Your car needs regular TLC. Even if you’re good about getting those oil changes on time, checking and replacing your fluids, and swapping out your windshield wipers, there are still some little things you might be forgetting to do to keep your car running in tiptop shape.
Check Your Tire Pressure
If your tire pressure is low, it can put unnecessary wear and tear on your wheels. It can also greatly reduce your car’s fuel economy. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, “a drop of 25 percent in tire pressure would equate to a loss of 2.6 percent in fuel economy, or a drop of 0.8 miles per gallon.” Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation maintains three key reasons to check your tire pressure regularly:
- It’s natural for most tires to lose air gradually over time.
- Sudden impact on a tire, like hitting a pothole or a curb, can force air out of your tires.
- Radial tires are hard to inspect just by looking at them, so checking the pressure will give you an accurate reading.
Pull out the tire gauge and do a quick check once a month. If you don’t already have one you can pick up a tire gauge at any auto parts store. Make sure you check your owner’s manual so you know your tire’s ideal Pounds per Square Inch (PSI). In addition, always check the pressure when tires are cold, and if any of them appear low, you can do a quick fill up at a gas station.
Check Your Spare Tire
When was the last time you did this? Be honest. Yeah, we thought so. It’s not something we think of regularly but it’s important to ensure your spare tire is properly inflated and ready when you need it. You don’t want to be stranded with a flat tire only to discover your spare is totally useless. Add this to your monthly car maintenance checklist. Be sure to refer to your car owner’s manual for your spare’s ideal PSI.
Replace Your Air Filter
A blocked air filter could reduce airflow, resulting in poor fuel economy and overall car performance. While you don’t need to replace it as often as your oil, it does need to be replaced every 12 months or 12,000 miles. This is an easy do-it-yourself project and takes very little time, and money.
Check Your Hoses and Belts
If you’re driving an older car these rubber parts can wear down, crack, and eventually burst or break risking overheating or worse. Have a look under the hood every season and check for any signs of aging on hoses or belts. If they look worn or you see a crack, have them replaced right away. If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, ask your mechanic to check them out next time you take your car in for a tune up.
Replace Your Fuel Filter
Even if you’re good about changing your oil every 3,000 or 5,000 miles, are you remembering to change your fuel filter? This is a project that might slip your mind since it’s not one you do several times a year. In fact, you can get by replacing your fuel filter every two years. Nevertheless, don’t forget about it, especially if you’re putting a lot of miles on your car annually.
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This is a guest post from I DRIVE SAFELY, the largest online traffic school in the United States offering Online Driving School/ Defensive Driving, Teen and Adult Drivers Ed and Insurance Reduction courses.