110 Car Maintenance Tips That You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

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110 Car maintenance tips

Cars are supposed to live for years without any issues in the best-case scenario. However, some people don’t know how to maintain their cars, so, they can last for up to 300,000 miles. If you own a car, any type of car, you should know how to maintain it properly. Thus, here is a comprehensive guide of 110 Car maintenance tips

Why should I maintain my car?

Eventually, you will change your car one day. However, maintain your car has many benefits. It is not just an added cost or effort. Some of these benefits include: 

Extending the life of the car: By doing the proper maintenance tip, you can extend the lifespan of the vehicle. Your car has many parts from the tires and engine to the struts and shocks. By maintaining each part, you guarantee that they live the longest. By extension, your vehicle will remain working for years. 

Increase the resale value: One of the things most car enthusiasts know is that cars that follow the maintenance schedule and have all the needed maintenance done have higher resale value. No one wants to buy a used car that has lots of problems. Thus, by doing the required maintenance checks and procedures, you won’t lose much money if you decided to sell your car. 

Increase safety: This is obvious and known to anyone. When you have every part of your car in the best possible conditions, there is no risk of having the car engine stop suddenly or the tires wear out unexpectedly. So, doing the proper checks and replacing the outdated parts according to the recommended maintenance schedule can prevent all these unwanted accidents from happening. 

Comfortable driving: Driving a car with well-inflated tires and a good working engine is different from driving a car with wearing out or about to-wear-out parts. So, when you do the maintenance checks, you can drive your car conveniently without worrying that any part will decrease the driving experience in any way. 

Save money: Repairing or replacing a failing car part is certainly more expensive than maintaining the same part. Although you will be paying money to do the maintenance checks, this cost is nothing compared to paying to replace an engine for example. Also, when a major part like the engine has problems, this affects other parts which cost money as well. 

How often do I need car maintenance?

It depends on the car you drive. If you drive a new model, it mostly has a maintenance reminder system that gives you reminders when there are needed checks. For example, the system will remind you of the engine oil change, tires inspection or replacement, battery check, and so on. So, if you drive one of these cars, no need to care about a maintenance schedule as your car will do this job. 

On the other side, if you drive a car without a maintenance reminder system, you should regularly check the recommended timings by your car manufacturer. There are different schools on this point. For example: 

  • Some mechanics recommend doing the overall maintenance at 30,000 miles, 60,000 miles, and 90,000 miles.
  • Another option is the shorter intervals of 3,000, 6,000, 9,000, and 12,000 miles. At each of these intervals, you must check parts. The battery and cables should be checked every 3,000 miles. The windshield every 6,000 miles whereas the power steering every 9,000 miles. Further, the coolant should be checked every 12,000 miles.
  • On the same side, some mechanics go for a stricter schedule:
    • Changing the engine oil every 3,000 and maximum 5,000 miles according to its state.
    • Rotating the tires every 5,000 – 7,000 miles.
    • Replacing the battery every 4 years.
    • Replacing the engine filter every 15,000 – 30,000 miles.

These are just guidelines where each vehicle varies. So, the best thing is to refer to the car manufacturer to know the proper timings. Also, if you ever find a problem at any part, don’t wait until the time of the maintenance comes.

How long does car maintenance take?

Depends on what you want to do or what you are getting repaired. Typically, it takes from 90 minutes to three hours. It may take according to many factors including the car condition and the maintenance center, technicians, and engineers working there. 

You can expect how much time you will take depending on the maintenance schedule you already have. For example, if it is time to rotate the tires or replace them, expect not less than 30 minutes. Similarly, if you need to do more extensive work in the engine or so, you may take more than 3 hours. 

How much is car maintenance per month?

Again, this depends on other factors. These factors are: 

  • The car model: More expensive cars need more costly maintenance as the aftermarket pieces cost higher for luxurious cars.
  • The car condition: If you recently bought the car, then, it is mostly in good condition. So, it won’t cost much unless it is a used car. However, a used car that has been taken care of won’t cost that much as well.
  • Mileages: Cars that have run more mileages will cost more as parts begin to wear out.
  • Driving conditions and behavior: Some drivers take care of their cars while others are used to aggressive driving. This makes a difference in how much you will pay when maintaining the car. Also, people who live in extreme hot or cold weather need to spend more to keep their cars in a good condition.

Generally, it is recommended to expect an average of $100 per month for car maintenance. This can go higher or lower according to the above factors.

Why is car maintenance so expensive?

Some people feel that owning a car is very costly as there are many costs related to maintenance, insurance, and fuel. This can be true to an extent because a maintenance can be costly in some cases. Some of the reasons for expensive maintenance costs are: 

  • Patented Parts

By patented parts we mean the parts in the car that the manufacturer patent, so, the car owner cannot replace them except with OEM parts. Certainly, OEM parts cost more than other aftermarket parts. 

It might be some small parts in the car that are patented, however, if you are obliged to buy two or more OEM parts at the same time, this will increase the invoice dramatically. 

  • The Cost of work

Regardless of the cost of the pieces you will replace or check, there is the cost of labor. This is the money you will pay for the technician or the engineer who worked on your car. The more skillful the technician is, the more money you will pay. 

The same thing for the car maintenance center as well. If you take your car to a professional center, you will pay more money than taking your car to a standard mechanic. 

  • Luxurious cars 

Many car manufacturers have upgraded their car models and added fancy additions like cameras, parking assist, and others. These additions are very helpful and can add a lot of comfort to the driving experience. However, when it comes to maintaining these cars, you will pay extra money to check these additions as well. So, everything comes with its costs. 

110 Car maintenance tips

1. Check the manual 

To know the exact dates of maintenance procedures, the best thing to do is to read the manual. Inside this manual, you will find all the recommended maintenance schedules and even more, the compatible parts as car tires and engine batteries.

