10 All-Year-Round Car Maintenance Tips
It’s important to keep up the maintenance of your car all year round, as it promotes the longevity of your vehicle. As the seasons change the way you take care of your car changes slightly too. We will share summer car maintenance tips and winter car maintenance tips. We will also look at the best car maintenance tips. If you take these tips into account you will be ensuring your car will run more smoothly throughout the year.
It’s a wise idea to invest in an extended car warranty too as this offers coverage for your car when it breaks down. We will discuss this in more detail below.
We will look at winter car maintenance tips first.
Winter Car Maintenance Tips
1. Invest in an Extended Warranty
We believe that investing in an extended car warranty is a very good idea when your factory warranty has come to an end. An extended warranty is also known as a Vehicle Service Contract and means the same thing. Here, at Chaiz we offer varying levels of coverage. This is seen from the most comprehensive bumper-to-bumper warranty or exclusionary coverage (most expensive option) to the slightly less coverage option: powertrain plus warranty (slightly less expensive to the powertrain warranty which offers the least coverage (least expensive option).
A Bumper-to-bumper warranty suits someone who drives far in their car with greater wear and tear on the vehicle. You would be more likely to break down. Powertrain plus coverage suits someone who drives mid-range distances with less wear and tear on the vehicle and slightly less chance of a breakdown and a powertrain warranty suits someone who doesn’t drive far in their car with less wear and tear and less chance of a breakdown. Extra perks are sometimes available like roadside assistance, fuel delivery, a tire changing service and trip interruption which means if you break down more than 100 miles away from your home your accommodation fees will be covered. Having an extended car warranty in place in winter if you break down will come really in handy. This is one of the best car maintenance tips.
2. Remember to Change Your Oil and Check the Viscosity of It
Temperature affects the thickness of oil. In the cold it gets dense and might struggle at start-up circulating through the components of the car for proper lubrication. It mustn’t be too thin to run past the components and not adhere to them. In years gone by you had to change the viscosity or weight of the oil from summer to winter months, which you may have to still do in a more dated car. But mainly, it’s not needed today. With multi-viscosity oil available today and newer engines, use the oil that’s recommended in your car’s manual. Oil manufacturers put a lot of research into creating premium oil products and their oils already contain additives to combat temperature change.
If you have to change your oil during a cold winter, run the car engine for 5 minutes to warm the oil, that way, it thins and drains faster. Also, one of the wise winter car maintenance tips is to store the wrench you will use to loosen the drain plug in a warm area. Metal holds onto cold and can be very tricky to handle the cold wrench even with gloves on too. Use a box wrench that is the correct size so you don’t strip the head.
3. Check Your Winter Fluid Levels
You must definitely check your windshield wiper fluid levels, even in winter months. Having working windshield wipers and a good level of wiper fluid will mean you and your family will have better visibility in the depth of a snowstorm. You can use your windshield wipers to clear your windshield of snow and keep the road ahead in clear vision. Wiper fluid will get used up quickly in a snowstorm so you may need to stop over at a gas station en route to your destination to get it topped up. That way when you need to clear the windshield, you can do it easily.
Wiper blades last only a year so replace them when needs be. If you think they need to be replaced, do so before you head out on the road. It depends on the extremity of the weather you get in your area, but you may want to put winter specialized wipers on your car. Also, ensure the wiper fluid has a low freezing point.
It’s also important, when thinking about fluid levels, to ensure that your gas tank is full, which is even more relevant in winter. A full tank of gas may also prevent any accumulated water in your fuel pump from freezing. If you get stuck with a full tank of gas you can leave the engine running to stay warm. This is one of the best car maintenance tips for winter.
4. Get Your Battery Checked
It’s definitely more difficult for your battery to run in cold weather, so you must check if it’s strong enough to last over winter. The only means of doing so is to detect a weak battery using professional equipment. Most drivers can do routine care of their batteries throughout the year. If your battery caps can be removed, check the battery fluid level monthly. Check your manual beforehand, as removal of any cables can damage the car or cause data/code loss on cars.
A perk would be to get a professional to go over your battery. Check your battery prior to winter. A weak battery during the summer months can mean a dead battery in winter. Using a professional can avoid danger, car issues that can arise from inspecting a battery.
5. Consider the Option of Getting Snow Tires
Snow tires are appropriate for the winter months and the terrain that is associated with winter weather. Getting snow tires is one of the good winter car maintenance tips. Snow tires are made out of a softer rubber than what is known as all-season tires. They, therefore, retain flexibility, this is even possible in the coldest weather. The tread pattern on winter tires allows for good grip in both the snow and the ice during the winter season, where conditions can be rather extreme.
