7 cheap ways to extend the life of your car
Replacing tires when treads are worn is essential for driver safety. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Mitchell)
Proper car maintenance is something every vehicle owner should practice. It helps ensure that the vehicle performs better and lasts longer. One of the most important things is to perform maintenance when and as required, which varies depending on the make and model of the vehicle.
Most vehicle owner manuals come equipped with a maintenance schedule that provides an overview of recommended service intervals. Whether you're performing the auto repairs yourself or entrusting them to a mechanic, accomplishing these relatively low-cost maintenance items can add years of safe driving and useful life to your automobile.
1. Oil changes
On most vehicles, the oil should be changed approximately every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. If oil changes aren't done in a timely manner, your car's performance and fuel economy can suffer, and long-term damage can occur.
2. Replace lights
Not having all of your vehicle's lights working properly is a safety concern. If your car's headlights, turn signals or taillights aren't working properly, they're relatively quick and cheap to replace.
3. Replace a battery
A dead or dying battery can potentially leave you stranded in an extremely cold or hot environment, or in an otherwise isolated area. Installing a new battery at the first sign of diminished power helps ensure your car will start reliably.
4. Changing wiper blades
If your vehicle's wiper blades become brittle, ripped or damaged, visibility when driving in rain, snow or ice can decline, compromising safe driving.
5. Replace tires
In winter months or rainy conditions, tires with a decent tread pattern can keep your vehicle operating safely on the road. Purchasing and installing new tires when needed should not be postponed.
6. Changing spark plugs and wires
If spark plugs, spark plug wires or the distributor cap aren't functioning correctly, the vehicle can perform erratically and may be difficult to start or easily stall.
7. Change the air filter
Your vehicle's fuel economy can suffer with a dirty air filter. These are inexpensive, simple to replace and they help keep the car's engine running efficiently.
Most of these repairs can be easily accomplished with a few common tools and parts purchased at a local auto parts store. If you're uncomfortable performing vehicle repairs yourself or find it an inconvenience, check Angie's List for local highly rated auto service companies.