A wide variety of options, an ever-increasing purchasing capacity, and the easy finance options have made it easy to buy a car these days. And it's even easier to learn how to drive. What's tough, however, is to understand the importance of keeping the vehicle in good condition. Here are a few tips that every car owner should know -
Many think that the role of a car's engine oil is to ensure proper combustion. They entirely forget that the oil helps in lubrication, cooling, and cleaning of your car's engine. Therefore, not having the right grade and quantity of engine oil will lead to three things - thermal degradation (lacquer and carbonaceous deposits), oxidation (varnish and sludge), and compressive heating (soot and tar). These things will be deposited in your car's engine, thereby increasing the friction between the vital parts. This will, in turn, lead to higher wear and tear, leading to low mileage and unscheduled maintenance. Hence, it gets essential to stick to the manufacturer-recommended oil grade and replacement intervals.
Needless to say, the spare tire comes in handy every time you suffer a flat. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for a car owner to familiarise himself with the tools that are required to change the wheel. It's also important to keep the spare wheel in good shape, which includes ensuring that the tire is inflated correctly and doesn't have a malfunctioning valve or any cracks or bulges. The jack plays the most crucial role during the wheel change, as it manages the entire weight of the vehicle for you. Therefore, make sure that it is in a decent working condition.
Windshield Wiper Blades
Those who have driven in the rain with worn-out wiper blades would know the pain that malfunctioning wipers bring in. Wiper blades are among the most critical components of a vehicle that many users tend to overlook until they realise their importance on having to drive in the rain with an unclear windscreen. Generally, wiper blades tend to get useless within six months. It may be noted that the rubber of the blades tends to get harder due to the high temperatures that they experience when your car is parked under the sun. Harder rubber doesn't clean the windshield properly.
It's not just the engine oil that demands attention. Many other fluids should be replaced or topped up as per the manufacturer-recommended intervals. These are the five most crucial vehicle fluids -
- Engine Oil
- Power Steering Fluid
- Brake Fluid
- Windshield Washer Fluid
Regardless of how powerful your car's engine is, it's the tires that are responsible for putting down that power on the tarmac. Unfortunately, a car's tyre remains one of the most neglected parts by most users. Maintaining the right tyre pressure is among the most effective ways to maximise the life of the tires. Many car users think that overinflation can improve handling characteristics and optimise fuel efficiency, too. In reality, however, overinflation leads to faster wear and tear. Overinflation even leads to a bumpy ride and increased stress on the suspension components. While overinflated tires could lead to slightly lower fuel consumption, it's not worth the several disadvantages that come along. Underinflation leads to lowered performance, increased fuel consumption, and higher wear and tear of the tires.
Headlights and Tail lights
The headlights and the taillights tend to get dimmer with time. Hence, it's a good practice to inspect them regularly. Regularly checking the condition of the lighting system is a preventive measure that can quickly help you avoid dangerous circumstances. It's important to get the headlights and taillights repaired as soon as you realise they need attention.
Sticking to the manufacturer-recommended service schedule is imperative. You can find the service schedule in your vehicle's owner's manual. It is required to follow the specified service intervals even if your car seems to be a good condition. Timely change of fluids, wheel balancing/alignment, and change of filters is essential for the smooth working of your car.
Emergency Roadside Kit
You never know when your car might break down. Hence, it's important to keep an emergency kit that comprises-
- First Aid Kit
- Fire Extinguisher
- Jumper Cables
- Utility Tool (like Swiss Army Knife)
- Reflective Warning Triangle
- Tire Gauge
- Duct Tape
- Foam Tire Sealant
- Extra Batteries
- Tow Rope
- Warm Blanket
Brakes are the most critical safety feature that should never be neglected. Make careful observation while driving. Notice if the steering wheel vibrates on applying brakes. If so, get the brakes inspected at the earliest.
Get A Good Mechanic
Finally, find a good mechanic. While it's recommended to get your car serviced at the authorised dealership, but it's still a good idea to have a reliable mechanical near your residence.