Sunday, October 16, 2016

Car Maintenance Tips To Make Your Car Run Better

It's always nice to have a smooth running and reliable car. However, cars age and will need maintenance over time to keep on running like the day it rolled from the showroom floor. Just putting gas and kicking the tires will not do it. Maintaining a smooth-running car takes care from the owner, and the mechanic or dealer, if you are not mechanically inclined.

All cars have a maintenance schedule set by the manufacturer when they designed the car. Some cars have simple maintenance schedules while other cars need more specialized equipment and parts to keep them in tiptop shape. In general, Japanese cars are cheaper to operate and maintain. However, luxury European brands have a cachet and status all their own. There will be times when budget or work will prevent you from performing needed maintenance. Just follow the maintenance schedule as close as you can because neglecting maintenance may result in a breakdown sometime and emergency repairs are always more expensive than scheduled maintenance. Whatever your choice of car, be aware that there are operating and maintenance costs that are part of owning a vehicle.

With today's modern engines, very little can be done by the owner, except to maybe change the oil and check/replace the air and fuel filters. Consult the owner's manual on when to change the oil. Depending on whether synthetic oil is used or not, the maintenance period will vary. Whatever the figure is, follow the manufacturer's recommendations. And don't scrimp on the oil. Oil is the lifeblood of your engine and the top oil companies do have engine oils that offer better performance and protection.

Do check you air filter regularly. This item is easy to forget because it is under a cover and a clogged filter doesn't act up immediately but rather degrades performance over time. When it is time to replace your air filter, consider buying an aftermarket reusable filter. These have the benefit of better performance and much longer life because they can be cleaned.

Also check your car's other fluids regularly, like the power steering fluid, engine oil level, coolant level and even the washer fluids. A faster than average rate of depletion can be an indicator of a developing problem which can be taken care of before it worsens.

Generally, you can worry less about your suspension until clunks or rattling indicate worn parts. A car that pulls to one side is also an indicator of upcoming suspension work that will need to be done. However, you do need to check your tire pressure and tire wear regularly. Uneven tire wear is a good indicator of the state of your suspension and its alignment. Again, consult your owner's manual on when to rotate your tires so that you prolong their life.

The other side of the equation in owning a car is the owner's driving habits. Good or bad habits can lengthen or shorten the service life of your car considerably.

One of the good habits you can form, if you don't have it yet, is to keep a steady foot on the gas pedal. Don't treat it like an on/off switch. Accelerate slowly but steadily from stops. Anticipate upcoming intersections or traffic buildups by easing off the accelerator. A side benefit of learning how to feather the throttle is improved gas mileage. Same goes for braking. Don't jam on the brakes. Instead, apply steady pressure to come to a stop. Of course, in an emergency situation, you would have to apply a lot of braking pressure but also remember to try to steer away from danger at the same time. Remember that if your brakes lock up, you will also lose steering control.

As we use our cars, we start to accumulate junk. In the trunk, the back seats, etc. Every so often, remove that accumulated debris that you don't really need from your car. The more unnecessary weight you carry, the more fuel you will use. Speaking of fuel use, an engine that is well-maintained always uses less fuel than a sloppily maintained one. With fuel prices more often on the way up, that alone is enough motivation to keep your car well maintained.

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