10 Shortcuts for Maintaining Your Auto
Posted by: Dan on 13/04/2016
10 Shortcuts for Maintaining Your Auto
Performing regular maintenance on your car is the best way to keep it in prime condition. There are plenty of maintenance tips and recommendations that are difficult and expensive to do, but there are also lots of small things you can do to keep your auto running smoothly. Here are 10 tips and shortcuts you can take to regularly maintain your car with ease.
1. Observe and attend
Prevention is better than a cure, so building a habit of regular maintenance is your best bet. This can be as simple as just having a quick walk around your car once you exit the vehicle at the end of the day, looking for anything that seems out of place. The key is – if you do notice anything wrong – taking care of it right away. Doing so can mean the difference between a repair bill of a few dollars and a few thousand dollars.
2. Oil and oil filter
Changing the oil every six months or every 4,800 kms is a great shortcut to ensuring your engine runs consistently on clean oil. You also need to make sure you change your oil filter. Although it depends on your driving habits and the model of your car (consult your car manual), since part of the oil in your car always remains in the filter, a regular change helps keep your engine working efficiently.
3. Don't press too hard when braking
One of the most important yet easiest tips for car maintenance is to simply practise braking more gradually and a little softer. This is because many motorists unconsciously brake too hard in a sudden and sharp way. Practising softer braking is best done at home in your driveway or on a quiet street first, but it’s definitely time well spent, since learning gradual breaking will reduce tyre degradation and strain on your engine over time.
4. Wax your car regularly
Waxing your car regularly not only keeps your car looking polished, but it’s a great maintenance shortcut, too. By waxing your car, you build up a protective coat on the decal – which, while it won’t protect you from a dent if you hit the garbage bin one morning – it will ensure your auto is more resistant to minor scratches and nicks.
5. Keep your car in a garage and under a cover
Protecting your waxed and polished car by storing it in a garage and under a cover whenever possible is ideal. Keeping it in a garage protects your vehicle from the elements, and putting it under a cover offers even more protection against dust, insects, and other things finding their way into your vehicle and causing trouble down the road.
6. Rotate your tyres
Rotating your tyres is a great shortcut to keeping your vehicle in excellent working condition. You might be surprised to hear that rotating your tyres actually reduces tyre wear – some drivers think that the act of swapping them around could damage them – but in fact, regular tyre rotation prolongs the life of your set as they ‘share the wear’ of your driving evenly.
7. Check the power setting on your car
This varies from model to model, but many drivers leave their car in power mode by default rather than switching it to standard or economy for their daily drive. Although power mode is useful when on the freeway or towing a trailer, using it in day-to-day commuting guzzles up more fuel, and puts more strain on your engine over time. So be sure to switch to economy if most of your driving is done around the city and suburbs.
8. Winter-proof your car
The summer months in Australia are fairly forgiving to cars, but this changes rapidly in winter. With the cold comes a greater strain on your tyres to effectively grip the cold road, a greater strain for your brakes to respond fluidly when the cold makes them stiff, and a greater strain on your car engine to withstand the effects of the cold. Winterising your car is a great way to keep long-term maintenance costs at bay.
9. Use premium fuel now and then
While at first it might be perceived as a luxury, in reality, using premium fuel now and then can offer a shortcut in car maintanence. While alternating between premium and regular fuel needs be avoided if your engine is listed as premium-only, if your car takes regular fuel, swapping to premium occasionally gives your engine a chance to ‘clean the jets’ with a different fuel.
10. Make sure your battery terminals are clean
Mineral build-up on a car battery can impact the power of your car’s headlights over time. Fortunately, fixing build-up is easy: just be sure to turn your car off before you start cleaning.
To clean your batteries, use some baking soda and vinegar to neutralise the acid, a steel brush to scrub the build-up away, and a soft cloth to wipe it down when done.
Regular car maintenance shortcuts are about minimising costs and time spent on your vehicle repairs. In recent years, the good news is that due to lower oil prices, it’s now cheaper to own and operate a car. But an engine issue or transmission failure can quickly wipe away any savings you’d have otherwise held onto.
So, keep your car well-maintained with these auto shortcuts, and you’ll keep cash in hand to use on that new stereo system instead of a new engine.
Do you wax your car regularly, keep it under a cover, or use premium fuel? What shortcuts do you use in your auto maintenance? Let us know in the comments below.