To keep a car running smoothly and safely on the roads, it’s important to check and maintain certain of its parts on a regular basis. Doing this can help save you mechanics’ bills and keep your vehicle running at its best.
Oil and Oil Filter
Auto mechanics recommend that you replace the oil and oil filter in your car every three to six months, or every 5,000 to 8,000 kilometres travelled. Just continuing to top up the oil level, or even changing the oil but failing to replace the filter, can lead to uneven oil pressure and ineffective lubrication of the bearings and bushings in the engine. This results in more wear and tear on the engine – and it’s far more costly to fix the engine than simply to replace the filter once every few months.
Typically the brake pads in your car should be replaced after every 50,000 to 70,000 kilometres driven, which on average is after every three to five years’ worth of travel. However, they may need to be replaced more often if you do a lot of “stop-and-start” city driving or drive a large car. The material used in the original brake lining will also affect the life span of the brake pads. If you’re experiencing brake pedal vibration, the brakes are slow to respond or squeaky, or the brake pedal seems to be “soft”, it’s likely that you need to replace the brake pads.
Windshield Wiper Blades
It’s easy to tell when you need to replace your windshield wiper blades. They may crack, fall off their holdings or warp, and they’ll be less effective at clearing of water off your windshield. This can impair your vision on the roads, so it’s important to replace the blades once they’ve become worn. Typically motorists should replace the windshield wiper blades at least once every two years, although the blades may need more frequent replacement if they’re used often or the vehicle is often left out in the sun.
The battery should be changed every four or five years, regardless of how much driving you do. Drivers in extremely hot conditions may need to change their batteries more often. Once the battery has failed, your car simply won’t start – but it’s best not to let it get to this stage. Instead change the battery pre-emptively, to avoid the risk that the car could cut out on you while you’re driving.
Headlights and Taillights
On average, motorists need to replace a headlight or taillight about every five years. Be sure to check periodically that your lights are working. You don’t want to find out that the brake lights aren’t functioning only after another motorist has already rear-ended you!
Over time, tires will become worn and lose their tread. This is dangerous because with too little tread, the tires have less traction on the road. How fast the tread wears down will depend on factors such as the size and weight of your car, the quality of the roads you drive on and your driving style – hard cornering and and aggressive stopping and starting will reduce the life span of the tires. Also, different tires have different wear ratings, and those with higher ratings should last longer. Generally though, it’s safe to say that the tires of a car should be replaced at least once every five to six years. You should regularly check the tread depth to make sure that the tires don’t need replacement before this.