Must-Do Maintenance Tasks for Your Used Car

smiling ladyMaintenance and repair costs can become a big part of owning a used car. However, many of the maintenance and repairs can be prevented by doing routine tasks such as checking fluids and rotating your used vehicle's tires. According to, doing these tasks routinely will save you money on expensive repairs, in the long run.

Change Oil

It is very important to check your vehicle's oil often, and change the filter when necessary. Changing your oil regularly is the single best thing you can do for your engine. To reduce repairs on your used vehicle and improve its performance, follow your manufacturer's oil change recommendations that can be found in your vehicle's owner's manual.

Inspect and Replace Belts When Necessary

There are essentially two belts that may need inspected and replaced by your auto repair service shop.

The serpentine belt is a continuous belt, used to drive multiple components on the front of the engine, such as an alternator, power steering pump, water pump, air conditioning, air pump etc. Older cars use separate V-belts for each component while newer cars use a single serpentine belt to drive them all.

Depending upon the make and model, your vehicle may also have a timing belt, also known as a cam belt. The timing belt's job is to connect the crankshaft to the camshaft so that the engine's valves open and close at the appropriate times. Most manufacturers recommend you change out the timing belt every 40,000-60,000 miles, but for specifications on your vehicle, check the owner's manual.

3 warning signs your timing belt is damaged

  • Cracks, chips or frays in the belt
  • High-pitched sounds coming from engine
  • Difficulty starting the vehicle

If either belt breaks while your vehicle is in operation, the damage could lead to expensive repairs and even possible engine replacement. If you think that there is a possibility you need to replace your belts, take it in to your auto repair service shop, immediately.

Check and Fill Fluids

For a vehicle to perform properly, it is important to keep an eye on all vital fluids and maintain them at healthy levels. Doing so will increase your used car's driving performance and help reduce potential maintenance costs.

Engine Oil– The engine oil is critical to keep your engine running properly and efficiently. Check your vehicle's owner's manual for details about how to check and change your oil. Remember that too much oil is just as bad as too little oil.

Transmission Fluid– This fluid lubricates your transmission. A vehicle with low transmission fluid may not shift gears properly, and this can lead to costly transmission repairs. Transmission fluids should be checked once a month, and sooner if your car is not changing gears smoothly.

Engine Coolant- The main purpose of engine coolant is literally to keep the engine cool. The radiator in your vehicle cools your engine and needs water and coolant to function. The normal color of coolant is usually red, green, blue or yellow. If coolant starts to look mucky or rusty and has floating items in it, you should flush your cooling system and add new coolant. Contact your auto maintenance shop to service your vehicle.

Brake and Power Steering Fluids- If you are experiencing trouble with your power steering, then you should check your vehicle's power steering fluid. To prevent unusual tightness of brakes, check your brake fluid every 2-3 months, to ensure your brakes are working properly.

Tire Rotation, Balance and Alignment

Rotating your vehicle's tires will keep them from wearing unevenly. Tire rotation will make your ride smoother and extends the life of your tires, saving you a trip to the car repair shop.

A quick penny test can tell whether or not your tires are worn. Use a penny and place it into the tread on both the inside and outside of the tire. If Lincoln's head is visible, then you might want to visit your car maintenance shop for some new tires. If significantly more of Lincoln is visible on the inside or outside, you may want to rotate your tires.

One Comment

  1. You just gave great tips to maintain a car. Used or brand new car really needs good care and maintenance. Its just that used cars need extra care and need us to be cautious at all times.

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