Tires Maintenance

Maintaining the car tires and wheels is very important for your safety. Moreover, good-conditioned car tires can affect the fuel economy. So, performing a simple inspection on the car tires every month can save you a lot. Most importantly, saves your life from unexpected accidents.

Car Tires Maintenance Mostpicker

2. Inspect the tires 

As mentioned, inspection is better performed every month. However, if you drive your vehicle more than usual, or if you live in colder or hotter climates, do this inspection every two weeks.

Inspecting your car tire is a very simple and easy process. You can do it on your own. You just need to look at the tires and check for two things:

  • Inflation: Over-inflated tires will have their middle section bulging and wearing down whereas under-inflated tires will have sagging sides.
  • Alignment: If the tires are not all aligned, you can notice this easily by looking at the car from the front and back sides.

3. Check the spare tire 

Make sure your spare tire is always inflated just like the other four tires. If it happened that you replaced one of the tires with the spare tire, make sure to get the tire inflated or even change if it completely failed.

4. Tires air pressure 

Check the air pressure for all four tires and the spare one as well once per month. The normal air pressure for passenger cars ranges from 30 to 35 PSI and sometimes up to 40 in some cars when they are still cool (i.e., before driving the car on a long trip or after at least three hours from driving).

5. Alignment 

While driving, if you feel that a tire is not moving according to how you want it to and the steering starts to have unusual vibrations, it is highly recommended to pull over and stop the car and have a manual check. To be precise, with the help of the steering, try turning the wheels from right to left, and if you still feel a misalignment, then it is best to call a mechanic.

6. Measure the tread 

The tread is the imprints on the car tire. These treads should have a certain depth to prevent the car from skidding over rainy roads. Similarly, they help the car run over sandy or uneven roads. To check the tread, there is a simple trick all car maintenance professionals recommend.

Simply, insert a quarter coin between the car treads. If you can see a large part of the coin, then your car tires are worn out and need to be changed. Do this check on three locations on each tire: from both sides and from the middle.

7. Use the suitable tires 

In extreme weather conditions, there are car tires for cold and snowy seasons and others for normal weather. If you drive your car in one of these countries that have this extreme weather, make sure to use the suitable car tire according to the weather.

8. Rotate the tires 

This step is always skipped by many car owners. However, it is very important to rotate the tires and have them aligned every number of miles (an average of 3,000 to 5,000). The car manual mostly has the recommended intervals for rotating the tires.

9. Change the tires altogether 

When it is time to change the tires, change the four at the same time. Similarly, if one of the tires wears out, it is better to change the four at the same time. Installing mismatched tires can cause a lot of problems. Even if you change one of the tires with the same brand and model, still there are chances that the tires’ imprints are different because one is overused and the other is brand new.

Oil And Other Fluids

Your car needs more than fuel to operate. Fuel or gasoline is one of many fluids that you must add to your vehicle every now and then to get it operated. So, you need to check all the fluids in your car by doing the following:

Car maintenance oil and other fluids Mostpicker

10. Check the oil level 

First, do the first step of the 110 Car maintenance tips to know when you should inspect your oil. Also, you need to know the proper method of checking the oil level for your specific car.

Some cars, especially the new models, have electronic oil monitors. For older models, you need to do the inspection manually.

To inspect the oil level manually, shut off the car engine and make sure your car is parking on ground level. Open the car hood and look for the dipstick which should be inserted in the oil tube. Take it out and clean it well, then, insert it again into the tube. Push the dipstick all the way down and then takes it off to see the oil level. The dipstick should have marks to indicate if the oil level is good or not. 

Do this check at least once per month. This is a very simple step but will save a lot. If you find the oil below the required levels, then add oil immediately till it reaches the acceptable level.

11. Oil change 

Surely you know you must change your car’s oil every now and then. Oil change intervals depend on the status of the car and the driving conditions. Usually, cars fall under one of these categories:

  • Normal driving conditions
  • Driving in very hot and dusty weather
  • Repetitive stops (as buses and other transportation)
  • Towing and hauling (as trucks)

The normal driving conditions need changing the oil in shorter intervals than the other categories. So, you need to determine which category your car falls under.

For normal driving conditions, cars need to have the oil changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. However, the newer models need an oil change every 7,500 or 10,000 miles. Generally, you should change the oil at least two times per year.

12. Choose the right oil 

Each car needs a specific kind of oil and recommended viscosity. This should be recommended by the car manufacturer. So, you should know which oil to use before you visit the maintenance center or the mechanic. Once you figure out the type of oil you need and you are satisfied, stick to this soil type if it is working well for your vehicle.

However, if you cannot find the recommended oil type written anywhere in the car manual, you can ask for recommendations from a trusted mechanic or other same car owners.

13. Check the other fluids 

Checking other fluids is done in the same way as the engine oil. All the fluids typically come with dipsticks to ease the inspection process. Follow the same steps mentioned above in checking the oil level to know if you need to replace any of the vehicle oils. 

14. Know when to refill and replace fluids 

Refilling is totally different from replacing. At some point, any of the car fluids may need replacement as it is completely ruined. Refilling the fluid here may be more harmful to the car. Alternatively, if there is a leak or something, all you need is to prevent leakage from its source and refill the fluid to acceptable levels. 

15. Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is found in all vehicles including automatic and manual transmission ones. The fluid is necessary to smooth the movements and make transmissions easy. 

Like other fluids, this oil should be replaced, however, there is no duration to get the oil replaced. It depends on your driving habits and car conditions. So, with every major maintenance, you need to get this fluid checked to know if it needs replacement or not. 

