A lot of people understate the importance of performing regular preventive vehicle maintenance. There’s a lot of debate on what it actually is, how often it should be performed, and where you should start. The truth of the matter is – regular preventive vehicle maintenance is a simple way to keep your ride in good shape and save money on costly repairs in the future.
All you have to do in order to perform preventive vehicle maintenance is to get some basic automotive tools, and spend a few hours on a Sunday in the garage. You can do most of the basics, such as checking tyre pressure and changing your oil. You can compare this to getting frequent doctor check-ups – it makes sure you are healthy, and it gives you the chance to catch anything suspicious that might become a problem in the future. By doing this, you can save thousands of dollars a year.
The first step to performing vehicle maintenance and repairs is to read the owner’s manual. No matter what type of vehicle you own, the regular maintenance schedule can be found inside the manual, and you won’t have to listen to the myths that Jason down the street keeps preaching about. “You should change your oil every 5,000 kilometres” is probably a bit far-fetched, and the manual has the actual numbers about how often you should change the oil, the filters, timing belts, etc.
Next, do your own inspection. While this requires you to have some basic understanding of what you should look for, there are some simple guidelines you can follow to catch things that are out of the ordinary. For instance, you can check whether all your lights are working properly, check the air pressure in your tyres, listen for strange sounds, etc. You can call up a knowledgeable friend to do the first inspection with you, and tell you what you should pay attention to.
Lastly, learn to check your fluids. Even if you never intend on learning how to change your coolant, wiper fluid, antifreeze and power steering, you should at least learn how to check their levels. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to see the tank’s level directly, but if that’s not the case, there are automotive tools, such as dipsticks or gauges that can assist you with checking the liquid levels. Never ignore leaks, and if you’re running low, add more or get the liquid changed. Even if your owner’s manual doesn’t have any information on the antifreeze or transmission fluid, don’t be afraid to open up the hood and see whether you can find them on your own.