Auto Services2021-08-23T10:07:11-04:00


Man in blue jumpsuit and gloves installs tires on lifted car


Your car will need upkeep and routine maintenance throughout its life, not just when there’s an issue. Routine maintenance keeps your car safe, keeps it running smoothly, and prevents issues that lead to more expensive repairs. Your car’s manual will have a suggested maintenance schedule included, but here are some more general tips for when to look after which parts of your car.

You should check your tire pressure often – ideally weekly. Use a tire pressure gauge to test the pressure and make sure it is within the ideal limits for your tires. Check the tread on your tires while you’re checking the air pressure. Tires have tread wear indicators or bars in the main grooves. If you reach those bars, or if the tread is less than 1/16 of an inch, get your tires replaced.

Tires should be rotated roughly every 6,000-8,000 miles, but you should check your manual’s maintenance schedule to check when is best for your car. The weight distribution in your car, among other things, can cause each of the tires to wear down differently. Rotating the tires helps the tires wear down evenly, lengthening the length of the tires.

Drive belts are how energy created in the engine is transferred to other systems of your car. These belts wear down naturally through normal use. Your car’s suggested maintenance schedule will recommend when to replace your drive belt, but it’s still important to look over the belt more often to check for cracks, tears, and thinning.
The coolant in your car’s engine helps reduce the friction between parts of your engine, reducing the amount of heat that is generated. If your coolant is low, your engine will be more likely to overheat. Check your manual to find out where your car’s coolant reservoir is and how to check it. If the coolant is low, you can refill it yourself easily. Make sure you have a suitable coolant on hand, and make sure not to open the reservoir while the engine is still warm.

Checking your motor oil is easy, too. Consult your manual again to determine where the oil dipstick is. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean to remove residue, and replace the dipstick. Remove the dipstick again and see where the level of the oil is compared to the high and low level indicators. Look at the color of the oil, as well. It should be an orange-brown color, not black. You can change the engine oil yourself, or take it to a mechanic to be changed.

If a spark plug malfunctions, your car may have trouble starting and accelerating, or the engine may surge or misfire. Copper sparkplugs should be replaced about every 30,000 miles, but iridium sparkplugs can wait until 100,000 miles. You can have a professional mechanic replace the sparkplugs, or you can do it yourself.

The bulbs in your headlights and turn signals can go out just like the light bulbs in your home. A mechanic can replace the bulbs for you, or you can do it yourself. Check your car’s manual to determine what kind of bulb you need and how to access the bulb. Wear gloves when replacing the headlights – gloves prevent the oils on your hand from ruining the protective coating on the bulb. If one bulb is out, the other is sure to follow, so replace both bulbs at the same time.

If your headlights are dim even after you replace the bulb, the headlight lenses may be scuffed or dirty. It’s easy to find kits or other remedies to fix this problem yourself.

If your windshield wipers squeak when you use them or leave streaks on the windshield, it’s time to replace them. Windshield wipers wear out quickly, but they are equally quick to replace. Check your manual to determine what kind of wipers your car needs, then follow the instructions in your manual and on the packaging of the new wipers to replace them.


The warning lights on your dashboard shouldn’t be ignored. Your car’s manual will explain the meaning behind each of the lights, but here are some insights into how severe each warning is:

The check engine light could mean thousands of different things. If you have an OBD reader, you can use it to get a diagnostic code that you can research. If the light goes off after turning the car on and off three times in the course of a day or two, it may have just been a fluke.

This light indicates that your car is nearing a scheduled maintenance on your car’s suggested maintenance schedule. Check the manual to see what maintenance your car may need.

The anti-lock braking system (ABS) in your car helps control the car when you have to stop suddenly. If this warning comes on, take it to a mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem.

Coolant temperature warning – If the coolant temperature warning light comes on while you are driving, stop your car, open the hood, and let your car cool down. Do not touch the engine while it is still hot, especially the radiator cap. Loosening the radiator cap may cause a small overflow of boiling coolant or extremely hot steam, both of which can cause severe burns.

Many things can set off the oil warning light. Some of those issues can damage your engine, so it’s best to take it to a mechanic as soon as you can.
Car warning lights lit up on a dashboard close up of spedometer
Tools used to change a tire sitting in front of a tire donut on a car


You can’t maintain your car properly without the proper tools. It’s a good idea to keep these things on hand to make maintaining your car easier.

Your car should have come with a spare tire. Make sure you know where it is and how to remove it. Your spare tire can go flat, too, so remember to check up on it. If the spare is located under the car, as opposed to in the trunk, it is exposed to the elements and it should be checked every few months for rust.
Keeping your car’s manual in the car itself, usually in the glovebox, is the best way to make sure you have it one hand wherever and whenever the car needs maintenance. The manual can tell you where things are in the engine block, making troubleshooting easier.
An on-board diagnostic (OBD) scanner plugs into your car’s computer system and reads diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). You can research the DTC so that you’re better prepared when you go to the mechanic, even if you can’t fix the problem yourself.
A tire pressure gauge measures the air pressure in your car’s tires. There is an ideal range of air pressure for your tires, and checking the pressure can insure your car drives its best.
You never know when you may need to jump-start your car or help jump-start someone else’s car. Keep jumper cables in your car just in case, along with instructions on how to properly jump-start a car.
Keep a notebook in your car with the manual to keep a log of service history. You can reference this log to see when you last had a particular kind of maintenance performed.
A few basic tools, like screwdrivers, wrenches, duct tape, bungee cords, and a flashlight, can help with basic roadside fixes.



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