Keeping your car properly maintained can protect your investment and prolong the life of your vehicle. There are a few items you should have in your trunk for comfort and in case of emergencies: Road flares, non-flammable gas, jumper cables, a tool kit with duct tape, screwdriver, pocket knife, and pliers, a first aid kit with bandages, gauze, scissors, and tape, a tire jack & inflated spare tire, winter items such as rock salt or sand, gloves, and a blanket, a flashlight and batteries, and energy bars, bottled water, and paper towels.
There are some maintenance things you can do on your own, but some things you should leave to professionals. Take your car every 3000-5000 miles for a tuneup and maintenance. Professionals can help you change your oil, change your fluids (brake, power steering, transmission and coolant), examine the engine for dirt and grime, check the belts, check your tires for tread wear, and check your brakes.
Thankfully, not everything has to be handled by the pros. Here are some things YOU can do to keep your car running like a dream. You should install new wiper blades when you notice yours aren’t doing the job effectively. Keep a tire pressure gauge in your glove box and make sure your tires are inflated properly. Tires that are over-or under-inflated can blow out at any time, no matter how fast or slow you are driving.
You will also save gas if your tires are properly inflated. To see at what pressure your tires should be, look inside your driver’s side door for the manufacturer’s recommendation or check the sidewall of one of your tires. Most car tires have a 28-32 PSI of air inside each tire.
Everyone should know how to check their oil. Check your oil when the ignition is off and the engine is warm/hot. First, open the hood and locate the dipstick. Usually, it has a red-tip or other bright colored handle. Pull it out and wipe off any extra oil onto a paper towel. Reinsert the dipstick and let it sit for a few seconds. Pull it back out, hold it level and look at the end that was just inside the engine.
There should be a “full” and “low” marking on the dipstick. The oil level should be between these two marks. If your oil is low, add some. If you are unsure of what type of oil to use, consult yoru owner’s manual.
If you notice a funny sound or fluids on your driveway, take your car to an automotive center as soon as possible.