You don’t have to be a mechanic to know your way around a sedan or SUV. In fact, thanks to technology and the way cars are manufactured today, conducting routine vehicle maintenance is easier than ever before — and the practice may allow you to occasionally (or altogether) forego driving to your local repair shop. Ready to take greater control of your ride? Here are a few things you can do from home to keep your sedan or SUV running like new.
The Car Maintenance Checklist
Replace Your Windshield Wipers
Our windshield wipers come in handy during a storm, but they can certainly wear out over time. When was the last you replaced your set? If your answer is “never,” then it’s high time to swap them out. Experts say windshield wipers should be replaced roughly every six to 12 months. Of course, you’ll know when it’s time to spring for a new set, especially when your current wipers leave behind streaks, make a squeaky noise and/or skip across your windshield without doing their job.
But don’t wait too long and be forced to take cover during a torrential downpour. Windshield wipers are affordable and one of the easiest things to replace on your sedan or SUV. When it’s time to replace your pair, you may want to first consult your vehicle owner’s manual. Here you’ll find the appropriate wipers your vehicle requires, as all sedans and SUVs have different specifications. Some models even call for two different-sized wiper blades.
Swap Your Cabin Air Filter
Like swapping out your old windshield wipers, replacing your cabin air filter is one of the easiest things you can do. Routinely changing the filter will keep your car comfortable, as it cleans the air that filters through your vents, catching pollen, dust and a whole host of other airborne debris. Not sure when it may be time to replace it? Reduced airflow and persistent bad odors are two tell-tale signs that your cabin air filter needs to be swapped out for a new one. If you need more incentive, experts suggest replacing your car’s air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.
Look for Signs of Tire Wear
Your tires transport you from location to location, so taking care of them is obviously essential. In fact, it’s key to make sure your tires wear evenly and are balanced, as these two factors help ensure your vehicle runs smoothly. Furthermore, you can keep your tires in tip-top shape by inspecting them regularly, while also making sure to:
- Remove gravel and debris stuck in the treads
- Check each tire’s air pressure
- Keep track of each tire’s mileage
It’s no secret your tires will eventually need to be replaced. Despite the hefty expense, experts say it’s best to replace all four tires at once, as this will allow each tire to have equal wear and balance. When selecting tires at a mechanic shop or through an online retailer like TireBuyer.com, make sure to look for and purchase a brand-name option.
And remember — cheaper doesn’t mean better. While they may cost a bit more, expensive, brand-name tires are often better manufactured and have a longer lifespan than their bargain counterparts.
Check Your Battery
Today’s car batteries have a long shelf life and often don’t require much in the way of maintenance. But just because they don’t need a ton of routine maintenance doesn’t mean they should be ignored altogether. You’ll want to keep your battery running efficiently by regularly checking it for mineral buildup and leaks.
If you spot a leak or buildup, you can easily clean it with a battery-cleaning brush, which will cost you only a few bucks at any auto parts retailer. Likewise, if you’re on the road a lot, you may want to consider picking up a jump starter or battery tester to keep stored in your trunk, just in case you need one of them in a pinch.
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement. We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I’ve learned to accept that we have to all appreciate the little things and to not take anything for granted.
2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?
I appreciate and I’m blessed to have loving family and friends in my life.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
My biggest achievement is graduating from Arizona State University in 2013!
4. Of course, we all have imperfections, or so we think. In truth, we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? Likewise, what imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Working to keep in mind that nobody’s perfect—it’s been hard to accept it.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to appreciate and express all the positive traits that make you…well…YOU! In fact, sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (We assure you!) Therefore, Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my unwavering intensity. Everything I do is 100 percent.