We all need our cars, almost as much as we need our homes. On-going maintenance to keep them running safely and smoothly well past 100,000 miles is vital. Neglecting even simple upkeep can cost way more, but don’t worry. You can keep your truck or car in tip-top shape with some basic knowledge.
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Check Those Fluids!
I always tell folks that keeping fluids at the right levels is absolutely fundamental. Oil, transmission, coolant, brake, and power steering fluids allow vital systems to operate properly and reduce friction and overheating. Take 2 minutes when fueling up to pop the hood and check dipsticks. Top off any low fluids as needed – it takes just seconds and protects major components.
Change That Oil!
A car’s health is dependent on the proper fluids being maintained at the right level. Engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant allow critical systems to operate smoothly, reduce friction and overheating, and prolong the life of components. I recommend checking all fluid levels at least once a month when you fill up on gas. Pop the hood, pull out the dipsticks and see where they fall on the full/add marks. Top up any low fluids to the proper level. Having to add more than a pint likely indicates a leak that your mechanic at a shop specializing in auto repair Lafayette IN should inspect. Clean up any spills and replace caps securely when finished.
Transmission fluid becomes contaminated over time, which impairs shifting and accelerates wear. Have it drained and refilled every 30,000 miles or according to your owner’s manual. Flushing the cooling system and replacing the coolant every 3-5 years, based on your vehicle type, will maintain its rust and freeze protection, too.
Investing just 2-3 minutes at each fill-up to check fluids keeps all the internal systems lubricated and running cool, adding years of reliable service. It’s the easiest and most fundamental maintenance item that gets overlooked far too often!
Keep Tires Properly Inflated
Improperly inflated tires not only impact handling and braking, they wear out much faster, costing you money. Check pressures monthly – tires can lose 1-2 PSI naturally each month. Refer to the driver’s side door jamb or manual for the correct PSI. Underinflated tires flex too much, generating heat that degrades the rubber. Overinflated tires aren’t good either since they reduce the tire contact area. Hit that sweet spot for max tread life.
Replace Worn Parts Before Breakage
As parts like belts, hoses, brake pads, spark plugs, and suspension bushings wear, replace them preemptively. Identify worn parts during oil changes and have your trusted shop address them. Waiting for complete failure often exacerbates underlying issues. For example, waiting to replace severely worn brake pads can damage rotors and calipers. Getting ahead saves headaches!
I know we all have busy lives, but showing our vehicles consistent TLC allows us to keep on trucking reliably. And nothing beats the sense of confidence inspired by a smoothly purring engine! Stay safe out there, friends.