Basic Vehicle Maintenance for a Complete Novice

Even if you’re totally clueless when it comes to cars other than how to drive them, order having basic knowledge of vehicle maintenance is important to your car’s safety and longevity.  While today’s vehicles don’t require the amount of upkeep like they did even a number of decades ago, purchase don’t take that for granted.  Here are a few basic pointers to help you keep up to date with your car’s preservation.


Where the rubber meets the road

When you think car safety, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Seatbelts?  Airbags?  You’re certainly right, but tyres are what can quickly make a great vehicle unstable.  Good tyres are truly the foundation of a safe vehicle.  Our cars experience a myriad of weather and traffic conditions on a regular basis and tyres that properly grip the road prevent you from being completely vulnerable.  Your ability to control your car is based almost entirely on the condition of your tyres.  So remember, go good or go home….literally.


With proper tyres comes proper tyre maintenance and this is where tire rotation comes into play.  Rotating tires, by definition, means that tyres are moved from one wheel to a different one.  While often maneuvered diagonally in a criss-cross manner, this system keeps them from wearing unevenly.  Tyre rotation also extends the life of your tyres and keeps your vehicle safer.


Tyres can lose air pressure so it’s important to check the pressure periodically and reinflate if necessary.  Always check the sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door panel for proper psi (pounds per square inch), as each vehicle has different requirements.


Come to a screeching halt

Hopefully you’ll never need to brake like your life depends upon it, but since you may use your brakes literally hundreds of times per day, maintaining them is imperative.  While a well-maintained set of brakes should last you tens of thousands of miles, brake pads will, in fact, wear down over time and eventually need replacing.


The 2 Fs: fluid and filters

Think humans are the only ones who need proper fluids?  Think again.  Vehicle fluids like motor oil, power steering/transmission/brake fluids and coolants along with their cleanliness and proper levels are extremely important.  Don’t forget the windshield wiper fluid too!


The cleanliness of filters inside your engine will aid in its overall performance.  Contaminates build up over time so make sure to clean and replace both air and oil filters according to your manufacturer’s specifications.


Simple but basic

Have you ever been in a hurry to get somewhere but the moment you turn the key in the ignition, nothing happens?  This is the tell-tale sign of a dead battery.  Most new car batteries last anywhere between 2 and 6 years depending upon the climate in which you live.  Checking battery levels are often done during regular tune ups, but ask your mechanic to be sure.


Wiper blades are easy to replace, even on your own.  Don’t let them wear down or detach otherwise they will scrape your windows, so don’t let an inexpensive item cause significant damage.


Vehicles are expensive but when maintained properly, safety increases and long run major expenses diminish.  Every make, model and year of a vehicle can have very different manufacturer parameters for care.  One of the best ways to keeping your car or truck in peak condition is to check with the owner’s manual.  Of course, finding a trusted mechanic never hurt either.