Like most items you own, cars require regular upkeep. Parts get worn out over time which is why routine maintenance is so important.
There are a number of services your car will need throughout its lifetime, but a few stand out as the most common. Thankfully, most regular maintenance services are quite affordable. Good looking out, car manufacturers!
Oil acts as a lubricant for your car’s engine; it keeps the fast-moving metal parts inside from causing excess friction and reaching extreme temperatures. Over time, your car can lose some of the oil in its system, and the remaining oil becomes dirty and contaminated.
An oil change service should be done on a regular basis. If you don’t keep up on your oil changes, your car will likely need more costly repairs further down the road.
Exactly how often you should get an oil change depends on the type of car you have. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend performing the service every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. An oil change empties the old, dirty oil from the system, and replaces it with an ample amount of clean oil. When your oil is changed, your oil filter should also be replaced.
Just like an oil change, a tire rotation is a preemptive service. Thankfully, it is one of the most common and most affordable maintenance items.
It goes without saying that tires wear and tear as you drive. And that wear and tear won’t always happen evenly. Your car’s front tires are subject to a different level of impact from the road than your rear tires. Occasionally, your left and right tires face different stress as well. By rotating them – usually by swapping the front driver side tire with the rear passenger side tire, and the front passenger side tire with the rear driver side tire – you help even out the wear and tear. This is a quick procedure that is very cheap. In fact, it’s often free if you’re having other repairs done.
And by regularly rotating your tires, you increase the miles you can drive before you need a…
Eventually, no matter how carefully you drive, your tire tread will wear so thin that it’s unsafe to drive on. Tires are like jeans: If you take good care of them, they’ll last a long time. But they’ll eventually wear out to the point of being useless.
When your tires are severely worn, your car’s handling and braking performance will suffer. As a result, your car will become unsafe to drive. Furthermore, worn tires are more susceptible to a blowout. A blown out tire can leave you stranded on the road – and it can also cause you to lose control of your car while traveling at high speeds.
Replacing your tires isn’t as cheap as the other repairs on this list, but it’s fairly common. Depending on how long you own and drive your car, you’ll likely need to replace your tires a few times during your cars lifetime.
Brake Pad Replacement
Brakes are the single most important safety feature on your car. That makes brake pad replacements one of the most important car repairs, in addition to being one of the most common.
Here’s the watered-down version of how disc brakes work: The brake disc spins with the wheel as the car drives. When you press on the brake pedal, the brake pads clamp down on the disc to slow the turning of the wheel.
You can imagine that that friction comes at a cost, and over time, the pads and rotors wear down. When that happens, the pads need to be replaced. The rotors should also be either resurfaced (if possible) or replaced at the same time.
Engine Air Filter Replacement
An engine air filter replacement is one of the most affordable car repairs. Air filters are simple devices that filter the air that enters the engine. The filter blocks out dust and debris that comes in with the air. As a result, over time, the filter gets dirty and can no longer do its job. When that happens, it’s time for a new air filter.
It’s common for tires to lose a bit of air (and don’t worry – that doesn’t always mean that there’s a hole in your tire). Driving with under inflated tires isn’t a great idea. In addition to making for a rougher ride, an under inflated tire is more likely to incur a blowout and wear out faster.
That makes getting your tires inflated a routine service. Most gas stations have air pumps, so you can add air to your tire yourself. But if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, or are afraid that you’ll over inflate your tires, a mechanic can do the job for you it a matter of minutes, usually for little or no charge.
Like so many devices you own, your car relies on a battery for power. Without a battery, the car won’t have the power to turn on or to run the electrical devices (such as the lights and stereo). Your car’s alternator is able to charge the battery, but over time, the battery gets to the point where it will no longer hold a charge. If you’ve owned a car for long enough, it’s bound to happen. But luckily, a battery replacement is a quick, easy, and affordable service that any mechanic can handle for you safely.