If the transmission fluid is left without changing, this may lead to the failure of other parts of the transmission system. Thus, keep it in your mind to avoid extra costs. 

16. Transfer Case Fluid

The transfer case fluid is also related to the transmission system. This fluid is used to transmit the power to the axles. It is found in all kinds of vehicles, and it is also important to check every now and then to prevent any damage to the transmission system parts. 

The transfer case fluid can be accessed from the bottom of the car. It might be difficult to access. So, we recommend you always check it at a professional mechanic if you don’t know exactly where it is located. 

17. Brake fluid

Signs that you have a bad brake fluid are obvious. The fluid becomes dark in color and appears to have debris and dirt within the fluid. Check the brake fluid every time you check the braking or suspension system. When you observe this change in color, replace this fluid. 

18. Power steering fluid 

The power steering fluid is responsible for easing the steering process. The fluid should be clean and at the appropriate level, so, you don’t face any problems with the steering. Typically, this fluid shouldn’t have any issues and should be replaced after a long time of use. Unless there is a leak or a major problem, the fluid will always be at the required levels. 

To inspect the fluid, just look at its compartment in the engine. The compartment is made transparent in most car models to make it easier to inspect the fluid. If you find any dropping in the fluid level, we advise you to look for any leakage problems. Also, ensure the fluid is always clean. 

19. Coolant and antifreeze fluids 

Although the fluids do different tasks, they are similar in the checking process. The coolant is, as the name suggests, cools down the engine. It is usually found in green or orange color. So, you can distinguish this liquid easily. 

Both liquids should be checked with their dipsticks to know if they are leveled correctly or not. If they are below the levels, don’t just refill them. Go the extra mile and check for a leak or any other related problems. 

20. Windshield washer fluid

Although this fluid is not critical as other fluids, it is important to inspect as well to keep everything working properly. The windshield fluid is like the power steering fluid where the compartment is transparent. By just looking at this area, you can figure out if the fluid is full or empty. 

The windshield washer fluid is different in that it is not a particular oil or fluid to make things work. It is a cleaning fluid used to clean the glass. So, you have a degree of flexibility here to choose your preferred cleaning mixture.  

Car Engine Maintenance Tips

Imagine driving a car with a poor engine. This will completely ruin the driving experience. Moreover, you can expect other problems to emerge because of an unmaintained engine. Here are a few tips to keep your car engine in the best conditions. 

Car Engine Maintenance Tips Mostpicker

21. Check the cooling system 

The cooling system is very essential to cool down the engine. If the engine is working, it exhausts heat where overheating might damage the engine. Thus, the cooling system is very essential for the safety of the engine. 

The cooling system includes the coolant, the radiator, water pump, and thermostat. The coolant is the fluid of the cooling system, and it should be maintained as mentioned in tip number 19. This fluid is responsible for keeping the engine as cool as possible. 

The thermostat is responsible for measuring the temperature of the engine. When it finds that the engine is getting very hot, it directly triggers the water pump to take the radiator fluid or the coolant from the radiator and push it towards the engine to cool it down. 

The coolant keeps circulating back and forth between the engine bay and the radiator to cool down the engine during its operation. So, any problems with the thermostat, coolant, or radiator will prevent the engine from cooling down as required. 

One of the significant signs that the cooling system has a problem is that the engine remains hot and thus, the car overheats. However, you should never wait until this problem occurs because this might stop the car. 

22. Check the air filters

Air filters can be used for years. However, if you live in a very dirty environment or a desert area, for example, changes that the air filter gets dirty quickly are high. Air filters are used to protect the engine from road debris and other dirt. So, whenever you raise the hood to check the engine fluid and other fluids, look at the air filter. If it is clean, no need to replace it. 

Similarly, if the filter is a bit dirty, you can just clean it instead of replacing the whole filter. Some air filters are washable, so, check the product you have inside your engine bay to know the best method of cleaning it. 

23. Inspect the rubber hoses 

The engine rubber hoses connect parts together. If there is any problem with these hoses, they might cause leakage which can be dangerous if left without repair.

The rubber hoses can wear out because of heat. When the cooling system is not working properly, the engine bay is overheated, and the rubber hoses might wear out. Another reason is the lifespan of the item itself. Like any other product, rubber hoses have a lifespan. So, they will eventually wear out regardless of any other factors. 

You can know easily if the rubber hoses are in good condition or not by just looking at them. If they are completely torn or worn out, you will smell an oil odor resulting from leakage. Also, when the car is parked anywhere, you can notice leakage under the car. These are all signs to urge you to check the hoses. 

24. Don’t let the gas tank get empty 

Whatever fuel you use for your vehicle, may contain sediment. These sediments are usually filtered out by the fuel filter, so, it doesn’t cause any harm to the engine. The sediments accumulate at the bottom of the fuel tank and reside there with no problem if the fuel filter is in a good condition. However, when you let the car fuel tank go empty and refill it with fuel, the poured over fuel will manipulate the sediments and push them from the bottom of the fuel tank to the top. 

The fuel filter will still do its job of filtering out the sediments. However, if this problem repeats more than one time and you consistently let the fuel tank go all way down to emptiness, the sediments and debris will be too much for the filter to handle. Some of them will pass the filter and get into the engine. 

An easy solution to solve this problem is to always make sure you are not running out of fuel. Keep your fuel tank at an average of half-tank. You may go higher or lower as you wish but make sure it doesn’t always get empty. 

25. Check the timing belt 

The timing belt is another part of the engine system which should be checked and replaced when necessary. This part is used to give power to some other parts of the car as the power steering pump and alternator to get them to operate. 

