When it comes to the parts on your car, some are far more costly to replace than others. If your door handle breaks off in your hand, it might be frustrating but it isn’t cause for undue concern. However, if your transmission starts slipping and you need to replace or rebuild the whole thing, that can lead to serious financial woes. The best way to prevent major and expensive components on your car from going kaputz is to properly maintain them. Maintenance is critical to the longevity of your car and much of the basics can be handled on your own.
Check out these top things you can do to ensure your major car parts don’t fail. Remember, if you do find yourself in need of a car part, small or large, our online tool is here to help. We can match your vehicle to local auto parts and online sources to ensure you find the best price possible.
The first place to begin is to sit down with your owner’s manual and read up on what is recommended for your specific vehicle. Every car is different and while you might be able to let a maintenance task go for 80,000 miles in one car it could be something that needs attention at 30,000 in another.
If you have a used vehicle, you might not know exactly what has already been taken care of on your car and what has not. When in doubt, assume the previous owners didn’t handle any of the routine maintenance and begin with a thorough inspection of parts that should have already been replaced. Your owner’s manual will be your best tool for understanding your specific vehicle’s needs.
As cars age, they can start to leak fluid, burn it off, or show other signs of trouble. You can often catch these issues early on if you pay close attention to your fluid levels. By making it a habit to check the levels of your transmission fluid, oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant, and radiator fluid, you can be aware of any troubling loss of fluid as soon as it happens.
Every vehicle will be different, so checking all of these fluids may or may not be possible depending on how your vehicle is put together. Check your owner’s manual or talk to your local mechanic to determine which fluids you can easily keep an eye on without any major tools needed.
A less critical fluid to the operation of your car but still important to your safety is your windshield wiper fluid. Make sure you keep an eye on this reservoir too and keep extra washer fluid in your trunk.
If there is one simple maintenance task that can go the longest way in ensuring the longevity of your car’s engine it is changing your oil. While it can be easy to keep putting off this task, oil is critical to the operation of your engine. As oil ages, it breaks down and becomes less effective at lubricating the parts in your engine. When this happens, you can cause long-term damage to your vehicle.
Make sure that you keep track of oil changes. Whether you change your car’s oil yourself or you take it into a shop, follow the recommended mileage for your vehicle and the type of oil you choose.
Spark plugs help to ensure that your engine starts every day and that it operates efficiently. As spark plugs age, more voltage is required to make the connection, which is what often leads to difficulty in starting a car in the morning. Spark plugs will give you plenty of warning signs as they deteriorate. If your engine is misfiring or surging, this can be due to bad spark plugs. Old spark plugs will lead to a loss in efficiency and can cost you in gas mileage as well.
The average lifespan of a spark plug is anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 miles depending on the type of spark plug installed. When in doubt, check your spark plugs to see how they look. A fouled spark plug will look ashy and dull with worn down components.
Compare your vehicle’s spark plug to a new one and you will quickly be able to see if the spark plugs are past their prime. Replacing spark plugs is fairly simple on most vehicles and can be a do-it-yourself project. However, if you don’t feel comfortable replacing your own spark plugs or you have a vehicle in which it is particularly difficult, this is a worthwhile maintenance task to visit a mechanic for.
Your vehicle comes equipped with an array of filters, one of which is your engine air filter. This filter is important to keep an eye on as it helps to ensure the longevity of your engine. When your engine air filter is beyond its prime, you will notice a decrease in gas mileage as well as ignition issues.
Replacing your air filter isn’t difficult and it is easy to tell when your filter is past its prime. This is a great maintenance task to pair with changing out your spark plugs. Check your owner’s manual for the specific mileage recommended for your vehicle between tune-ups. The number of miles you can drive on one engine air filter varies greatly by car type.
While poor tires might not lead to any serious damage to your engine or transmission, they can lead to a wreck that damages your entire vehicle. Pay attention to your tires’ tread, as well as taking note of their age. If your tires are past their prime, purchase a new set right away.
To ensure your tires last as long as possible, stick to a consistent schedule of rotating and balancing them. This can help them wear evenly, leading to a better lifespan. You should also take note of your alignment and ensure your vehicle is steering straight.
If your vehicle has a timing belt, rather than a timing chain, this component will need to be replaced around the 60,000 to 100,000 mile marker. Unfortunately, timing belts do not usually provide you with any indication they are about to fail. They simply break one day as you drive down the road. The bad news is that when your timing belt goes, your engine will stop working. This can be extremely dangerous if your timing belt were to snap while you drive at highway speeds. Check your owner’s manual to see what mileage is recommended for your specific vehicle.
If your vehicle, however, has a timing chain rather than a timing belt, you are in luck. Timing chains rarely need to be replaced and unless you notice an issue with yours, this part can be left alone.
If you are on the hunt for any of the above parts, we can help. Use Vinndo to search for local auto parts to keep up with maintenance on time. Our car part finder will help you compare prices with both local shops and online sources.
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