Car Maintenance for Beginners
Chances are, that when you were born, you had no idea what cars were, you probably didn’t
understand what exactly cars did until you grew up a bit. Until people come of age or come to
need to drive themselves around, it does not seem important to learn to take care of your car.
But now more than ever with the availability of the internet you can learn anything. With this
guide, you will understand the of your car. And if you take an interest in doing general
maintenance on your car you might just save yourself some money and even make money if you
decide to make it your career path.
A few things to do and check before you drive
Buy an owner’s manual and service manual if you don’t have one already. It’s important to
have the owner’s manual to your vehicle as it can help you figure out everything about your car.
There is so much information in an owner’s manual that it should be consulted before taking it
to a mechanic for a problem you could solve yourself. A service manual is different and usually
applies to a wide range of years of any car line, i.e. Ford F-150 from 1980-1996 (this is merely an
example). These service manuals help people save money by showing them step by step exactly
how to do a plethora of services to their vehicles.
You should keep your windows clean because having dirty windows is a safety hazard. If you
don’t have a squeegee, you will most likely find one with towels and soapy water at any gas
station. But if you can’t wait until you get to a gas station then I would recommend spraying
your car down so that you can get most of the dead insects and dirt from your windshield.
Make sure your windshield wipers are intact. A good test to do other than looking at them for
damage is examining their actual usefulness with windshield wiping fluid. Use your car’s
apparatus to release wiper fluid and see for yourself if your windshield wipers are doing their
job. Take an Uber or Lyft to your local AutoZone and buy some. All you need to know is your
car’s model number, make (or brand), and year so that one of the employees of your auto parts
can find the part you need. If you would like to take it up a notch you can look up the parts
yourself as there is plenty of helpful resources on parts on the internet.
Check your lights from time to time to avoid a ticket for a failing if not broken light. Fix it tickets
might not seem too expensive but why risk getting a ticket if you can do something about it.
You’ll be beating yourself over the head knowing you could have done something about it.
While you check your headlights, you should point them towards a wall or physical object to see
if either of them is dim which suggests you might want to replace them or restore the plastic
compartments holding the lightbulb so that it shines through better. You should do the same for
your high beams and make sure your other lights work. Have someone help you check your
reverse lights as you might not be able to see them.
Always check your tire pressure while your car has been sitting to get an accurate reading.
Having proper tire pressure improves handling, and gas mileage. Due to fluctuating
temperatures while driving your car, you wouldn’t get an accurate reading so you need to take
the pressure reading while your car has been sitting a while. There are analog tire pressure
gauges that let you read the tire pressure by sticking them onto the tire’s hole where you pump
air into them. There are also digital pressure gauges for even more accurate readings. There is a
sticker on the driver’s door somewhere along the edge where the door closes that has the
recommended pressure for the stock tires
If you have custom tires, you should look at the tire for their recommendations.
Check your oil to make sure it’s not low because gas mileage goes down and increases your
chances of burning out your engine on a long drive in the desert. What oil does is lubricate
moving parts of your engine, and forgetting causes the engine to run at extremely elevated
temperatures which in turn cause damage through wear and tear. It’s best to check while the
engine is cold because the oil can shoot out due to pressure from hot temperatures.
For most cars, you can check the oil level by popping the hood and locating the engine oil cap
and oil dipstick. Have a paper towel ready and pull out the dipstick assuming your car is cold.
Wipe down the dipstick and insert it again to get a more accurate reading. Pull it out a second
time and you should see either two lines, two small dots, or two small holes near the end of the
dipstick marking the maximum and minimum amount of oil. The minimum is the line closest to
the tip of the dipstick while the other line is the maximum. If your car’s oil is in between those
markers then your car is doing alright. You should put only a quart at a time as you might overfill
if you put more than that. When it comes to the type of oil that you should put, I recommend
looking for your model, make, and year online or going to an auto parts salesman for help
deciding. Depending on your mileage you might want to buy oil that’s better suited for that.
Change your oil according to your owner’s manual’s recommended maintenance schedule. The
book should indicate after how many miles or years you should change your oil. You should be
keeping track of your mileage in between oil changes because you might just be wearing your
car down. It is recommended to change oil every 3,000 – 7,000 miles
depends on the car make, year, and model to decide to change your oil because some cars boast not
needing an oil change until they hit 15,000 but that could easily be a result of using the more expensive
synthetic oil. There is regular oil and then there’s synthetic oil which helps your engine perform better
and last longer. When you change the oil, you should also to change the oil filter depending on the
mileage it says it can handle. Considering your specific car model will give you the best results when it
comes to changing the oil and its filter.
Listen to your car
While you drive you should turn down the music and listen to your engine. It’s easy to notice weird
noises that would indicate if your car’s engine needs a tune up. Keeping all this information in mind will
help you keep your car alive and well for many years to come. This will also save you a pretty penny
down the line.