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Simple Maintenance Tips That Many Vehicle Owners Often Overlook

When it comes to maintaining your vehicle, you may put off many repairs and fixes because of the expense or because it's difficult to arrange to drop your car off at a shop and then pick it up again when the work is done. However, some simple maintenance tasks can ensure your car is always running well and in tiptop shape, and following these tips can help you to avoid even more expensive repairs down the road. Note a few simple maintenance tips here so you can know when to visit your mechanic to ensure your car is always in good condition.

Check-engine light

If the check-engine light ever engages, don't panic. First note that you can typically have the needed repair diagnosed very quickly and easily; many repair shops or auto parts stores can attach a device to the underside of the car's dashboard to get a repair code, and this tells them the reason the light engaged. They may perform this quick check for free, and it only takes minutes to complete.

In many cases, the light means that your car only needs a simple repair, such as a sensor that needs replacing, a blockage in the tailpipe that needs clearing, a poor connection to a battery terminal that needs new wiring, or a faulty gas cap that should be replaced. If this light does go on, don't ignore it because you assume it will be an expensive and time-consuming fix, but have that code read so you know what needs to be done.

Replacing belts and hoses

It's never good to wait until a fan belt, radiator belt, or the belt to the alternator starts to squeal before you change them. Those belts help the gears and rotors of these parts to turn properly so that the engine can be properly cooled and the alternator can keep recharging the battery. Once a belt gets thin or worn, those gears and rotors may struggle to turn; this can mean excess wear and tear on all those parts. Allowing a belt to snap can also cause the car to shut down, even while you're driving.

The same is true for hoses and what are called boots, which are a type of hose; this is especially true for the radiator hose, which is under pressure due to steam that develops in the radiator. If you wait until a hose or boot splits before replacing it, this can mean wear and tear on the engine, radiator and other major parts, or a shutdown of the engine. Check the owner's manual for the lifespan of all belts and hoses under the hood, and change them accordingly.