The timing belt inspection is done by just checking them visually. You can notice any problems like cracks or wear out by visual inspection. Bear in mind that these parts also need replacement after a couple of years according to the frequency of driving your car. Most mechanics recommend checking the timing belt once per month and changing it after not less than 4 years or at least 40,000 miles. 

Suspension System Maintenance

The suspension system should be checked at least every 50,000 miles. However, this system has lots of parts where each part should have a scheduled maintenance timing. The system includes the shocks, struts, springs, and many other parts. Some people also include the tires as part of the suspension system. Here is a sneak peek of what you should do to maintain the car suspension system

Car Suspension System Maintenance Mostpicker

26. Shocks and struts 

Shocks and struts are what absorb the shocks when you drive over a bump or an uneven road. The shocks and struts should be checked every 50,000 miles. They might need to be changed at this interval as well. 

If you are used to driving on uneven surfaces all the time, then, you may need to check the shocks and struts after 30,000 miles or so. Also, Sedan cars are different from 4×4 cars as 4×4 have more rigorous shocks. 

So, the rule of thumb is to check the shocks at a maximum of 50,000 miles unless you experience a problem with driving over bumps and decreased smoothness over the road. 

27. Spark Plugs

Spark plugs give the spark to the engine to start once you power the car on. The spark plugs trigger the gas and air inside the engine to produce power for the car to move. If those small parts fail, the engine won’t have enough power to run as you are used to. 

There are a few signs that might tell you if the spark plugs have a problem or not. These signs include: 

  • The car doesn’t accelerate smoothly as usual 
  • The engine struggles to start 
  • You hear an unusual sound when you ignite the power and start the engine 
  • The fuel consumption is not efficient as usual

If you notice any of the above signs, maybe it is time to change the spark plugs. Like other suspension system parts, these should also be inspected at an average of 50,000 miles intervals. 

28. Brake pads 

The braking pads are an integral part of the suspension system. If they failed, the whole suspension system becomes of no use. 

To spot any problems with the brake pads, you don’t have to do anything. You will hear a sound whenever you push the brakes. However, it is not a good sign because this means the brakes had a problem that was left without solutions for a while until it became very noticeable. 

The brake pads are very costly to replace. So, check them every 50,000 miles along with other suspension system parts to avoid extra costs. 

29. Bleed the brake lines 

Brake lines should be checked every 2 or 3 years to avoid problems with the braking system as well. The brake fluid is also replaceable after nearly the same interval of time, and you can bleed the brake lines after that. 

To be honest, this process is not the easiest. So, we recommend you get it done at a car service center or a professional mechanic. 

30. Inspect the rubber bushings 

The bushings have rubber sealing to absorb shocks and vibrations and smooth the movements between different parts of the suspension system. Since it is made of rubber, it tears out after years of use. So, they need a replacement immediately. 

Also, you need to make sure that the bushings are always clean. They might get dirty from road debris reaching them by a way or another or oil accumulation that leaked from any of the suspension system parts. Hence, don’t forget those bushings whenever you are inspecting the suspension system. 

Battery Maintenance 

The car battery is the main part of the car’s electrical system. The car electrical system consists of the battery, starter, and alternator. The battery is the source of power for everything inside the car. It supplies the engine with the power needed to operate. Also, the battery is responsible for operating everything else in the car as the automatic windows, door locks, sound system, cameras, and whatever accessories you have in the car.

Car Battery Maintenance Mostpicker

The starter is what receives the power from the battery and rotates the flywheel to ignite the engine. Finally, the alternator is used to charge the battery. So, the whole thing starts with a good battery. Here are a few tips to maintain your car battery: 

31. Start the engine with everything turned off

When you have checked everything related to the engine and it is time to move with your car, make sure you have turned everything off before you start the car. By everything, we mean the AC, blower motor, any sound systems, and so on. 

This step is very important every time you start off the engine. Try to get yourself used to shut off every major part in the car when you just parked. Similarly, always start the engine first before anything else. This will decrease the electrical load the engine needs to operate, thus, reduce lots of electrical problems. 

32. Make sure there is no corrosion 

Car batteries should be inspected once per month to make sure there is no corrosion on any part of the battery. Also, check the battery cables for signs of corrosion. If you find any, you can use baking soda and water to remove the corrosion if it is only small parts and not the whole thing had built-up corrosion. Alternatively, you can use corrosion removal products in a more effective and easier way. 

33. Clean the battery 

Always keep your battery clean by removing any debris and accumulated oil over the car battery. A dirty battery is not good for the whole electrical system as it prevents the battery from producing the amount of power needed to operate the car components. 

To clean the battery, you need to follow these simple steps: 

  • Turn off the engine, open the car hood, and find the battery 
  • Disconnect all the cables 
  • Clean each cable and the battery posts using a special fluid (you can purchase it at any car accessories shop). 
  • Rinse the parts with water and wait until they dry out. You may use a dry piece of cloth to dry the cables and battery posts. 
  • Reconnect the cables as they were before 

34. Keep the battery case clean

Like the battery itself, the case should be kept clean, so, no debris or contamination flows from the case to the battery itself. Cleaning the case is the same thing as cleaning the battery. You must turn off the engine and disconnect the battery to clean the case. You may also use the same product you used to clean the battery for the case. 

Whenever you are inspecting the battery and decided to clean it, it is better to clean the case at the same time. Keeping the case clean affects the cleanliness of the battery and vice versa. So, both steps are simultaneous. 

35. Secure the battery in its place 

If you disconnected the battery and removed it for cleaning or any other reason, or if you have a new battery installed in your car, make sure it is properly secured in its compartment. A loose battery can cause a lot of problems as it might leak the acid which leads to a dead battery in no time. Also, this problem might affect the engine if the acid leaked to the engine and cause the engine to stop working. 

