A car is like a family member for those who are into automobiles. People either use their family car that has been passed down from the parents or buy a shining new one for themselves. Either way, taking care of a car becomes essential if one expects it to keep running without any performance hiccups. To get a car running smoothly, one needs to carry out regular maintenance. This is where basic car maintenance tips for beginners will be helpful. This allows the car owner to be aware of any problems that may hamper the performance of their car amidst a ride and resolve them.
Professionals or people who know the anatomy of a car can take care of their four-wheeler in a better manner. But not everyone may get time to learn everything that is to know about maintaining a car.
- General Car Maintenance Tips:
- Choose a Reliable Car Insurance Company:
- Frequently Asked Questions:
General Car Maintenance Tips:
For those who want to acquaint themselves with the basics of car maintenance, we suggest you take a look at the following car maintenance tips for beginners. Carrying out these car care tips will help you maintain your vehicle without burning a large hole in your pocket.
1) Refer to the Owner Manual:
The first and foremost guide that will be of great help to you before following car maintenance tips is the user manual. Here you will find item-wise information about your car. If you are unable to find the hardcopy of this manual, you may go online and visit your manufacturer’s website. You are likely to find things like security, child safety, keys and remote control, specifications, fuel and refueling, driving aid, car care, etc. and much more in the user manual.
Treat your car’s user manual like a bible if you want to learn details about your car. You will be surprised to learn that many of the problems that you face, for example changing a flat tire, unlocking a locked door, or even installing a baby seat, can be solved by referring to the owner manual.
2) Keep a Check on the Tire Pressure:
Car tires are one of the components that keep your car mobile. Incorrect tire pressure for a prolonged time can reduce their life. It may cause early wear and tear or even tire bursts. Thus, it is important that the recommended amount of air (or nitrogen) is present in the tires. Nowadays you can use simple, inexpensive devices to check the tire pressure yourself. Use these in addition to visual checks for cracks or objects stuck on the exterior of the tire.
3) Change Oil and Oil Filter:
Your car is nothing but a complex machine that contains multiple small and large parts. Since a car is a machine that can move, it is obvious that multiple moving parts are also involved. A car cannot run smoothly without a lubricant, it is present to ensure the smooth functioning of these parts. This is where oil and oil filters come into the picture.
Oil lubricates moving parts and absorbs the heat created due to friction. On the other hand, an oil filter keeps the oil clean and free of contamination. Here is how you can change the oil and oil filter of your car:
- Refer to the user manual and locate the oil drain plug of your car and remove the old oil.
- Next, replace the oil plug as shown in the owner’s manual and then remove the oil filter.
- Before installing the new oil filter, you need to lubricate it with the help of fresh oil.
- Now proceed to pour new oil. Make sure that you fill only the required amount of oil and that suits your car type.
- Place the cap and power the engine. This will help you identify leaks.
- In case of no leaks, shut off the engine and wait for a few minutes.
- Now check the oil level with the help of a dipstick.
- Add more oil if required.
After prolonged use, oil and oil filters need to be replaced as dust and other contaminants may accumulate hampering the performance of moving parts. The good news here is that even a beginner can successfully change the oil and oil filter of a car.
4) Keep the Engine Clean:
The engine is the heart of your car and you need to care for it. While you can do only so much to keep it clean internally (For example, using clean fuel), you should also clean it externally from time to time. It is important in terms of identifying an area of concern. For example, leaks. Leaks together with dust and debris present on the surface can cause damage to the engine. Thus, use simple engine cleaners to wipe any gunk.
5) Look for a Faulty Spark Plug:
Your car will fire up only when you have the spark plug in working condition. The good news is that you can easily judge if the spark plug is faulty or if it is going to put you in a spot anytime soon. So, don’t forget to add this point to your basic car maintenance checklist. Here are a few instances that will help you identify a faulty spark plug:
- Issues with starting your car: When you have a faulty spark plug you will find yourself struggling to start the car. You will have to turn the key in the ignition a few times before it actually powers the engine.
- Dip in mileage: You will notice that the car’s mileage is dropping even when everything else works just fine. This is when you should consider changing the spark plug.
- Increased noise and vibrations: This is likely to happen when your car is idling.
- Uneven acceleration: If you have a faulty spark plug, you will notice a dip in acceleration. It will be uneven.
