We’re long past the point when the car was just a piece of luxury that only people of property could own. More than 90 percent of Australians have access to a car. For many families and individuals, a car is an extension of the home and an important part of their life. For others, it’s an important part of business, providing mobility in situations when public transport isn’t the best option. However, in order to enjoy the numerous benefits a car has to offer, everyone needs to keep their vehicle in the best possible shape. And there’s nothing like regular preventive maintenance to save you money on repairs in the future.
Read the owner’s manual
No matter what type of car you drive, your regular maintenance schedule is listed in the manual. Stick to it and you’ll never fall for popular myths about changing the oil. Depending on the variant you own, the factory recommendations may vary. There, you can also learn if you are putting the right kind of oil or steering fluid in your vehicle. Just as you’d never start a home appliance without looking through the manual, reading through your car’s book is important, even if you’re not interested in the way it works.
The car owner’s manual comes with a maintenance checklist that is quite easy to follow. There are even instructions on how you should perform these checks. Although you can ask or hire someone to do this for you, it’s important that you perform as much of this inspection as you can by yourself. It’s a streamlined process of assessing different parts and components, so you’ll know what to do next. You can always enlist an extra pair of hands for more challenging tasks. If something doesn’t look right, you can have a professional confirm or dismiss the issue as normal.
Learn the light indicators
Today’s cars come with sophisticated sensors and early warning systems that tell you when something isn’t right. Even with regular inspections, it’s realistic that something will pass under the radar. This is why you should learn the meaning of all those light indicators on the dashboard, as a part of basic car maintenance. You can find the elaborate legend of dashboard symbols here. The check engine light, usually displayed as a pictogram of a car engine, indicates there’s a problem with a part of the engine which has sensors connected to it. The car’s on-board diagnostic interface has more than 4000 codes that have their meanings. You can either use an OBD-II scanner tool or let a mechanic take a look.
Optimize wheels and tyres
The tyre pressure not only impacts fuel economy, but also affects comfort and handling. While your owner manual will have recommended tyre pressure values for your car variant, newer cars have an on-board tyre pressure monitoring system installed. Unlike racers who can ride on tyres with very smooth, treadles surfaces for maximum contact, even in urban environments like Sydney, which is known for excellently maintained roads, you need tyres that perform in all-weather conditions. That’s why tyre treads are important. Tyres today come with integrated wear indicators so you can always tell when it’s time for a replacement. Professionals who specialize in tyres and wheels, such as this business known for its cheap tyres in Blacktown, can recommend you the optimal tyre/wheel combination for the best fuel economy and performance for your car.
Use recommended fuel
While higher octane fuel means more power, it doesn’t mean that you should use anything over the factory recommended value. Sports cars and cars with purpose-built engines run on very high compression ratios and have a tendency to ‘knock’ if lower octane fuel is used. So, in order to provide the necessary power for such high compression, higher octane fuel is used to prevent anomalous detonations in the cylinder. Unfortunately, people have quickly adopted the idea that higher octane means more power, ignoring the primary reason why higher octane fuel was developed in the first place. Unless you plan to put your car engine to stresses similar to racing, or unless your manual specifically says that you should use high octane premium gasoline, there’s no point wasting money on something your car doesn’t need.
Taking good care of your vehicle has never been easier. More and more manufacturers recognize the importance of making their cars owner-friendly, allowing for an easier check-up and inspection without specialized tools. While the owner’s manual is still your best friend, modern cars support a variety of diagnostic apps that can reveal the story behind those notorious dashboard warning lights.