Regular maintenance and temporary troubleshooting are necessary to ensure the durability and reliability of a car. Routine maintenance tasks are usually done in auto-repair and auto-buffer stores. Some of the routine maintenance tasks like checking tire pressure, changing engine oil and cleaning air filter are simple and often affordable. Yet they can be costly in the long run. Long-term costs can be minimized if the simple routine maintenance tasks will be performed as DIY projects. A car owner does not necessarily need to be an expert on vehicle mechanics to perform many of the simple and routine maintenance tasks.
Automotive maintenance involves routine cleaning, repair and replacement of certain components. Routine maintenance should normally be based on the distance traveled by a car. However, it can also be done or a regular time interval, monthly, quarterly or twice a year. It will also depend on the frequency of use and extent of abuse that a vehicle is undergoing. For example, a pickup truck used several hours daily for agricultural work, more frequent maintenance. Similar things can be said of a taxi and other types of public transport vehicles.
Here are some of the basic maintenance tasks that can easily be done even by non-mechanics. These can be done by following simple DIY instructions contained in handyman manuals, books or websites. There are also instructional sounds and videos that can be purchased. In a few cases everything is required for common sense.
Air filter - Automotive experts recommend replacing air filter once every 15,000 miles traveled. Because the air filter is clogged with dust and other particles, the engines inlet efficiency is compromised. Therefore, engine performance is also affected.
Battery - Although car batteries are dense and engineered to last for almost a decade, there are cases where leakage can occur. Since battery fluids are acidic, they may damage other vehicle parts. Leakage can also cause short circuit of electronic / electrical circuits and can discharge the battery. It is recommended that the batteries be checked quarterly. The acid-water solution should also be replaced or replenished on a regular basis.
Brake fluid - Car safety can be compromised if there is a leak in the brake fluid or if it is already too dirty. It should be exchanged regularly at least once per 24,000 mileages or about two years. However, a car owner should regularly check the brake fluid level once every three months along with the engine oil change.
Engine oil - The car is basically an incinerator. This means that it burns fuel and thereby generates heat. The engine oil helps prevent the engine from overheating. It also ensures that frictions between the moving parts are minimized. The engine oil should be replaced every three months or every 3000 km traveled, whichever comes first.
Power steering - Operation of your vehicle will be severely affected if the power steering fluid is defective. It should be checked at least once every six months, especially if the vehicle is to be used for a long journey.
Transmission fluid - This is another very important fluid that has to be checked periodically and replaced. Without it, mechanical force will not be efficiently transmitted to the wheels. It should be checked at least once every three months and should be replaced every 50,000 miles for rear-wheel drive cars and about half the mileage of vehicles that are front-wheel drive.
Some of the most common but simple problems most motorists encounter can easily be solved without having to hire a professional mechanic. Some of the most common but simple car problems include the following:
Weak battery charge - A car does not start if the battery charge is weak or completely zero. The car can either be driven to start. On the other hand, jumper cables can also be used to ask a second driver a service to jump start the car.
Dirty spark plug - If the car does not start, even if the battery is fully charged, the first match is to be checked. They can be dirty that they can not release enough electrical sparks that lead to combustion. They can be easily cleaned with a rug or sandpaper.
Water in the fuel tank - There are cases where water moisture may occur or gradually accumulate in the water tank. This could potentially damage the engine. The fuel must be emptied.
Other common but more complex issues such as noisy brake pads, misaligned wheels and defective steering should be referred to professionals. However, they are all preventive with regular or regular maintenance.