Car Care Tips
Many drivers wait until they are experiencing problems or preparing for a long trip to take their car in to be serviced. While this may feel convenient at the time, it can lead to expensive repairs later on.
The best way to keep your vehicle operating at its best is to give it regular maintenance and seasonal tune-ups. When your car is running at its best, it can help you save money on fuel and prevent costly repairs.
Here are some car care tips that may help you save money:
Read the owner’s manual
The owner’s manual specifies exactly how and when to take care of your vehicle—from the type of oil it needs to the correct air pressure for your tires. If you get your car serviced according to the manufacturer’s schedule and specification outlined in the owner’s manual, you reduce your car’s risk of breaking down. But if you don’t, your warranty could be at risk, as well as yourself since you could get into an accident if your car breaks down.
Get your oil changed regularly
Regular oil changes help keep your engine clean and lubricated. Consult your owner’s manual to find out how often you need to change your oil, what type of oil your vehicle needs.
Check your tire pressure
An improperly inflated tire could reduce the life of your tires, lead to tire failure, and may put you at risk of having an accident. That’s why it is so important to maintain correct tire pressure. Properly inflated tires also improve your driving performance and gas mileage.
Tip: Keep a quality pressure gauge handy in your car so you can check your tire pressure regularly.
Rotate your tires
The front and rear tires on your car wear differently, particularly if you have a front-wheel drive vehicle. By regularly rotating your tires, your tires will be able to even out the wear, and prevent your tires from wearing out prematurely.
Transport Canada recommends rotating your tires approximately every 10,000 km. Check your owner’s manual for the right number for your vehicle.
Get winter tires
In Canada, there is snow and ice on the roads 8 months of the year. During this time, all-season tires do not perform optimally. That is because all-season tires lose their elasticity at temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius, which could result in reduced traction.
Snow tires increase traction in soft snow, keeping you and your family safe on the road.
Get a winter and spring tune-up
Winter can wreak havoc on a car. That’s why it is so important to take your car into a reputable garage before the first blast of winter and then again in the spring once the temperature reaches 7 degrees Celsius.
- Winter tune-up: Check your vehicle’s battery, belts, hoses, radiator, coolant/antifreeze, oil, lights, brakes, exhaust system, heater/defroster, ignition system and tires.
- Spring tune up: Check your vehicle’s fluid levels, oil and oil filters, replace wiper blades, check lighting, brakes and suspension, battery, and give your car a good wash and wax.
Report unusual noises
Whether you have a car, motorcycle, or RV, unusual engine noise may be a sign of potential malfunction. So whenever you hear a whine, creak, or a squeal - consider it an alert that something has changed. By paying attention to those sounds, you can often catch a minor problem before it becomes a major one.
Pro tip: Have a passenger use your phone to record the sound for the mechanic.
Look into recall notices
If you have received a recall notice for your vehicle or a particular feature of your vehicle, it is important to follow up with your dealership. Recalls generally indicate that the vehicle or vehicle part is dangerous to drive.
Let your car warm up for 30 seconds
On cool days, wait approximately 30 seconds after turning on your car before driving it. This will give your car the chance to properly circulate the oil and coolant as well as warm the motor. All of which will protect your engine from the harsh cold. But be careful not to idle for too long. More than a minute and you will waste gas as well as harm the environment.
Keep an emergency roadside kit in your car
If your car breaks down or you get stranded on a highway, keeping a roadside emergency kit in your trunk could save your life, as well as the lives of your passengers. Just like having a home kit, having emergency essentials in your vehicle will ensure you and your vehicle are prepared for the worst. The basic emergency kit for cars should include the following items >