Driving to and from a college campus can put a lot of extra strain on your vehicle. As a car owner, you have to take an active role in properly maintaining your ride. It can be difficult to juggle these responsibilities along with all your schoolwork, but if you know what to look for and can take a few preventative steps, it can make your college commute a lot easier. Here are the six basics of car care every commuter should know:
Checking your oil level is very easy and also one of the most important things you can do to care for your car. While the engine is off, grab the dipstick and wipe it clean with a paper towel. Reinsert it to get a more accurate reading. Try to keep the oil level at the full line. If your vehicle has more than 100,000 miles on the odometer, check your oil level every three weeks. Worn engines tend to consume oil more rapidly.
To extend the life of your tires, be sure to check the pressure on a monthly basis. Not only can low tire pressure impact your vehicle’s handling, but it can also cause a decrease in gas mileage. A digital tire pressure gauge is a device every driver needs to keep on hand. If your steering wheel has started to vibrate, take the vehicle to a place like Free Service Tire Company, since this means the tires likely need to be re-balanced.
Change the Air Filter
After around 15,000 miles, most air filters will need to be replaced. An extremely dirty air filter will drastically reduce your engine’s performance. The good news is, most replacement air filters are fairly inexpensive.
Wash the Vehicle
When you are busy attending class, it is easy to overlook washing your vehicle. However, the accumulation of grime and road salt promotes the formation of rust. It is also a good idea to wax the paint at least twice a year. The layer of wax will provide an extra barrier of protection from chip damage.
Keep an Eye on the Coolant Level
In order to prevent an overheated engine, there must be an adequate amount of coolant in the radiator. In the event that your temperature gauge suddenly approaches the danger zone, pull your vehicle over immediately. You could have a broken thermostat or a busted coolant hose.
Install New Brake Pads
Most modern braking systems feature a wear indicator. When the brake pads get extremely low, the wear indicator will begin to make a loud screeching sound. This means that your pads must be replaced within the next 50 miles.
Take a good look at these car care tips – if anything, they’ll give you an extra sense of security on your daily commute.
This article was contributed by guest author Brooke Chaplan.