You Love Your Car, but Are You Really Taking Care of It?

You Love Your Car, but Are You Really Taking Care of It?

Ergys Derri, Editorial Board

The automobile. To some, a machine on 4 wheels. To others their whole livelihood. But, we are here for another reason. My purpose is explaining, to the average Joe, how he/she can do the simplest things in order to maintain your car to make it last as long as possible.

First step (personally and mechanically the most important step): FLUIDS. I am not talking about glucose or IV bags, but rather just like a human a car also needs fluids. So, we can simply start off with the most known fluid, oil. Any motor vehicle, the same way it needs gas, also needs oil to run perfectly. Check your glove compartment for a manual guide for the type of oil your car takes and when you should change it. Typically a regular everyday car should need an oil change every 3,000-10,000 miles or 6 months (of course depending on what car and/or truck you have.) On top of that, if you hear strange knocking noises, white smoke from your car’s exhaust, or notice your oil is very dark and mucky, these are all indications that you should change your car’s oil. It is very important, as well, to check your oil level. Always fill up your car with the right amount of oil. Too much or too little can greatly affect the engine. If you open the car hood, you will notice a yellow stick poking out. That’s called the dipstick and is used to tell the driver how much oil there is. If you notice it’s a little low, it won’t do harm to just top it up with the right oil. But, if you see that it is persistently going down and burning oil, which is terrible, (*cough* *cough* BMW owners) then that means there is something wrong with the engine.

Next up on your car are your tires. I see this everywhere with people, where they think that if they have a “bald” or smooth tire that they’ll have a smooth ride. Yeah, maybe a smooth ride to heaven. Always check the tread on your tires. They aren’t there to make a person’s car look flashy. They have an extremely important role in that they help your car not skate around or hydroplane while it’s raining by letting the water go in through those treads and escape. Plus, the better the tread, the faster you can accelerate and brake as you again have more grip. But, another big thing is, the better your tires are the more it will help your fuel economy. A good trick to see if you should change your tire is the penny method. This method is a way to check the tread on your tire. Take a penny and stick it upside down in the tread of your car. If you only see half of Lincoln’s face then the tires are fine, but if the tread ends at his forehead, I would highly suggest you change those tires.

Lastly, but most importantly, your battery. I have seen on TikTok a car catch on fire from a person not knowing how to jumpstart it. Here is a simple and easy way to help you. You will know if your car battery is dead if you turn the key and 1 – there are no lights that come on or 2 – the car doesn’t start and only makes a rapid clicking. Now, how you jump start a car is simple. Have your car and another person’s car head to head leaving a little room. Then, open the hood on both of your cars to allow access to the engine compartment (don’t forget to make sure the hood stays open and doesn’t slam on your head.) Next, you are going to take your jumper cables, which I recommend to get good ones. Connect the positive (red) of your car to your friend’s positive terminal (red). Then, you need to take the ground or negative (black) from your friend’s car and connect it to a bare piece of unpainted metal in your car. Give it some time, and lastly crank the car to start. Boom, your car is up and running.

All in all these are only the three main things that me and you can quickly and simply check at home. There are hundreds of thousands of things in your car that need to be checked and maintained. Oil and tires are easy but things like radiator fluid, brakes, alignment, all types of filter from oil to air, car battery, spark plugs, fuel injector and many more. You get the idea. But, always check your car. Nine times out of ten your car will tell you if it has a problem, so if you can fix it great, if you can’t try and find a reliable mechanic (notice how I didn’t say cheap.) In the end if you maintain any car no matter what brand or where it is put together, you will be on your merry way with that car for as long as you want.