If you just acquired a new car and have been wondering what you need to do to avoid unexpected, costly breakdowns, protect your life and that of other people, and extend your car’s life, then you came to the right place. There are many things you can do to achieve that and more and have safe and enjoyable driving experience. However, nothing beats these “BIG 7” rules.
Here’s what these rules entail:
- Change your oil and oil filter regularly
Oil is everything to your car; it is the lifeblood of your engine. Oil works as a lubricant in the car engine, keeping all the vital engine pieces from grinding against each other and tearing the engine apart. On the other hand, the oil filter keeps the engine from getting damaged by filtering out metallic particles, oxidized oil, dirt and other contaminants that usually accumulate in the oil due to the constant engine wear.
A clogged oil filter can easily allow such contaminants to get into the engine, cause havoc, and affect fuel economy. Always replace your filter each time you change your motor oil.
- Always inspect your tires and maintain them as necessary
Properly inflated tires boosts fuel economy by about 3.3 per cent. Not many people know that, and it’s because the tires are one of those vital car parts we often overlook. If you want to maintain safe driving and avoid costly glitches, you always need to be in touch with your car tires’ pressure.
In most cases, tire damage and wear are caused by driving on inadequately inflated tires, and that’s why I recommend that you develop a habit of checking their air pressure at least once per month and ensuring the pressure is at the right inflation level.
Besides saving on fuel, making your driving more comfortable and reducing the wear, maintaining a good tire pressure also avoids flat tires or the catastrophic blowouts.
- Always test and adjust your headlights
Well-cared-for headlights can make the difference between life and death. Poor headlights limit visibility and increase the risk of missing vital road markings, obstacles and signs. Headlights are one of those car parts that inevitably collect grime over time, making the bulbs dim out or burn out.
For maximum safety, you want to always have bright and clear headlights; these offer you the advantage of one or two extra seconds to respond or react to unexpected obstacles like debris, animals or potholes in the road. Well-functional headlights also alert other cars about your location, which allows them to make a sound judgment regarding their driving in a timely fashion.
- Check, test and replace the windshield wipers regularly
It’s easy to forget the purpose or importance of windshield wipers until you find yourself in the middle of a storm or a heavy downpour. You can imagine what would happen if you encountered harsh weather conditions in a highway and your windshield wipers suddenly stopped working! Actually, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, as high as 75 per cent of weather-related car crashes take place on wet pavements, and 47 per cent occur during rainfall.
Due to sunlight and other factors, the rubber on these unsung heroes deteriorates over time and exposes the metal arm gradually. Detecting and replacing the wiper on time can reduce the cost of replacing a damaged windshield, along with saving your life or someone else’s.
- Have your car’s braking system checked
The potential dangers of a poor braking system need no introduction. It’s deadly when you don’t even have comprehensive car insurance. Well maintained brakes can keep you from accidents and save your life, so you cannot afford to let them wear away and endanger your life. Always ensure to have your brake pads and discs checked by a professional each time you are inspecting or changing the brake fluid and tires.
- Examine the hoses and belts frequently
You also need to inspect the belts and hoses in your car’s engine bay. The hoses keep your engine from overheating by directing coolant flow to keep the engine running properly. A regular examination can help you see bulges or cracks and replace them on time to prevent system failure when you least expect it. Therefore, ensure the hoses and belts are checked each time you change the motor oil.
- Check the other fluids: brake fluid, power steering fluid, coolant and transmission fluid
Besides the engine oil, all the fluids listed above need to stay at the right levels to ensure your car is running smoothly. A regular check helps you detect leaks and low levels, which can help you avoid common road mishaps. So, get a dipstick, remove the relevant covers and inspect each one at least once a week.