To save yourself money, time, and headaches, stay on top of your car maintenance.

When it comes to vehicles, doing preventative car maintenance is typically far less expensive than paying a mechanic for parts and repairs. In addition to the cost of repairs, you may have to spend money on a rental while your car is in the shop. A great way to avoid some of these expenses is to keep up with your car’s maintenance.

Here are six ways to keep your car running and in healthy condition.

1. Keep Fluids Fresh

Changing your engine oil is probably the most important step you can take, because it keeps engine components working smoothly together and at optimal levels. Low or old oil can cause major damage to the engine itself, which means expensive repairs and time without your car.

Other fluids, such as transmission fluid, coolant, and gear oil should also be refreshed, but these depend on your vehicle. Check the owner’s manual for the right time or mileage to have these changed as well as the right oil viscosity to keep things running smoothly.

2. Warm Up Engine

Hard acceleration and braking are not good for a cold engine. Start your car a few minutes before your trip, and don’t take off until the engine reaches an appropriate operating temperature. Get familiar with your temperature gauge so you can be aware if there is a problem, such as the engine overheating.

3. Wash Regularly

An important part of car maintenance is keeping your vehicle clean. Not only will it look better, but a clean surface will also help prevent rust. Washing off road grime and salt prevents damage to the metal surfaces of your car and wheels. Consider applying a coat of wax twice a year to minimize dirt buildup and keep your car looking its best.

4. Check Tires

A spike in the temperature, either hot or cold, can cause your tire pressure to change, which can result in less gas efficiency or more unnecessary wear on your tires. Be sure to check the tire pressure with each drastic change in the weather or temperature. Additionally, you can extend the life of your tires by regularly rotating them at home or having a mechanic do so.

5. Be Diligent

Pay attention to any new or strange noises, vibrations, lights, or warning notifications in your vehicle. Don’t assume issues will resolve without assistance, and report anything out of the ordinary to your mechanic so the problem can be solved before it becomes a major repair.

6. Find a Trustworthy Mechanic

A mechanic with a good reputation is vital—look for one before your car actually needs work, and then take your car in for yearly checkups. Especially with older vehicles, this type of preventative car maintenance can save you money down the road if you can catch issues before they spiral out of control.

It’s important to stay ahead of potential problems rather than waiting until the engine light comes on. To save money, time, and headaches, stay on top of your car maintenance.

Traci Benoit

About the AuthorTraci Benoit

I'm an automotive copywriter with more than 10 years of professional writing experience. I've written automotive content, articles, how-tos, magazine articles, sales copy and more. I have more than 15 years of professional hands-on experience in the automotive industry.