Everything You Need to Know About Auto Ownership

Your car is an important investment. Owning one comes with big expenses on repairs, payments, and loans. On top of that, you should understand how your car works and how much repair and parts replacement costs.

It may seem intimidating to understand all these things, but the knowledge allows you to become a confident car owner and make timely maintenance decisions. Basic car knowledge also helps you when it comes to insurance and warranties. That way, you can buy yourself the best extended car warranty.

Most experts recommend replacing your engine oil every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. This interval depends on your car model, so you should check your car’s manual.

Remember, engine oil comes at different prices. If you drive a new car, it probably uses synthetic oil. It is costlier than conventional oil but well worth it.

Changing Filters

Your car has several filters that need to be changed whenever they get clogged. Filters work to keep debris out of different car parts. For example, your engine fuel filter will keep dirt away as the fuel flows from the tank.

Because filters keep pollutants and dirt out, grime soon accumulates within them. So, you need to change them at specific intervals.

  • Fuel filter (30,000 miles or 2 years)
  • Cabin air filters (15,000 to 25,000 miles or 1 year)
  • Engine air filters (15,000 to 45,000 miles)
  • Oil filters (5,000 to 6,000 miles to 1 year)
  • Engine air filters have different replacement intervals depending on your car and locality. If you often drive in dusty areas, you will replace them more often.

    Brakes

    Every good driver understands that brakes are some of the most important parts of a car. As such, you should also know when to replace brake components.

    First, brake pads are the brake parts that most commonly need repairs. They take the brunt of braking friction, making them wear out faster. So, most experts recommend changing your brake pads and other parts if you hear any squeaking.

    But only call your mechanic if the squeaking goes on for more than a day. Sometimes the squeaking may be caused by changing weather like humidity, rain, or snow. Also, your brakes may squeak after a long trip, but this should stop after some time on the road.

    If the squeaking noise continues, replace your brake pads as soon as possible. The longer you postpone, the higher the cost of repairs because the damage may extend to your brake rotors.

    Most mechanics will recommend changing your brake pads every 10,000 to 20,000 miles.

    Headlights and Taillights

    Your headlights are your eyes at night or in foggy conditions. On the other hand, taillights show your presence to cars behind you. Driving without these safety features can put you and other drivers at risk.

    Remember, most cars do not come with sensors to warn drivers if any light goes off. So, you should do visual checkups for your safety and to avoid getting a ticket.

    Flashing Check Engine Light

    Dashboard alerts help you know the status of your car. It is important to know what the lights mean to avoid anxiety any time you head to your mechanic. Go through your car’s manual to understand what the different alerts mean because they differ from car to car.

    But, generally, the color of your alert indicates the severity of the problem:

    • Red – Your car needs immediate repairs. This also indicates safety concerns like passenger safety belts.
    • Yellow – Your car needs repairs soon.
    • Green or Yellow – Your engine is on or operating.
    • If you see your engine warning alert, it means there may be some misfire. However, don’t ignore it because you may damage other parts, such as the catalytic converter.

      Tire Pressure

      Keeping your car’s tires at the ideal pressure is important for both your safety and your tires’ longevity. This means it should be at the recommended pressure.

      If you overinflate the tires, they lose traction with the ground. Meanwhile, if you underinflate, friction is increased, speeding up wear and tear on your tires.

      Speaking of tires, you should always have a spare one with you. Also, ensure that you have the necessary tools and know how to change your tires. This is one of the most crucial things every driver should know.

      Emergency Kits

      Like your tire spares, your emergency kits can also be a godsend in an emergency. Most experienced car owners can attest to this. Your kit should also be complete.

      You should have your first aid kit, jumper cables, foam tire sealant, flashlight, three reflective warning lights, and a warm blanket.

      Car Maintenance and a Good Mechanic

      Timely maintenance may seem expensive, but they are critical to a car’s lifespan. So, it’s important to follow your manual’s schedule.

      A good mechanic also comes in handy with maintenance. You may know the basics, but it’s great to have someone reliable and knowledgeable in your corner. You can use sites like AAA to find a dependable mechanic in your area.

      Also, it’s important to know your car’s year, make, model, and, more importantly, VIN. This information comes in handy when you’re shopping for auto insurance and warranty.

      The Bottom Line

      Car ownership isn’t easy, but taking the time to learn about your car and how it works will be helpful. Knowing how to do basic maintenance tasks yourself will also help you save money in the long run. Having a good mechanic is also useful if your car knowledge isn’t enough for more complicated repairs.

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