36. Check the electrolyte level 

The electrolyte is the mixture of water and acid inside the battery cells. The electrolyte has a certain level that shouldn’t cross or become very lower than the required level. Generally, this level is about half an inch below the filling hole.  

If you find the electrolyte below the levels, fill it with distilled water. Make sure you reach the levels and don’t let the liquid overfills the cells. Also, allow some time for the water to mix with the acid to form the electrolyte. 

37. Check the charge of the battery 

You should know how to read the charge of the battery. When the battery is in full charge, the reading shouldn’t be less than 1.265. Also, the cells of the battery should all have the same readings. If the cells have lower than 1.265 readings but they are all the same number, recharge the battery. However, if each cell shows a different reading than the other, then replace the battery. 

Testing the electrolyte charge in the battery cells is done by taking a sample from each cell and putting it into the tester made specifically for this purpose. You need to test every cell and write the number you get to compare cells together. Make sure the testers have the same calibration which is usually at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

38. Charge the battery every now and then 

Without doing the previous step, you still need to charge the battery every now and then. Like your mobile phone and laptop, if they are kept without charging, they will drain and won’t operate as needed. 

However, you should never let your battery overcharge because this will also harm the battery and decrease its lifespan. One of the solutions is to purchase a battery maintainer which monitors the battery charge and adjust accordingly to avoid overcharging. 

39. Keep the battery warm 

If you live in a cold country, you need to find a way to keep the batteries warm. One of the products you should consider is the insulation blanket or the insulation sheet that keeps the battery warm no matter how cold the weather is. This step is only necessary for very cold countries where it is always near or below zero degrees Celsius. 

40. Avoid overheating the battery 

The exact opposite thing is not to leave the battery overheated. Excessive heat is harmful to the battery as it negatively impacts its performance and reduces the amount of power it can give to the engine. 

To prevent this, don’t leave the car for a long time in a hot exposed place. Also, turn off all the accessories of the car when not in use. In addition, don’t forget to turn off the lights when you power off the car. 

41. Don’t give much electrical current to a dead battery 

Many of us have faced this situation once or more. The battery is suddenly dead, and you need to do something to get this battery to work and drive your car back home. First, if you followed all the previous tips, it is less likely you will face this situation. However, there is still a chance, even a small one, that you will face this issue. 

Whenever your battery is dead, try to avoid excessive current from another friend’s car battery. You can do so by leaving the headlights on, so, there is something else operated that needs some of the electrical current received by your dead battery. 

42. Change the battery when needed 

The battery is one of the most important things that should be replaced once it completed its lifespan. However, the lifespan of a car battery depends on the driving habits and other factors related to the weather and maintenance of the battery. 

The average lifespan of car batteries ranges from 3 to 5 years. After you pass this period, you should replace the battery immediately. Also, you should be doing all the maintenance checks to make sure the battery doesn’t suddenly die. 

Warning Lights And Symbols 

The car dashboard has lots of lights and symbols where each one indicates something. Experienced drivers know all these symbols and what they indicate. However, even beginner drivers should at least know the most important warning lights and symbols. 

Car Warning Lights and symbols Mostpicker

43. Indicator lights 

  • Engine temperature light: This means the engine temperature is higher than it should be. Here, you should check the cooling system of the engine. 
  • Oil pressure light: The oil levels are decreasing, and it is no longer able to lubricate the car components. So, check the engine oil if you see this light. 
  • Battery charge light: The battery is low in charge. So, check the electrolyte level or the battery charge. 
  • Brake warning light: This means the brake oil is lower than expected and it is not able to smooth the braking system. Check if there is a leak or so. 

44. Safety Symbols

  • Tire pressure light: Means one of the tires has lower pressure than the others and this might be very dangerous especially on highways. 
  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS): The ABS system has a problem or is disabled. 
  • Traction control: If it is on, the traction control system is turned on. When it is off, the opposite is correct. 

Lightening System Maintenance 

Car lightening system maintenance Mostpicker

45. Clean the headlights 

Cleaning the headlights is important to increase their longevity. However, you shouldn’t only clean the covers as the lamps can accumulate dust and debris. The covers are made to protect the lamps, but you still need to remove them every few months to clean the lamps. 

The stocks lights are usually good and perform well as you expect. So, keep them, if possible, by cleaning the lamps and headlight covers. Even if you have already replaced the stock lamps, clean the new ones, so, you don’t have to change the lights continuously. 

46. Check the lamps for their strength 

If you ever noticed the headlights are not as powerful as usual, this might be a sign that the lamps need to be changed. Alternatively, the lamps might have loosened and need to be secured in their place correctly. So, if you experience any dimness in the lights, go to a mechanic to get them checked. 

47. Replace all the related lights at the same time

If you find that one of the lamps has weakened and needs to be changed, you should change the similar light on the other side as well even if it is still working. Whether it is the headlights, taillights, or whatever, you should change all the similar lamps altogether. Newer lamps will have stronger light. You might not notice the difference from the first look, but it will be obvious when you drive on dark roads. 

48. Upgrade the car lights 

Although most cars come with good stock lights, you can still upgrade the lighting to levels that may reach 100%. You can change the headlights, fog lights, and whatever else. If you usually drive on dark roads, consider purchasing stronger lights. 

49. Check the brake lights 

The brake lights are one of the safety measures installed in all cars. They are considered indicator lights as well indicating that the driver in front of you is braking, so, you need to slow down. Since you won’t be able to see how this light performs while you are driving, you need to inspect the brake lights of your car while someone else is driving. 

50. Check the fog lights 

Fog lights are what you mostly depend on to lighten the road in front of you in some special conditions. As it appears from the name, the fog lights are particularly important in foggy and smoky weather. While you might not need them every day, once you face the situation, you will know how you cannot do without them. So, always check if they are working well. 