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6) Keep the Interiors Clean:
It is not necessary that you spend money on car wash every two days. Using a simple vacuum cleaner to keep the interior dust-free can also be helpful. Nowadays, many creative cleaning items are available in the market. For example, you can use a blob of scented slime to clean tricky places like air vents, the base of a gear stick, or the area under the steering wheel.
7) Carry Out Battery Maintenance:
Learn the basics of a car battery with the help of the owner manual and if necessary, the internet. You should be aware of where your car battery is located. Next, you need to understand how to safely disconnect the battery and clean the terminal contacts as required. Remember to disconnect the negative terminal of the battery first. This will effectively cut off the electrical supply and reduce the chances of an accident.
Now clean the contacts with the help of a brush that is safe to use on batteries and reconnect. This time, connect the positive first. Cleaning the battery once in a while will help you prolong its life.
8) Check the Brake Fluid:
A car’s braking system is a complex mechanism. A brake fluid helps in the proper functioning of this system. You can ensure that the brake fluid is not spoilt and is present in sufficient amounts. Check the level of the fluid present in the braking system (User manual will be helpful here). Also, check the color of the fluid. If it is dark, you need to replace the braking fluid.
9) Maintain Fuel Economy:
It is an open secret that maintaining a car on a regular basis will help you retain good mileage. Maintaining the fuel economy is also lighter on the pocket. Here are a few general car maintenance tips that will help you achieve the desired result in terms of fuel and mileage.
- Maintain average speed: Continuous speed fluctuations and rash driving takes a huge toll on the mileage of your car. It decreases the life of your car’s engine in the long run as well. This will result in your car not running smoothly, ending up in a garage more than usual, and so on. Instead, try to maintain an average speed between 40 to 60 kmph.
- Don’t burden your car with heavy weights: Do not use your car frequently for moving heavy objects. Remember, more the weight, lesser the mileage. So, if you own a business that requires you to move heavy objects on a daily basis then consider buying an appropriate vehicle for the purpose. Or else, the mileage of your car is likely to get compromised.
10) Replace the Cabin Air Filter:
If the car’s air conditioning system does seem up to the mark lately, you may have to replace the cabin’s air filter. This will ensure clean flow and proper cooling of the air inside your car. Pertaining to the tropical weather of India, you may have to change the filter every 6 months. Refer to the owner manual or contact a trusted mechanic for exact steps to change the cabin air filter. It is usually located under the glove box and can be accessed easily.
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Choose a Reliable Car Insurance Company:
Buying car insurance will safeguard you financially against contingencies like accidents or damage due to natural causes. Moreover in India, it is mandatory that you buy at least a Third-party car insurance policy. Here are a few tips to choose a reliable insurance company:
1) Choose an Insurer With Good Reviews and Ratings:
Nowadays, you don’t have to rely on the word of mouth to know the credibility of an insurer. You can simply go online and check for ratings and reviews of a specific insurance company.
2) Look for an Insurer that Offers Suitable Coverage:
The coverage of your car insurance policy is important when it comes to claims. Your insurer will only be able to provide aid when a specific situation is covered in your policy document.
3) Quality of Service:
You can easily judge your potential insurance company by going through their website and features of the policy. Are they keen on understanding your needs or just want you to buy a random policy? Is the salesperson fully aware of what the insurance company is offering? Or are your queries fully resolved before you buy a policy? These simple questions can help you choose a suitable car insurance company.
Consider your car got into an accident and caused a lot of damage to your car as well as other vehicles on the road. In this situation, you need an insurance company that will act quickly and take over the situation. A reliable insurer will settle a claim faster and in a fair manner.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The oil warning indicator does not specifically indicate one thing. It can start blinking for various reasons. If you see the oil warning indicator light illuminate, it could mean that the oil is not flowing effectively in the system, there could be a blockage, low oil level, or foaming of the oil. Try to turn off the engine as soon as possible when you notice this light blinking. Some serious damage can be caused to the car if you keep driving.
In this situation, the best case would be when you have not powered your engine. All you need to do is get the car towed to the garage and ask them to drain diesel from the engine. However, if you accidentally powered the engine then the fuel must have run through the entire fuel system of the car. Get the car towed and the mechanic will unhook all the fuel lines. Next, he will add petrol and wait till only petrol comes out of the injector. The car may also require an oil change as well.
Maintaining your car on a regular basis is beneficial in terms of the longevity of a car. You can keep an eye on the fluids, filters, wear and tear of various parts, etc… All these play a vital role in the smooth functioning of your car. If you keep driving without any maintenance, your car is bound to breakdown at some point causing extreme inconvenience.
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