Obtaining a driver’s license and purchasing their first vehicle are thrilling moments for first-time drivers. Regardless of how exciting this new opportunity is, operating an automobile is a serious responsibility.
Both new and seasoned drivers should consistently wear their seat belt, obey traffic laws and learn how to properly maintain their vehicle.
Completing routine maintenance is extremely beneficial for three reasons. It helps you identify potential issues and may prolong your vehicle’s life. Routine upkeep also helps enhance the safety of yourself, your passengers and other drivers on the road. Although specific care requirements may vary depending on the age of your vehicle, there are eight keys steps every driver should take to help preserve their car or truck.
1 - Review the Owner’s Manual
Your vehicle’s owner’s manual is a valuable resource that can educate you on specific features and auto care requirements. Most manuals list, for example, a recommended maintenance schedule. The booklet can also explain the meaning of symbols that may appear on your dash console, which is essential for understanding your automobile’s health.
2 - Monitor Gauges and Acknowledge Warning Lights
The owner’s manual can also help you better understand your vehicle’s gauges, which you should carefully monitor. Both gauges and warning lights can warn you of a problem and should never be ignored. If a warning light activates, you should respond according to the manual’s instructions.
3 - Routinely Check Tire Tread and Pressure
Tire treads wear, and a severely worn tread pattern may leave you vulnerable to a potentially dangerous blowout. For this reason, it’s important to routinely inspect your tires and replace them when necessary.
Although most automobiles have a tire pressure monitoring system, some sensors are more sensitive than others. To help ensure your tires consistently maintain their recommended PSI, it’s a good practice to routinely check the pressure and add air as necessary.
4 - Rotate Tires
Rotating your vehicle’s tires is another important maintenance practice that helps minimize uneven wear and may prolong the life of your tires.
5 - Change the Oil
Oil is a vital fluid that becomes dirty over time and should be routinely changed. You should consult your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s specific needs, but most manufacturers recommend changing oil at 7,500-mile intervals.
6 - Check Coolant and Windshield Washer Fluid Levels
An adequate coolant level is essential for proper radiator functioning, so you should routinely check the coolant reservoir and inspect for leaks if the level is low. Because it’s difficult to travel safely with a dirty windshield, you should also routinely check and add windshield washer fluid as needed.
7 - Inspect Lights
Routinely inspecting your automobile’s lights is another component of a thorough maintenance check. Lightbulbs can burn out over time, and damaged or malfunctioning lights can lead to dangerous driving conditions. For this reason, it’s essential that you promptly replace broken lights.
8 - Evaluate Battery Charge Level
No battery lasts forever, and a weak device can leave you stranded. To monitor its health, it’s a good idea to routinely check the battery’s charge level and replace a depleted battery as soon as possible.
To run efficiently, your vehicle relies on numerous systems and components. Performing routine maintenance can help ensure your automobile is primed for optimal performance and can safely transport you wherever your travels take you.