51. Install LED light bulbs

Do you know that you can use LED bulbs instead of traditional lamps for your car’s headlights? These options are better because LED lights are stronger in terms of lighting efficiency. Moreover, they save energy and won’t turn off as fast as the conventional lights. You can easily find those light bulbs at any car service center or automotive accessories store.  

52. Restore headlight’s shine

When you take your car for detailing, consider reforming the headlights as well. Headlights sometimes become yellow and hazy because of different reasons. One of these reasons is the plastic cover which wears out over time. Another reason is the chemicals that come out of the engine and may reach the lights and deteriorate them. If you experienced any yellowing in the lights, don’t hesitate to address the problem before the lights completely spoil. 

Air Conditioning System 

The air conditioning system of the car is the main component, especially for hot countries. In summer and hot weather, you cannot go without the AC. So, let’s check how you can maintain this system all year round to work properly when you need it. 

Car Air Conditioning System  Mostpicker

53. Run the AC consistently

For some months in the year, you might not need the AC at all. However, you should always turn it on at least every week or two weeks to keep it in a good condition and maintain the compressor. A recommended duration is 10 minutes per week even in winter. When you turn it on, make sure that you turn it to the highest settings regarding the fan and temperature. 

54. Run the defrost mode 

The defrost mode removes moisture from the car. So, try to use this mode for at least 5 minutes every week to remove bad odors from your car. 

55. Recharge the AC 

Don’t forget that the AC system needs gas and oil to operate. The AC system should be recharged every two years on average. Check the AC regularly and don’t wait until it is no longer working to recharge it. 

56. Use the AC in winter 

 Yes, you read it right. You need to use the AC in winter. Rather than because it needs to work consistently to maintain the compressor, the AC can also remove humidity and bad odors from your car. So, switch it on for a few minutes in winter to get rid of humidity and fog from the car cabin. 

57. Fully check the AC system 

The AC system should be fully checked including the coolant and other parts. Note that this is different from repairing leaks or other damaged parts. Checking the AC is for detecting problems before they occur or at least before they become major. When you go for the periodic maintenance of your car, ask them to check the AC system as well. Most probably, they will do it even if you didn’t ask. 

58. Set AC to the coolest settings 

This might be surprising for many people but, the AC works more efficiently when it is set to the coolest settings. On the contrary to what many people think, the coolest settings won’t consume more fuel. If you set the AC to higher temperatures, the AC will have to re-heat the coming air which consumes more fuel than usual. 

59. Don’t use AC while parking 

The AC system is designed to perform the best when you are driving the car. If you are very hot and similarly, the car cabin is hot, turn on the fans and open the windows slightly to push the hot air out. Then, when you start moving, turn on the air conditioner to the highest settings. This way, it will perform better and won’t consume more fuel. 

60. Use recirculate setting in certain conditions only

If you have back seat passengers, don’t use the recirculate mode. This mode will recirculate the air inside the vehicle but only re-cools the air on the front side. So, passengers in the front seats will feel cool whereas the passengers in the back seat won’t feel the AC is working any good. 

61. Always keep the vehicle clean 

This tip is written here because cleaning the car’s interior affects the AC system. Bear in mind that the AC will circulate the air inside and cools it down. So, if the car interior is not clean, this will negatively affect the AC system. You will feel the dust and bad odors more intensively when the AC is turned on. 

62. Replace the filters 

Cars’ AC systems have filters like our home AC. These filters should be cleaned every few months depending on how long you use the AC system. Also, they need to be replaced when they are no longer able to filter the dust and debris from the air. You can know this easily by smelling the air coming from the AC. 

63. Check the coolant 

The coolant or the Freon needs to be checked as mentioned above in the car fluids section. Moreover, the Freon has a lifespan and must be replaced at some point. This will be determined by the engineers or technicians at the car maintenance center. They will check the Freon and tell you if it needs to be refilled or replaced. 

Cleaning The Car 

We should have placed these tips at the beginning as these are considered the easiest among all the 110 car maintenance tips. However, everything else is affected by a way or another with cleaning the car. So, you should have understood all the previous tips to know how cleaning can affect your overall car performance. 

Cleaning The Car  Mostpicker

64. Wash the whole windows 

Cleaning the windows and washing them is the easiest thing you can do to maintain your car, isn’t it? However, many people just clean what they visually see from the widows without bearing in mind the top edges. Moreover, some people only clean the windows from outside and forget about the interiors. Make sure you wash everything with the right product and water. 

65. Clean the seats 

Whether the seats are made of leather, nylon, or any other fabric, you should figure out a way to clean them. In most cars, you will have a manual addressing this point. The manual will give you details about the right products to use on your vehicle. If you have changed the stock seat covers, ask the seller or manufacturer about the right products. 

66. Maintain the leather

Leather needs special treatment that differs from other cloth fabrics. Like our leather jackets, you can’t use soap or traditional detergents with leather. Because leather is so sensitive to strains, it must be cleaned once you spill something on the leather parts. If your car has any leather, use a leather-cleaning kit to clean up the spills, oils, or whatever. Another important point is to keep your car away from direct sunlight if it has leather parts. They can get too hot and become very firm if left in the sun. 

67. Clean nooks and crannies

Even those small parts need cleaning and maintenance. To clean them well, you need a piece of cloth and a thin pointed object as a screwdriver. Wrap the cloth around the screwdriver and spray some of the cleaning product on the cloth. Move the screwdriver gently around all the corners to make sure there is no dirt left behind. 

