How to Care for a Car

Maintaining your car

Prepared by ASPIRE at SHS

January 2018

A car is a big investment. If you maintain it properly, it will last a lot longer and cost you less money.

· Get regular oil changes. You can change the oil yourself, or get it done at a service station, quick-lube facility, or dealer. The oil should be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation). If you change the oil yourself, be sure to change the oil filter as well.

· Keep the tires inflated properly (usually around 32 pounds of pressure, it does very from one type of tire to another).

· Check the oil level regularly (every couple of weeks should be fine unless you have a leak). Just pull out the dipstick, wipe it off, put it back in all the way, and pull it out. The oil level should be between the “full” and “fill” marks. If your car needs oil, put in a quart (or more if needed).

· Check the tires periodically for wear. Get new tires if the tread gets too low. Use a Lincoln Head penny to check the tread. Put the penny into the tire tread, head first. If the top of Lincoln’s head is hidden by the tread, it’s OK. If you can the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for a new tire.

· DO NOT drive on worn-out tires. They may seem OK on dry roads, but rain or slush will cause them to lose their grip and your car will slide out of control.

· Have the brakes checked at a service station, repair shop or car dealership regularly (every 6 months if you drive a lot). If you are told that you need brakes (disk or drum), get it done. If your brakes fail, you’ve got a big problem.

· While your brakes are being checked, get the battery checked as well. An old battery could fail you at the worst possible time.

· Try to find a service station or repair shop that you can trust. There are lots of them around, but some will try to sell you repairs you don’t need.

· Older cars, or high mileage cars, will need more repairs than newer ones. Car repairs can be expensive!

· Keep in mind that a part of car maintenance is making sure that your insurance and registration are up to date.