New or used, buying a motor vehicle is a milestone. That’s because the car or truck you’ve just brought into your life is freedom in the form of a physical object. Whether you want to go to the beach, mountains or just the local park, your vehicle is what’s going to carry you there. That’s why it’s so important to keep this thing in the best condition possible. Below, we’ve rounded up some car care tips that you may have overlooked on your other vehicle but are certain that they are going to get done right – and on time – this time around.
– Tightening your belt: The rubber belts that run around the engine bay perform essential functions. Although you may not want to hear it, your wallet will be in a world of hurt if one happens to snap while driving. The timing belt controls the camshaft and crankshaft, which are tied to the sequence of the engine firing correctly. If this belt happens to snap, valves can strike the pistons and be seriously damaged. That’s why mechanics suggest having you timing belt changed every 60,000 to 100,000 miles.
– Cooling off: There’s a temperature gauge on your dashboard for a reason and no, it’s not for telling you the conditions outside. A running engine gets very hot, often around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why ensuring that there’s both enough coolant and the proper type in the reservoir under the hood is so important. Without coolant circulating, the engine is going to heat up and fast. If you have to pull over to add coolant, you must wait until the engine cools off because popping the cap on the pressurized coolant system could send it spraying in your face.
– Shifting gears: Automatic transmissions are an endlessly complicated component of your car that the home mechanic can hope to diagnose in the driveway. What they can do, however, is keep tabs on how often the transmission fluid is changed. Experts recommend that it’s done every 30,000 miles, but trouble shifting could signal the need to address the fluid before that interval.