Snow tires aren’t an instant solution. They won’t stop your car from slipping and sliding but will provide extra traction that a standard tire wouldn’t. 4×4 vehicles handle better in snow. They actually have superior traction given they have wider wheels. As such, more surface area of the tires touches the ground and due to all the wheels having power they can grip and pull the car individually. Winter tires are necessary in areas where the temperature goes below 45 degrees Fahrenheit and provide more traction. You could also consider adding winter chains to your tires, just ensure you know how to put them on properly.
We will look at summer car maintenance tips first. The tips we have for summer car maintenance are slightly different according to the temperature and weather differences that people experience in their cars during the summer months.
Summer Car Maintenance Tips
6. Check Your Summer Fluid Levels
Hotter weather can mean low transmission fluid, power steering fluid, coolant and windshield wiper fluid, so ensure you check all these levels. Coolant fluid is a very important one particularly if you live in a warm climate and experience very hot summer days! The National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence says the biggest cause of car breakdowns during the hot summer months is overheating.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, get your car in to a mechanic to give your car a once over before you hit the hottest days of summer when your car could break down. Make sure you read our other summer car maintenance tips before you head on over to the mechanic so you can ensure these other key areas of your car are looked at before the days heat up and you are out on the road in your car. Taking your car in for checks is a wise step to take in summer. Also with your extended car warranty in place your car, as mentioned in Tip 1, will be covered if you break down on the road. You can save thousands on repair bills with your extended warranty with Chaiz in place. Browse our extended warranties for your car.
7. Check and Keep an Eye on Your Tire Pressure
When you are out on the road you sometimes encounter hidden potholes and difficult road conditions, so make sure you keep your tires in check. Tires lose as well as gain pressure on a daily basis related to the temperature your car is standing in. In cooler weather, a tire will usually lose 1 -2 pounds of air a month.
Ensure your tires, as well as your spare tire is properly inflated before heading out on a summer-time road trip. Tires that have a low air pressure will wear out more quickly and your tread will wear down, meaning you will need to replace your tire sooner. Check the tread of your tire too before you head out on the road. If it looks good, you will be okay on the road. If you are unsure, ask your mechanic’s opinion of the tread level on your tires. Driving with too low a tread is very dangerous and your tire could even burst if pushed too hard.
8. Get your Brakes Checked
Having well-working brakes on your car is critical. You may encounter stop-and-go traffic, go on long road trips, or drive on tricky roads which have affected your brakes. If your brakes are squeaking or demanding extra pressure when pushed to work, they may need some attention.
If there is something amiss with your brakes, it could lead to an accident so get your mechanic to check the brake discs and brake pads. He/she can also do a test drive of your car to hear the squeaking brakes if there is any noise coming from them. It’s also a good idea for your mechanic to do a test drive of your car to see if there are any other areas of the car that they may think need attending to, especially if they aren’t mentioned here in our summer car maintenance checks.
In an ideal situation, you should get your car brakes inspected every six month period. It is usually done when the tires are rotated. If you can’t remember when your brakes were checked, ask your mechanic to take a look as soon as you can. Depending on driving conditions in your area, they may need to be checked more often. Pay attention to their wear and tear. If you experience less responsiveness or pulling, vibration or loud sounds coming from your brakes, they need attention.
9. Test Your Battery in Summer too
Summer heat accelerates the rate of fluid loss which causes oxidation of battery components, which can leave you stranded without warning on a hot day. Get your mechanic to check your battery in summer for any areas of concern and make sure it is working correctly for those hot summer days. The heat in summer is the main cause of battery failure and a decline in battery longevity in your car. Checking your battery in summer is one of the best car maintenance tips.
10. Evaluate your alignment
If your car pulls around to one side, your steering wheel actually vibrates while you drive, your car isn’t centered, you need to check your wheel alignment. Alignment can go out and this is part of normal wear and tear. Proper wheel alignment prolongs the lifetime of your tires, ensures a better ride. Make sure you check this in summer as the road conditions may be bad in your area and you need your car to hold straight.
These 10 All-Year-Round Car Maintenance Tips Should Help You Have a Better Ride
After taking these seasonal tips into account as well as looking at the best car maintenance tips it is clear that there is a lot you can do to improve the functioning and longevity of your car. Also, ensure you have an extended warranty in place in case you break down. Chaiz makes finding and purchasing your extended warranty/ Vehicle Service contract easy and convenient.