If you’re like most people, there are some basic car maintenance tasks that you don’t remember to do. But forgetting to take care of your car can have some severe consequences. Here are ten common vehicle maintenance tasks that you’re probably forgetting.
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#1: Oil Changes
One of the most important things you can do for your car is to get regular oil changes. But many people forget (or simply don’t realize) how important this is.
Over time, the oil in your engine starts to break down and gets dirty. This can cause many problems, including decreased vehicle fuel efficiency and reduced engine power.
Forgetting to chain your oil also puts extra strain on your engine, leading to costly repairs down the road. So be sure to get an oil change every 5,000 miles or as specified in your owner’s manual.
#2: Tire Rotations
Another essential maintenance task that’s often forgotten is tire rotations.
This is especially important if you have front-wheel drive, as the front tires tend to wear out much faster than the rear tires.
By rotating your tires regularly, you’ll ensure they all wear evenly and last longer.
Rotating your tires is also an excellent opportunity to inspect them for any signs of damage, such as cracks or bulges. Ensure your tires are checked and rotated every 5,000 miles or so.
#3: Replacing Air Filters
Your car’s air filter keeps the air inside the vehicle free of pollutants. But over time, it can get clogged with dirt and dust. This reduces its effectiveness and can even lead to engine problems.
For this reason, it’s important to replace your air filter regularly–most experts recommend doing so every 12,000 miles or so.
You should also remember to replace your cabin air filter regularly–which is one of the most forgotten car maintenance tasks.
What does this mean?
This filter cleans the air that comes into the cabin, and it’s especially important if you have allergies or sensitivities to dust and pollen.
#4: Fluid Checks
Your car’s fluids are vital to its proper functioning. But many people don’t think to check them regularly.
So it’s essential to check the levels of all your car’s fluids–including oil, coolant, and brake fluid–and top them off as needed.
In addition, it’s a good idea to check the condition of your car’s fluids.
For example, your engine oil should be a light brown color. If it’s black and thick, that indicates that it needs to be changed.
#5: Battery Checks
Another often-forgotten maintenance task is checking your car’s battery. Over time, the battery can lose its charge and needs replacement.
But if you don’t check regularly, you may not realize it’s time for a new one until it’s too late.
You should check your car’s battery regularly, and replace it as needed.
Most batteries last for about three years, but if you live in a hot climate or do a lot of short-distance driving, it may need replacement more often.
#6: Inspecting Brakes
Your brakes are one of the most vital safety features in your car. Yet many people don’t think to inspect them regularly.
It’s a good idea to check your brakes at least once a year to ensure they’re in good working order.
Of course, finding out your brakes need to be replaced when driving your car isn’t the best situation.
If you notice any strange noises or your car takes longer to stop than usual, it’s time for a brake check.
#7: Cleaning Windshield Wipers
Another easy maintenance task that’s often overlooked is cleaning your windshield wipers. Over time, the blades can become clogged with dirt and debris, which reduces their effectiveness.
Keeping them clean will ensure that they work correctly when needed.
Cleaning your windshield wipers is easy–simply remove the blades and clean them with a cloth or paper towel.
Be sure to do this at least once a year or more often if you live in a dusty area.
#8: Checking Tire Pressure
Many people forget to check their tire pressure regularly. But it’s important to do so, as low tire pressure can lead to decreased fuel efficiency and even accidents.
Not sure how to check your tire pressure?
It’s easy–just use a tire pressure gauge.
Most gauges are relatively inexpensive and available at any auto parts store.
#9: Replacing Windshield Wiper Blades
As with any other part of your car, windshield wiper blades eventually wear out and need to be replaced. But many people forget to do this until it’s too late.
So to avoid being caught in a storm with ineffective wipers, replace them every six months.
While cleaning them is also essential, they do need replacement every six months as the rubber deteriorates with use and exposure to the elements.
The good news is they are reasonably affordable and easy to purchase at any local auto parts store.
#10: Detailing the Car
Finally, one often overlooked maintenance task is detailing the car. This includes things like washing and waxing the exterior, cleaning the interior, and polishing the headlights.
While it’s not strictly necessary, keeping your car clean and well-maintained can help it last longer and look better.
You should also vacuum the interior regularly to prevent dirt and debris from building up. If you smoke or have pets, you may need to clean more often.
Consider making car cleaning a part of your weekly routine for best results.
Should You Handle Car Maintenance Tasks Yourself?
While staying on top of car maintenance is crucial, you may not want to do all the work yourself.
If you’re not comfortable working on your car or don’t have the time, plenty of reputable shops can handle the task for you. Just be sure to find one that you trust, and that has a good reputation.
Asking friends or family members for suggestions is usually the best place to start.
The Bottom Line: Car Maintenance is Important
There are tons of important car maintenance tasks that many people forget about.
But by staying on top of them, you can help your car last longer and run better while also increasing overall safety.
So be sure to add them to your regular maintenance routine.