How to maintain your vehicle

Many of us have a car, but the reasons we have them can vary greatly. You might need a run-around for commuting to work or going to the supermarket, or a vehicle that is large enough to transport your children (and their belongings) to school—or you might even have a vehicle just because you like it.

Yet being a car owner comes with a few responsibilities, which may be different depending on how and when we use our vehicle. Whether you use yours every day or only once in a while, here are just a few of the tasks that you can carry out on your car to make sure it is well maintained and stays in the best possible condition.

Keep to the maintenance schedule

Your vehicle will have a recommended maintenance schedule, which may say, for instance, that the oil is to be changed at set intervals. You should keep to other timely milestones, too, even if you don’t drive your car very often. With the oil, you may want to change it every 6 to 12 months, depending on how old the vehicle is.

Drive your car every so often

If you don’t drive your car regularly, then it is best to make the effort to drive it occasionally so that your battery can stay charged. Most cars will also have rubber components that will need some motion in order to avoid them breaking down over time. How often you need to do this will depend on your vehicle’s age and where it is stored.

Inflate your tires

The temperature may change if your car sits still for a long time, and the tires could slowly lose pressure. Therefore, inflate them to the recommended air pressure, without exceeding the maximum value. If your car is in storage, then repeat this when you take it out.

Clean your car

Make sure you give your car a clean from top to bottom, which should include washing, polishing, and waxing the exterior—and getting rid of hard-to-remove dirt and debris. If there’s any unpainted metal on your car, then think about spraying on an undercoat to help protect it from rust.

You could also use a portable garage to protect your vehicle. Not only will this help shield it from the weather, but you can use it for storing other items as well.

Check your brakes

Your car’s owner’s manual will have a maintenance schedule that has been devised to keep your brakes in good condition. This is an easy way to avoid repairs or failures; your brakes should be inspected each year.

Brakes will have warning signs for when they need a mechanic’s attention. A red brake-warning light could mean there’s an imbalance in your hydraulic system, for instance, while a spongy or low pedal could mean there’s air in that same system. Any grinding sounds and continuous squeals will normally mean it’s time for new brake pads or shoes. You should have your brakes checked if you notice anything unusual about them.