Preventative maintenance is all about spending a little money, time, and effort now to avoid much larger bills in the future. A solid maintenance routine can ensure your car lasts for many years while also helping you to avoid unnecessary repairs. Unfortunately, genuinely hardcore preventative maintenance routines often involve spending a pretty hefty amount of cash upfront.
If you're on a budget and still want to keep your car running for as long as you can, it's best to focus on the maintenance tasks with the highest impact. In addition to routine work, such as oil changes and brake pad replacements, you should also consider these three preventative vehicle maintenance steps that offer plenty of bang-for-your-buck.
The best way to stay healthy is to schedule routine appointments with your doctor to catch problems before they become too severe. Inspections serve the same purpose for your vehicle. While you don't need to schedule an annual checkup with your mechanic, you should consider preventative maintenance inspections whenever you have your car in for other service work.
For example, it's a good idea to have your mechanic check your suspension components whenever you replace or rotate your tires. Frequent brake inspections can also catch problems before they become too severe. The more often you can have a professional look over your vehicle's critical systems, the more likely you will be to catch problems early enough to avoid catastrophe and save some money.
2. Tire Maintenance
Your tires connect your vehicle to the road, and that makes them one of the most critical items on your car. It's essential to understand how to measure the tread depth on your tires and when you should replace them. Routine tire rotations will also allow your tires to wear more evenly and last longer, helping you to save money by reducing how often you need to replace them.
You should also occasionally check your tires for signs of unusual wear. Look for tread that's more shallow along the edges or unusual scallop patterns. These issues can be signs of an alignment problem or even worn-out suspension components. Using your tires as a bellwether for these problems will let you address them before they can lead to unsafe handling conditions.
3. Belt Replacement
Your car's accessory and timing belts are critical components. A failed accessory belt can snap and damage other parts of your engine, in addition to leaving you stranded. The consequences of a failed timing belt are even more severe, with catastrophic internal damage being possible on interference-style engines.
Have a mechanic inspect your belts regularly to look for signs of wear and replace them according to your manufacturer's recommended intervals. This one relatively inexpensive maintenance item can potentially save you from hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs in the future.
Reach out to a professional who provides preventative maintenance to check your car.