68. Clean behind the seats 

Although these parts are supposedly hidden, dirt can escape towards them even without you noticing this. You may also drop things behind the seats where you cannot get them back unless you moved the seats forward. Slide the seats forward and remove anything found under the seats. Clean this part well as you won’t move the seats every day to clean behind. 

69. Clean the air vents 

Air vents should be cleaned because if they have any dust, this will blow out all over the car interior. Air vents can be cleaned easily by vacuuming the vents and using a small brush to sweep the dust out. You can also go the extra mile and polish them with furniture polish. 

70. Use a microfiber towel 

You will find many people using a sponge and a damp cloth to wash their cars as if they are washing a dining table. This was never the right way to wash a car. You must use a microfiber towel as it won’t harm your car exterior. Also, sponges can hold grease and dirt inside the pores. However, microfiber towels won’t do the same thing. 

71. Get a litter bin 

There are specialized car bins for cars. You can find them at car accessories shops or from online sellers. Get a car bin and use it to throw all the rubbish instead of leaving them anywhere inside the car and forgetting about them. Ask all your passengers to throw any rubbish in the bin. Don’t forget to empty the bin every day and wash it continuously as well. 

72. Wash the car carpets 

You surely know that rubber car carpets can be washed with water and soap. But some people who have car carpets of different materials think that they cannot wash them. This is a myth because all of us wash our home carpets. The same thing for your car carpets. You can use a brush to wash them if you need the perfect result. Leave them to dry before you reinstall them inside the car. 

73. Deep-clean the carpets 

According to the type of carpets you have, you need to figure out the best way to clean them. Specialized car centers use special carpet cleaning machines to deep-clean the car carpets. These are a good solution, but you still need to wash the carpets before. 

74. Refresh the smell inside

If you are a smoker or one of your passenger’s smoked tobacco inside the car, you can easily neutralize the smoke by using an air refresher for cars. Also, there are special products for tobacco smoke to remove this odor. Get one of those and spray them near the intake opening. Also, spray the interior and close your car while turning on the fan at the highest settings. 

75. Start with rinsing 

Don’t ever attempt cleaning the car by pouring the soap as a first step. Instead, you should always start with rinsing the car to remove any dust or debris from the car’s exterior. Then, you can apply your cleaning products once the car has no visible dirt outside. 

76. Suck up the dust 

Dust shouldn’t only be swept away; it also must be sucked up. If you didn’t suck dust, it will only move from where you swept it away to another place inside your car. So, when cleaning the car interior, use a vacuum to suck all the dirt and dust instead of just moving it around. 

77. Clean the hood latch

See this small part that secures the hood in its place? It must be cleaned very well because many car laundries won’t bother going through these small details. Use a small piece of cloth to clean all the dirt. Also, you can use a special corrosion remover if you find any signs of rust. 

78. Scrape off any sticky papers

Sometimes you will be obliged to put stickers on your car window for any reason. Later, you are in no need of these stickers, and you want to remove them. In this case, if those stickers leave this gummy residue, you can apply a degreaser, scrape the surface, and wash it. 

79. Wash vinyl parts 

Vinyl parts of the car can be washed easily as you wash the windows. However, make sure you are applying the right product on these parts as a harsh detergent might cause some wearing out. 

80. Use the right products 

In all the previous steps, make sure you are using the right products for every part of your car. Don’t use dishwashing soap to clean the windows. Similarly, don’t use the same product for leather and nylon fabrics. 

81. Begin from the top 

This hack is obvious but often overlooked by many people. When you clean your car on your own, don’t start by cleaning the car floor and carpets. Instead, begin with the top as the steering wheel and vents. The dust will probably fall off and reside at the bottom of the car. 

82. Finish off with the windows

The last thing you must do is cleaning the car windows from inside and outside as mentioned before. Cleaning the windows comes after applying all protectants and coats over vinyl or leather because some might spray out on the windows. 

Car Detailing 

Car detailing is the extra mile that comes after cleaning. Detailing is about going through the very small details to make your car look like it is completely new. 

Car Detailing  mostpicker

83. Vinyl Colorant

The colorant is not a cleaning product, it is a coating material that coats vinyl and plastic parts to give them a glow and protect them as well. Apply vinyl colorants on the vinyl parts of the car and leave them for around 24 hours to make sure the surface absorbed the colorant. You can also apply more than one coat, but you must wait for around 10 minutes between each coat. 

84. Use carpet colorant 

This is different from vinyl colorant, but it does the same thing to the carpet. This product is used to cover the carpets with a protective layer. However, you still need to brush and wash the carpets every now and then. 

85. Apply waxing

Waxing is also a coat applied to the whole car exterior to protect it. Waxing also adds a glossy finish to the car and makes it look like new ones. Before waxing, you need to wash the car very well and remove any grease. Wax your car every six months to keep the same glossy finish all the time. 

86. Polish the car

Polishing is another way of coating the car, but it is different from waxing. Polishing is done for the scratched parts to add a layer that hides the scratches. Whereas waxing is done to new cars to protect them and give a glossy finish but will not remove scratches. 

87. Fix the torn parts 

If you have leather seats, get a leather repair kit to fix any torn parts within the seats. The same thing for nylon and other fabrics. Fixing the torn parts is important because it prevents them from tearing more. However, if they are completely torn, you must consider replacing the seat covers or whatever is torn. 

88. Replace or add car floor mats 

Car floor mats protect the original mats and your car floor from dust that sticks to one’s shoes and move to the car interior. Invest in a set of car floor mats that prevent liquids from reaching the car floor. At the same time, they should be easy to clean as you will clean those more than the original floor mats. 

89. Get new car seat covers 

Similarly, try to find a good set of car seat covers that adds an extra protective layer to the seats. We recommend the removable and washable seat covers as they are easier to handle. 

