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13 Best Car Maintenance Tips and Tricks

Tips for Car Maintenance - Man changing the oil on the car
Steve Thompson
Steve Thompson
August 26, 2022

Many drivers think more about where their car gets them than how to keep it in good running condition. Since a car has many moving parts, it's a complex machine subjected to constant wear and tear. Taking proactive steps to maintain your vehicle leads to fewer trips to the repair shop. Use these car maintenance tips and tricks to help cut repair bills.

Use the Owner's Manual

One of the most valuable car maintenance tips and tricks is that your vehicle owner's manual will save you many headaches. You won't have to guess about replacement parts or how to fix minor issues. Car owners should never disregard the manual because it contains essential automobile repair and maintenance information.

Check and Rotate the Tires

Checking air pressure in tires

To drive safely, it's crucial to inspect your tires and check the tire pressure every few weeks or so. Using a tire pressure gauge provides a more accurate estimate of how much to inflate each tire than guessing. Since tires get worn over time in different tread places, it's advantageous to rotate them once in a while, extending each tire's life.

Replace Old Spark Plugs

Old spark plugs are often the reason for what at first seems to be engine trouble. Luckily, all you need to do is replace an old spark plug when it loses its spark, which is a simple procedure. Don't let a mechanic talk you into an expensive engine overhaul when all you simply need is to replace spark plugs.

Check Fluid Levels

Maintaining proper fluid levels is important to prevent your vehicle from overheating. Coolant affects air conditioning, the radiator, and the water pump. You need the proper amount of coolant and change it once in a while to avoid corrosion buildup. Checking your coolant twice a year should be sufficient to maintain the right level.

Any fluid leaks can impair your vehicle's performance. Fluids to check beyond oil and coolant include power steering, brake, and transmission fluid. Don't forget windshield washer fluid. Without it, your windshield wipers can leave ugly streaks on your windshield.

Get an Oil Change

Pouring oil to engine

Oil works as an excellent lubricant until it gets worn from months of use. It's essential to check the oil level periodically because driving with low oil can lead to engine damage. The oil should be changed regularly according to the manufacturer's directions in the owner's manual. Only change the oil yourself if you know all the necessary steps, such as setting proper oil levels and using the right type of oil, according to the owner's manual.

Inspect the Engine Air Filter Annually

An engine air filter picks up dust, dirt, and other particles over time, reducing efficiency. Make it a point to inspect the air filter at least once yearly to avoid accumulating dirt.

Check the Brakes

Maintaining a functional brake system is one of the most important safety precautions for a car owner. Get the brake pads inspected periodically since they wear out and need to be replaced eventually. If you hear the brakes squeak, it's a definite warning to have them inspected immediately.

Look at Belts and Hoses

Belts and hoses need to function properly for your car to run smoothly. It's a good idea to check the belts and hoses every time you get an oil change. You don't want a belt to be on the brink of breaking or a hose to start leaking. A timing belt is typically made of rubber and is designed to last only so many thousands of miles.

Check the Suspension System

The condition of a car's suspension system is often taken for granted by car owners. because it's not one of the more talked about auto repair topics. A suspension system includes shock absorbers, springs, and struts. Be aware that all four must be replaced when one shock absorber goes bad. Shocks and other suspension system components should be inspected every 15,000 to 30,000 miles.

Get an Emissions Inspection

Each state has requirements for passing emissions inspections, typically every one or two years. Keeping up with essential maintenance will help the vehicle pass inspection each year.

Maintain a Clean Battery

One way to maximize a battery's life is to clean it periodically. Dirt and debris can develop over time, reducing battery performance and life span. When corrosion like white powder appears on the terminals, it can cause damage to the battery. It helps to buy a wire brush for occasionally cleaning the terminals.

Test the Lights

Front car light

Knowing all your exterior and interior lights are working is always good. Bulbs eventually burn out and need to be replaced. One bad light can lead to a traffic ticket, so every so often, test the lights at night to ensure they're visible.

Wash Your Car

Regarding aesthetics, one of the main car maintenance tips and tricks is to get a car wash every few weeks. Washing your car is particularly important for personal and professional meetings. Always make sure your windows are clean to avoid visibility problems. You also need to keep the interior clean, especially to ensure sticky substances don't get on the driver's floor.

It mostly depends on how you store your car, such as in a garage versus an uncovered parking space. The more the car is exposed to environmental elements such as rain, snow, and ice, the more effort you will need to keep the exterior clean. Keeping your car clean is another key to its longevity.

Carry Automotive Tools

Somewhere in your vehicle should be an automotive tool kit in case you ever experience a breakdown. Some recommended tools include a jack for fixing flat tires, gloves, wire cutters, screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, and a flashlight.

Review Your Auto Insurance

Insurance Policy - Terms & Conditions

Car maintenance and repair bills can get expensive due to neglect or a disaster such as a traffic accident. That's why all states mandate a certain amount of auto insurance coverage to pay for hospital bills and car repairs. Make sure you meet your state's insurance requirements, but also consider how much you drive and transport passengers.

The more people and mileage you involve in your regular driving, the more auto insurance coverage you'll need for financial protection. Examine your insurance policy carefully to ensure it covers items you care about. Towing, for example, is usually an extension of a standard policy.

Practice Driver Safety

Driving safely should be a top priority, which will help remind you to stay on top of your vehicle's performance. Many accidents are caused by cars malfunctioning. Remember that the more often and faster you drive, the more you are wearing out your vehicle's parts. Shifting to neutral at red lights will help reduce strain on your engine.


These car maintenance tips and tricks will help you avoid the mistakes many people make when they don't prioritize basic vehicle maintenance. It's best to keep your vehicle in good shape for driver safety and durability reasons. If you are involved in an accident and need expert auto body repair in Los Angeles, schedule an appointment, and our expert service team will get your vehicle repaired and back on the road in no time.