When you first buy a car and hit the road, the last thing on your mind is all the maintenance that might be needed. Trust us, you’ll eventually have to face some need for car parts or repair work.
Luckily, cars can be predictable. So, if you know what to look out for, you can minimize the headaches coming your way with a bit of preemptive action.
Here are the top five parts you need to maintain regularly, and while other things can obviously break, the items listed below will normally cause the bulk of your problems.
Your rubber tires cop quite a bit of abuse. They take the full weight of your vehicle and wear themselves out on the road with every meter traveled. Luckily, it’s easy to stave off any surprises with your tires, and when something does suddenly go wrong, like a burst tire, you’ll know.
Make sure to use the coin test at least once a month. This is an old trick for checking the tread of your tires by sticking a penny or a quarter into the tread and seeing if the dead president’s head pops up over the tread groove. If the head is very visible, it’s time to source replacement tires.
When you do your coin test, also check to make sure there are no foreign objects penetrating the tire or lodged in the treads; even if a sharp rock hasn’t penetrated the tire yet, it can suddenly do so if you continue driving around with it.
Your windshield is the next most-abused car parts. You might not think about it often, but it’s constantly getting smacked with rocks, bugs, and other road debris.
Fairly frequently, those things will create micro-cracks that you might think you can ignore, but don’t. Doing so can result in that micro-crack growing into a full-blown break that is both dangerous to drive around with and costly to repair.
Once a week, or any time you hear something smack your windshield, take a minute to give it a quick once-over. If you notice any tiny cracks, make sure to get them filled.
Fuel injectors should last 50,000 to 100,000 miles. Unfortunately, a lot of people drive around on the bare minimum amount of fuel far more often than they should.
This is understandable with fuel prices being as high as they are, but it can cause premature failure of your fuel injectors. As those fuel injectors start to degrade, other, far more serious, problems can develop due to the car not getting the right amount of fuel.
You can help stave this off by always keeping at least a quarter of a tank of fuel in your vehicle. Also, get routine checkups with a professional mechanic so they can identify any potential issues before you end up broken down on the side of the road.
Your brake pads are your car’s most important safety features. However, they wear out a little more every time you push on the brake pedal. If you let those pads go out entirely, you risk damaging the rotor as metal grinds on metal, and you may lose your entire ability to stop.
Be a safer driver and pay attention to your brake pads. If they’re making strange noises, or your car is taking longer to slow down, get to a mechanic immediately.
Batteries are some of the most frequently replaced car parts. Everyone tends to forget about them, or they make common mistakes such as leaving the radio on while the car is off, and that’s why you almost always see someone begging for a “jump” whenever there are a bunch of cars around.
Luckily, these are affordable and easy to replace on your own. Check the life expectancy of your car’s battery type, and as you approach the low-end of that life expectancy, start saving for a new battery.
You can have one professionally installed, but it’s easy to do on your own. It’s as simple as safely disconnecting the terminals, removing the old battery, putting the new one in, and reconnecting the terminals. Just make sure to look up proper safety practices beforehand to avoid electrocution.
Maintain These 5 Parts for a Less Stressful Time as a Car Owner
If you maintain these five car parts, you’ll cut out a lot of the stress that comes with being a vehicle owner.
Of course, you should also get routine checkups performed to make sure nothing else is going wrong under the hood, just to be safe.