Getting your car checked and serviced by a professional on a regular basis is a must, regardless of the age of your vehicle.
However, you shouldn't just wait every half-year or so to take your car to a car service centre. There are a host of crucial maintenance checks you can perform yourself, to ensure it is running at its best throughout the year.
Good maintenance depends on getting the timing right. Some checks need to be made more often than others.
The best way to formulate a proper maintenance schedule for your car is to base it on its mileage.
Everyone drives their car at different rates, so using the kilometres you travel as a yardstick to time your maintenance is a better tactic than basing it on how many months have passed, for example.
Here's a handy guide to give you an idea of what you should be looking at in your car maintenance, and when you should act to keep it in peak condition.
Some parts of your car need to be serviced on quite a regular basis to ensure it stays roadworthy. Missing out on one of these checks for too long can cause some real problems!
At this stage, only the most basic maintenance is needed. This includes, for example, checking your oil level and topping it up if necessary.
You should also have a look at the other fluids under your hood, such as the brake fluid, to make sure everything is at the level it should be.
Now is also a good time to have a good look at your tyres. Watch out for areas of shallow tread or uneven wear, and whether they're at the right pressure.
Most of these procedures are relatively straightforward, so can be done when you find yourself with a spare minute or two - for example, when you're at the gas station and waiting to fill up.
Once you've driven around a bit, it's time to look at some of the less obvious aspects of your car's maintenance.
This is a good point at which you should consider rotating your tyres to ensure they all get even wear. Don't forget to get your wheels aligned as well while you're at it. Before you rotate all of your tyres, consult a professional on whether your tyres can be rotated. Not all tyres can be rotated.
The air filter is one of the most important components of your car's engine, and this should be checked every 15,000km as well. Open up the hood to have a good look and assess whether it needs to be replaced. The air filter should be located in a black plastic box on top of or to the side of the engine.
You will have put your engine through some pretty heavy use by now, so it's time to give it a thorough check.
Get your spark plugs checked out by a mechanic if necessary, as they can tell you if this part needs to be replaced. The frequency will differ depending on the make and model of your car.
Your battery needs some attention now as well. Make sure all the cabling is in good condition and there is no sign of corrosion, which could be a sign of an acid leak somewhere.
If your car has a timing belt, it's crucial that you get it replaced according to the schedule set by your mechanic.
Most belts have a lifespan of anywhere between 60,000 to 100,00km. If you're unsure, check the label on your car's belt compartment.
Your braking system also needs to be assessed at this point - check both the brake pads and fluid.
Finally, inspect all the hoses and valves in and around your engine to make sure everything is in order.
In and around the preventative maintenance, make sure you also keep up with your vehicles servicing schedule. This will ensure that your vehicle is able to take care of servicing offers including capped price servicing or potentially ensure that your warranty is valid.
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