Just like getting regular checkups from a doctor for your own health, preventative maintenance of your vehicle's health should never be ignored. Preventative maintenance allows you to catch small problems before they become significant problems.
Before beginning any maintenance checks, read your owner's manual.
Your vehicle's owners manual contains information that helps protect you from voiding your warranty or causing damage to your car. For example, if you're using the wrong oil or fuel, you could be causing damage to other systems in your car. Read the manual and follow the instructions. If you cannot locate your manual, look online for it.
Perform your inspections regularly.
This includes checking your tire pressure every month, making sure all of your lights are working correctly and looking for tire tread wear indicators. If anything seems out of the ordinary, schedule a maintenance appointment, do not ignore it.
Learn to check your engine fluids. You should understand how to check your antifreeze, coolant, power steering, oil, and wiper fluid. Most of these have dipsticks to pull and check the current level against the optimal level. If your owner's manual doesn't mention transmission fluid or antifreeze, don't hesitate to open your hood and try to locate it. Never ignore a leak.
Know when your timing and serpentine belts need to be replaced. While the common understanding is to replace your timing belt every 60,000 miles, and your serpentine belt every 40,000 miles, again, consult your owner's manual. Use your manual's recommendation as a guideline and ask your mechanic to inspect the belts when you near the appropriate time to replace them.
Check your oil and get regular oil changes. Whether you have a dipstick or an electronic gauge, you should know how to check your oil. Refer to your owner's manual to find out how frequently your oil should be changed and know what signs to look for if your oil is murky.
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