Basics of car maintenance

By extending the life of your vehicle, you’ll enjoy a greater return on your auto investment. Even though the value of your car will depreciate over time, you’ll appreciate the money you saved by keeping it on the road longer. Here are some things to keep in mind as you perform routine maintenance on your vehicle:

Fluids

You should try to check your engine’s fluids weekly, or at least monthly. These are your engine oil, brake cylinder fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid and radiator coolant (antifreeze). You can locate these components using the diagram in your car’s user manual. Also, remember to inspect and change your air filter when it becomes dirty. This is another maintenance step that most owners can do. A dirty air filter reduces your engine’s efficiency and gas mileage. It is recommended that you change your air filter every 12,000 miles, but that will vary based on your regular driving conditions. Check your vehicle manual to find the right replacement filter.

Tires

Be sure to inspect your tires and keep them inflated at the recommended levels. Under-inflated tires can reduce tire life by up to 15 percent and reduce gas mileage by up to 10 percent. Be sure to rotate new tires about every 6,000 miles to allow even wear. The most recommended way to rotate them is diagonally, swapping the front right with the rear left, and the front left with the rear right.

Fuel

Try to fill up with the grade of fuel recommended by the manufacturer. Also, keeping the same brand of gasoline helps reduce the chance of deposits building up in the fuel system. To conserve fuel, consolidate short trips and avoid speeding and aggressive driving.

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