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We put our cars through a lot, especially during the cold winter months. If it’s been awhile since you’ve given your car the attention it deserves, check out these 5 maintenance tips to keep it running like a dream.

1. Give It a Good Wash

Did you know that keeping your car nice and clean during winter can increase its lifespan and help you get the maximum resale value?

Winter weather road treatments cause salty buildup on your vehicle that can lead to rust that spreads over time. Not only does rust take away from the good looks of your vehicle, but it can cause severe long-term damage. 

Keep your car sparkling and make it last by giving it a good bath, especially if you’ve recently driven through snow, salt, sand, or chemicals on the road.

2. Change Oil & Filters

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Been awhile since your last oil change? Unless you have a FIXD Sensor to remind you when it’s time for maintenance, it can be easy to miss. But ignoring your oil and filter could lead to costly issues not far down the road since they’re the key to keeping your engine well-lubricated and running smoothly.

These days, the average cost of an oil change is anywhere from $40-$130. To find out how often you need oil and to see step-by-step how to do it, check out our complete guide on how to change your car’s oil.

While you’re taking care of your engine, go ahead and check your cabin air filter, too. Your car’s air filter keeps contaminants out of your vehicle and it’s been shown to increase fuel efficiency and acceleration by over 10%. If you want to boost your car’s performance in minutes (for under $20), check out our guide on how to change your air filter at home!

3. Take Care of the Tires

How are your tires holding up? Even if you’ve recently purchased new winter tires, colder temperatures can cause the air in your tires to contract, leading to low pressure and driveability issues. 

Check your tire pressure about once a week to avoid any problems and have your tires rotated about every 3,000-5,000 miles, or when you go in for an oil change. This will help your tires wear more evenly and last longer.

If a shop tells you that it’s time for new tires, make sure you look for yourself before buying anything. An easy way to do this is with the Penny Test. Most tires are good until you have 3-4/32nds of an inch left on the tread (check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations).

4. Check Lights and Wipers

Days are longer, and that means fewer hours of daylight. Maintain your vehicle visibility to reduce your risk of being in an accident. An easy place to start is by making sure your headlights are clear and your windshield wipers are still in good condition. 

Keep dirt and debris off all headlights, tail lights, and turn signals. Also make sure they’re aimed properly so you’re not blinding other drivers in the dark. You can restore your headlights with an inexpensive cleaning kit or homemade solution if they appear cloudy. 

Many wiper blades can last 1-2 years. It’s time to get new windshield wipers if you’re seeing streaks or having any visibility issues when driving in the rain and snow.

5. Check Brake Pads & Rotors

Your car’s brake rotor, or disc, is attached to the wheel. The brake pads make contact with the rotor to slow down your vehicle when driving. Over time, rotors and pads can crack and become worn down.

Problems such as rust (from all the salt and chemicals on the road this time of year), aggressive breaking due to snow and ice, and old brake fluid can cause rotors and pads to wear out more quickly than they normally would.

You can check your brakes at home by looking on Google or in your owner’s manual for the “minimum brake pad thickness” and “minimum brake rotor thickness” for your vehicle. Once you know the minimum requirements for your specific vehicle, you can measure your pads and rotors to see how they match up. 

Thickness is often measured in millimeters and each millimeter of thickness can get you through about 5000 miles of driving.

However, if you hear any squeaking, grinding, or whirring from the brakes, it’s a good idea to take your car into a shop for a thorough brake inspection.

Bonus Tip: Give Your Car the Gift of FIXD! 

This Valentine’s Day, let us shower your car with affection with the FIXD Sensor and free app. Not only does it help you out by translating over 7000 check engine light problems into plain English, but it also helps your car last longer with Maintenance Alerts.

Receive automated notifications right on your smartphone when it’s time for important service like oil changes and tire rotations. Track the wear of your tires, wipers, and more. Measure oxygen sensor and battery voltage with the touch of a button. FIXD makes caring for your car (& saving money) easy! Click here to learn more and see our special offers.

Wife, mom, Content Manager & Senior Copywriter at FIXD. From the garage to the gym, I love helping people learn and grow. Dream car: ‘69 Acapulco Blue Mustang.

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2 Comments

  1. I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla, that I have had since 2005. So far it has been great. I’ve had to put $800.00 into it,,and I think that was tires. It’s been general maintenance. Thanks to the fixd I used it when my check engine light came on. I checked the reading on the fixd, and it read that it was the exhaust. Good thing I took it into the shop, there was a little
    ,but more wrong, one engine mount, transmission mount and the throttle body cleaned.

  2. I must have missed this part: How to increase fuel efficiency and acceleration by 10%+

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