learning and practicing the basics. But really, the most frequently required upkeep is stuff you can figure out quite easily.

Focus on the following three areas, and you will quickly become much more self-sufficient than you ever thought possible

1. Changing the Oil

For an automobile to run properly, it needs good, clean oil. This means you should check it regularly and top it off when appropriate based off the reading on the dipstick. In the past, the rule of thumb for a full oil change was every 3,000 miles.

This has become somewhat obsolete given the efficiency and design of most modern engines. Nevertheless, you should change your oil around every 5,000 miles. (Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for an exact figure.)

While our convenience-based society means most people go to a garage to get this done, it’s cheaper to do it at home. Doing so can help ensure the best oil is going into your car and that no shortcuts are taken.

Best of all, after doing it a few times, you will come to better understand how an automobile operates and be better positioned to keep it running.

2. Replacing the Tires

Another good way to learn self-reliance is by changing your own tires. All it takes is a jack, tire iron, some good old-fashioned elbow grease and a little know-how. Of course, there are a host of online resources that can teach you this relatively simple process, and learning how to do it will ensure you’re prepared should you ever experience a blowout.

The biggest key to ensuring long life and high performance is buying quality tires. Just check your manual to make sure you’re getting the correct size and go for the highest-quality brand you can afford. Once any new tires have been installed, experts also advise rotating them every six months to extend their life and ensure safety.

Because of various factors — such as front-wheel drive or simply making more right-hand turns — tires can wear down at different rates depending upon where they’re positioned. Thus, performing regular rotations will help keep them more even — and you driving more steadily and safely.

3. Performing Ongoing Maintenance

While optimal gas, oil and tires are critical for any car to run well, there are a wide range of other fluids and parts to keep up on. Both coolant and windshield wiper fluid should be kept at recommended levels and changed out when necessary.

Other fluids, including transmission fluid and power steering fluid, must also be monitored, even if they don’t require frequent attention.

Then there are other key parts that will get worn down, including windshield wiper blades, air filters, spark plugs and engine belts. In terms of DIY maintenance, switching these out ranges from very easy to more advanced.

But most people with even a bit of inclination toward using basic tools can read a manual or watch a few online videos and learn how to do it at home.

Do It Yourself

While engine trouble or transmission problems may be better left to the pros, there’s no reason you can’t do all of these tasks yourself. Truthfully, there’s not that much to it.

Once you go through the process a few times, changing your oil, replacing your tires and switching out other small parts will become a breeze.

Best of all, you’ll never again have to overpay someone else to do it for you. And nothing feels better than sitting down afterward to enjoy the sweet feeling of accomplishment and self-reliance.

Editorial Team
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