There are several easy things you can be doing to help extend the life of your vehicle, and prevent costly repairs. Here are five simple things that you can do, (without needing any expensive specialty tools) to maintain your car or truck…

Check oil ~
Oil is the lifeblood of your car. You need to have enough, and it needs to be clean. Oil needs to be changed because tiny shards of your engine are literally wearing off, and then getting mixed into your oil as it circulates through the engine. (Picture grains of sand in a glass of milk. You won’t notice a few grains today. But a few new grains everyday for a month or so will really get gross!) You should check your oil every week, to be sure you don’t have a leak, since running without oil can severely damage your car’s engine. Every 3 months of ‘average’ driving (1000 miles/month) so need to empty out your oil and replace it with new oil.

Check Tire Air Pressure ~
Not only can you save a bunch of fuel cost by having your tires properly inflated, by you can also affect the safety performance of your vehicle. It’s not enough that your tires are ‘not too squishy’. You need to get a tire pressure gauge and check them regularly. Tire gauges are cheap, grab one at the dollar store and keep it in your car. Your tires were designed to work properly at a specific pressure. (It’s written on your tires, by the way.) Add or remove air as needed to keep your tire performing at their safest. While you’re out there, check for tire tread wear. Put a penny headfirst into the tread. If it doesn’t cover any of President Lincoln’s head, it’s tire for new tires.

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Wiper blades ~
Everyone forgets about wiper blades. It’s hard to remember them, because you only think about them when it’s raining, and by then it’s too late to change them. You need to put ‘replace windshield wiper blades’ on your to-do list (do it *now*, while you’re thinking about it!), so that you don’t have visibility problems just when it’s most important to see well.

Vacuum ~
Vacuuming is a quick and easy way to improve your car’s looks now, and it’s resale value later. If you don’t feel like dragging your home vacuum and an extension cord out into the driveway, there’s a solution for that too. Most car washes now have vacuum stations. Look for them off to the edge of the parking lot. For a quarter or two, you can use their long hoses vacuum, and not have to be the one to empty it afterwards. They usually have a trash can in that area too, so you can unload all those fast food bags and cups.

Wash underneath ~
If you live in a locale that has snow, your city or county probably de-ices the roads with a gritty salt solution. As you drive, your tires propel that mess up unto the underside of your car. It’s corrosive!! That salty slush will eat away at all the important mechanical stuff under your car, so need to get it off. You can do it at home with your garden hose and a sprayer attachment, or you can go through a carwash labeled as having an ‘undercarriage’ wash cycle. Remember to do it at least once a month during slush season, and once after the season is over to get the last of it off.

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