By Greg Ellal |
Many people bring their vehicles to an auto shop to have routine maintenance done to their vehicles. The problem is that there are many places that don’t do the job the right way and/or don’t put the parts on that were paid for. For example, there have been auto shops that have been caught selling people expensive Mobil 1 Fully Synthetic Oil when they only put a cheap oil in the car such as Peak Conventional Oil. This is why a lot of people including me believe it is best to do basic maintenance ourselves. This way we know the job is getting done right with the parts that we want.
Many people don’t know how to do basic maintenance on their cars, another reason why they bring the vehicles to shops. Well, these are my 5 Top Tips to help you keep your car in tip top shape without draining a hole in your pocket.
Tip #1: How To Know When Your Tires Need To Be Replaced
An easy way to test your tires to see if you need new ones or not is to take a penny and flip it upside down. Put the penny with Lincoln’s head facing down in the tire tread. If the top of Lincoln’s head is covered, then your tread depth is good. If not, however, then it is time to get new tires as yours are legally bald and now dangerous to drive on. When doing this little test, make sure to do the test all over the tire and not just in one spot. This will make sure you will see if the tire is wearing evenly. If it is not wearing evenly you may want to bring it to a shop to have the front end checked as something may be worn or misaligned, causing your tires to wear unevenly. Lastly, check the tread and the sides of the tires for cracks. If there are a lot of cracks then it is time for new tires, even if the tread depth is good. This is because the tires have gotten old and are now starting to become brittle. If this is ignored too long, the tire could come apart when driving at high speeds such as on the highway.
Tip #2: Fill Your Oil Filter?
When doing an oil change, you will not only be changing the oil, you will also be changing the oil filter. When you are about to install the new filter, take some new oil and rub it on the gasket of the new filter to help it come off easier next time (also make sure the old gasket came off, otherwise you will have a huge mess when you try to install the new filter). You should fill the new filter with new oil before installing it. The reason for this is so the engine will always have oil after the oil change. Many people don’t put oil in the filter, and once they start the car after the oil change, the engine will run dry, without oil for a few minutes until oil can flow through the system. This can cause un-needed wear and tear on the inside of the engine over time.
Tip #3: How Often Should I Change My Oil?
There is a lot of debate as far as to when you should do an oil change for your car. In my opinion, you should change the oil in your car every 3,000 miles (or twice a year if you don’t put 3,000 miles a year on the car) if you are using conventional oil. If you are using fully synthetic oil, you should change your oil every 5,000 miles or twice a year. Lastly, if you use fully synthetic extended performance oil (same as fully synthetic oil except it has added chemicals to decrease engine corrosion and wear) you should change your oil every 5,000 – 7,500 miles or twice a year. If you use conventional, synthetic, or synthetic extended performance oil and do not put the 3,000 – 7,500 miles on the car a year (depending on which oil you use), you should still change the oil twice a year because even though it isn’t dirty, over time the oil can become thinner and watery. If you use thin, watery oil, the engine will not be able to hold oil pressure, and thus the oil won’t be able to get everywhere it needs to get to lubricate the engine. This will cause the engine to wear internally.
Tip #4: What Is The Best Tool To Keep In The Trunk Of Your Car?
The best tool to keep in your car at all times is a big piece of pipe. Let’s say you blow a tire and you are having trouble getting the lug nuts off with the small lug nut wrench that’s likely in the trunk of your car next to your spare tire right now. Well, you can take that long piece of pipe and slide it right over the end of the lug nut wrench. Now anyone will have no problem removing the lug nuts from their tires even if they were last tightened by a shop’s impact gun. The leverage of the pipe will make your life a lot easier.
Tip#5: How To Keep Your Car Starting On Cold Mornings
A basic maintenance task that is very important for your car is to inspect your battery terminals once every month or two. Check them for corrosion. Corrosion can build up over time and can cause a bad connection between the battery terminals and your car‘s wiring. This can cause your car to not start and leave you stranded. If you see corrosion, take the negative wire off first then the positive. Use a wire brush and scrape off the sides, top, and inside of the wiring where you see any corrosion. This is not only important for starting your car but it can also save you a lot of money from broken computers. Most modern cars have computers that run various systems in the car. These computers can typically rely on a certain voltage level from the battery to run properly. If the battery is unable to give full power to all systems due to the corrosion, it can cause the computers to break. These computers can cost hundreds of dollars.
So the next time your mechanic says you need something done to your car, why not check it yourself to see if it really needs to be done. And, the next time your car needs something done try doing it yourself with these tips before you bring it the shop Hopefully you find these tips useful. If you want to watch some “How To” videos that teach about cars go to ChrisFix on YouTube.