90. Repair the paint scratches 

If there are any scratches on the car exterior, even the small ones, address this issue immediately before they become larger. There are specialized products and kits used to paint scratches. So, keep them in your toolbox. 

91. Repair paint chips

Paint chips are different from scratches as those are very tiny scratches in the paint. Their way of repairing is different from scratches and easier. You can use a specialized pen with the same car color or so. The only thing to take care of is to address the problem once it occurs.

92. Detail the wheels 

Detailing the wheels to take time. This is because you must remove the rust first and then paint the wheels and wait for the paint to dry. Yet, the process is worth waiting as rusting wheels will eventually lead to useless wheels that no longer can run on the roads. 

93. Apply protective films 

These are coats that some professional detailers apply on mirrors and exterior car parts. The protective films are very thin transparent, almost invisible, layers applied on the surface to protect it from chips and road debris. 

94. Lubricate door locks 

Door locks are mostly overlooked. You won’t notice any problem with the door locks until it becomes a huge problem as the key breaking inside. Apply graphite powder into the door locks to make them smooth and prevent such problems. 

95. Apply non-silicone matte finish 

Instead of silicone sprays which might look glossy and better in shape, use non-silicone finishes as they are safer for the car dashboard. The non-silicone matte finish is not sticky as silicone ones, so, they won’t attract dust. Also, glossy dashboards will annoy you while driving. 

96. Smoothen the doors 

If you hear a squeaky sound when you open or close the doors, it is a sign that they need lubrication. Get a lubricant and apply it to the door edges and hinges to smoothen them. Open and close the door several times until you hear no squeaky sounds. 

97. Lubricate the hinges 

Using a lubricant, smooth the trunk hinges but don’t come near the struts. These parts don’t need any oil or lubricant as this might ruin the struts. 

98. Lubricate the hood hinges 

The hood hinges can be lubricated with the same lubricant you used for other hinges. However, hood hinges need to be cleaned first with a clean piece of cloth before lubrication. You may also need a small brush to remove dust and debris. 

99. Lubricate window tracks 

Window tracks can be smoothened by using a silicone spray. Silicone is only used for this purpose, but you shouldn’t be using it for other parts of the body. Also, make sure the silicone spray is not sprayed over the window itself. It is for the window tracks only. 

100. Give a smooth finish to the gas tank lid 

The final detailing step you can do is smoothing the gas tank lid using a light lubricant. Yet, for this part, make sure you don’t come near the gas tank itself. You don’t want the lubricant to mix with car fuel. 

101. Get the right products 

For car detailing as well, you need to buy the right materials so as not to harm your car. There is no use in detailing the car with a product that will harm the car at the end instead of giving a nice finish. Make sure of what products you use and for what purposes. 

102. Don’t attempt detailing if you can’t 

If you aren’t a professional, we advise you to detail the car at a professional car center instead of doing this step on your own. Each product has a special way to apply, and you might not know how to use it in the right way that doesn’t damage your car parts. 

Other Additional Maintenance Tips 

Car other additional maintenance tips  Mostpicker

103. Windshield wipers

Windshield wipers are also parts that need to be checked and even more, replaced when they fail. Mostly, they need replacement once every year. However, it depends on the weather because rainy weather conditions mean you will use them more often. Also, consider installing the winter wiper blades if it rains a lot in your country. Note that the wipers include the arm and the blade. So, you can change the blade only if you need to. 

Also, don’t forget to clean the wipers whenever you are cleaning the car exterior. Cleaning the wipers is the very basic maintenance tip you need to do regarding this part. 

104. Repair broken parts 

Whether it is the headlight covers, the windshield wipers, the front glass, or whatever, you need to repair everything once it is broken. Some broken parts especially in the electrical system or engine of the car might lead to the damage of other parts. Also, the broken outer parts as the headlight covers for example may harm the light bulbs. Thus, you will pay extra money for repairing the broken part itself and other damages it caused. 

105. Address any leakage issues 

Like the above tip, you need to fix any leakage because it might lead to other problems. Leakage can be caused by damaged hoses, wearing our rubber seals, or whatever. So, try to fix these issues once they occur. Best of all, inspect every car component to detect about-to-wear-out parts and replace them before they leak. 

106. Pumps and hoses 

Your car has more than one pump and hose that perform different functions. The steering power system has a hydraulic pump that pushes the fluid we talked about before into the steering power system. Also, the exhaust system has hoses to connect parts together, the manifold has an inlet tube, etc. 

These hoses and pumps are the weakest parts of any car system as they are not made of heavy-duty metal. So, they are vulnerable to damage more than any other part. So, check them regularly even more than other parts of your car. 

107. Cover the car 

If you know you will leave your car for days without driving or moving it from its place, cover your car. Even if it is not dusty, sunlight can negatively affect your car. Try to find indoor or covered parking lots. If not, then get a car cover and install it to limit the impacts of sun and dust on your car. 

108. Drive consistently 

If you don’t use your car every day, there is no problem leaving it parked for a day or so. However, it becomes a problem if you leave it for weeks without even turning on the engine. Ignite the engine to get the battery, AC, and other car parts to operate to maintain their efficiency. In the best-case scenario, go for a short trip to make sure everything is okay. 

109. Drive at a consistent speed 

Driving at a consistent speed means you don’t alternate between high and low speeds in short intervals. Also, you don’t have to brake unnecessarily because this not only harms the engine and braking system but also confuses other drivers on the road. 

110. Follow the maintenance schedule 

This should be exactly followed as recommended by your car manufacturer. Even if you believe there are parts of your car that are still working, you need to check them. Also, if your trusted mechanic or a professional car maintenance center recommended changing a certain part, you need to do so. Those professionals have a vision of what will fail after a while and cause other damages to your car. 

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